OK, OK, so I am forever the optimist. I never worry about woulda coulda or shoulda. I don’t cry over spilt milk and I don’t obsess about what my house was worth in 2005, or about my Zillow Zestimate being not what I think my house is really worth.
As an agent I am hearing a lot of people who have owned their homes for 20 or 30 years tell me how much money they have lost in their home. What they are really referring to is the inflated prices that they could have realized if they sold their home in the hyper market in 2004-2005. Please remember that you have not lost what you never had. It’s still a great time to sell if the time is right for you and your family. Rates are still extremely low, and people can actually afford to buy your house. In this market you can actually afford to upgrade if that’s your choice, or downgrade and pay less than you would have in 2004. Let’s not forget that you too get that same great rate on your new mortgage as well.
Your home is often your biggest and most emotional investment, so I understand that 2004 was very exciting, but let’s say instead of losing our equity it properly adjusted. Please don’t rely on an Online site and panic when you think that determines the market value of your home. Call a Realtor in your area to come and do a comparative market analysis on your home. It’s free, so there’s no reason not to call.
For all the hundreds of thousands of people out there who bought during that hyper time, and of course are in financial distress, I am not referring to them in the same way. They really did lose a lot. But remember there are options for you as well.
1. You can try to get a loan modification from your current bank.
2. You can try to do a short sale on your property, which allows you to sell your home for less than the current mortgage amount.
3. You can offer your bank a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
4. If your current mortgage has adjusted to a ridiculous high monthly rate, you may be able to rent something nicer for less. Then you can start to save again.
None of the above options are certainly what you expected when you bought your home, but moving on from an unrealistic mortgage will make you feel better. I am hopeful that in the next five years we will be crawling out of this market and into a brighter future.
Please remember, I’m not an economist just an optimist!
Heidi Zizza is a Realtor with mdm Realty Inc.