There are happy and sad reasons that people sell their homes. These happy reasons can include moving closer to family, trading up or buying in a location you've always dreamed of.
The sad reasons can include moving to assisted living, selling in probate or trust sale, or divorce. Many negative reasons for selling are difficult to reverse and overcome. However, one that could be reversed is selling because you can no longer afford to keep your home.
These 15 ideas might help you hold onto your home:
1. Consolidate your high-interest debt and pay off credit cards with high interest by getting a fixed-rate mortgage secured by your home.
2. Consider a HELOC/home equity line of credit and pay interest only on the amount you are using.
3. Consider a reverse mortgage.
Saving an extra $300-400 a month could be enough for many people to keep their homes in tough times.
4. Consolidate your phone, internet and television services or give up your landline completely.
5. Stop using credit cards and only pay cash unless you absolutely need to buy something for your food, shelter and basic needs.
6. Use less gas by running errands all at once and avoiding unnecessary travel. Shop for the best deals on gas when possible.
7. Shop for the best deals for auto insurance. Also, shop around for the best deals on health insurance and fire coverage.
8. Reduce utility bills by shutting off lights when you leave the room.
9. Be mindful at holiday time and trim your gift list by suggesting a Secret Santa approach with large families.
10. Shop for food in bulk at places like Smart & Final, Sam's Club or Costco, where you can get great deals without paying a premium for national brands.
11. Cut back on home services from weekly to twice a month, or do things yourself instead of hiring service out such as yard service, cleaning, car washes and dog walking.
12. Change your yard to drought resistant and low maintenance plants, which might enable you to maintain it without a gardener.
13. Cut out extravagances such as going to lunch, facials, expensive haircuts, first-run movies and expensive theater and sports tickets.
14. Make things yourself including children lunches, gifts and Halloween costumes.
15. Take in a boarder, roommate or paying guest to share your house debt.
Every little bit helps. Saving an extra $300-400 a month could be enough for many people to keep their homes in tough times. We hate to see people sell when it's for a sad reason, but what makes us sad ourselves is when the financial hardship could be easily overcome with discipline and a good plan.
As a final thought, should you have no choice but to sell your home, try to follow the real estate cycle. There is nothing more disappointing than being forced to sell in a down market.
Our market has been performing beautifully for the past nine years, but the writing is on the wall that our seller's market will soon be heading the other direction.
Ron Wynn has been among the top 100 agents in America for over 10 years, as noted on REAL Trends/Wall Street Journal. Ron has represented over 2,200 sales totaling over $1.5 billion in sales volume in his 30-plus-year career as a real estate broker in California.