Should I Sell My House? Reasons to Sell (or Wait) in 2021

Should I Sell My House? Reasons to Sell (or Wait) in 2024

The housing market has been super-heated in recent years since the pandemic and the popularity of working from home sent ripples across America. After several months of hikes, mortgage rates are expected to fall in 2024, and an increase in home sales may follow.

You may be wondering if this is the year to sell your home, or would it be wise to wait another year or two? That’s not a simple yes/no decision. A variety of factors come into play when making a big lifestyle and financial move like this one.

Here, we’ll provide guidance on how to size up the pros and cons of selling now, including:

•   What is the housing market like in 2024?

•   What are good reasons to sell your house?

•   What are good reasons to wait to sell your house?

•   Should I sell my house now or wait? If so, what are selling tips?

•   Should I buy a house in 2024?

Examining the Housing Market in 2024

The coronavirus pandemic brought an unprecedented demand for housing as more people needed houses that would accommodate the shift to working from home as well as kids shifting to the remote-learning model. The housing market heated up, also fueled by low mortgage interest rates.

Fast forward to today, when many people are heading back to the office, children are back at school, and mortgage rates and the annual percentage yield (APYs) on mortgages have climbed. This has occurred in sync with the Fed raising their rates with an eye to slowing inflation.

What does that mean for the housing market in 2024? It may be softer than at its white-hot peak, but it is still largely a seller’s market, with home prices expected to continue slowly rising in many markets.

So to summarize: Houses were selling like hotcakes throughout the pandemic and demand remains strong in many areas. This could provide a good opportunity to sell your house in some situations. But if you’re selling so you can buy another house, there’s more to dig into local market conditions in order to answer the question, “Should I sell my house now?”


💡 Quick Tip: An online property tracker can help you monitor your home equity over time. That’s important for understanding your net worth and finding sufficient insurance protection.

3 Reasons to Sell Your House

Now could be the smartest time to sell your house, depending on your specific situation. Here are some compelling reasons to sell your house in 2024.

Reason #1: Your House is Worth More Now

Housing prices spiked recently, and now they are dropping. In other words, your home is likely worth more than several years ago and possibly less than it will be in a year or two.

If, due to the spike in value, you discover that how much equity you have in your home is significantly higher, it could be a great time to cash out and buy something else. Or, if you know you want to sell within the next year or two, it might be wise to make a move now since property values may slip lower in the near future.

Recommended: How Much Is My House Worth?

Reason #2: A Few Minor Repairs Could Increase Value

Even if your home is already worth more than in the past, you can get even more value out of it if you make common home repairs like replacing pipes or a water heater.

Also consider revamping your kitchen or bathrooms, since those are big influencers for people looking for a new home. A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your home and make it all the more appealing if you put it on the market.

Reason #3: Houses are Selling Fast

Looking to sell quickly? Now could be a good time. In 2024, the median time a home is on the market is 61 days, according to Fred Economic Data. By comparison, homes were typically on the market for 83 days in 2023.

At the start of the year, homes were typically on the market for two weeks longer than a year prior, but that still represents a quicker sale than pre-pandemic norms. So if you do decide to sell your property, be prepared to have to move out quickly and make sure you have a plan for where you’ll live next.

3 Reasons You Should Wait to Sell Your House

While there are some great reasons to sell your home right now, it may not be the right time to sell for everyone. Here’s why you might want to wait.

Reason #1: You Can’t Afford to Buy

Selling in a seller’s market is great…but not so great if you need to buy another house, especially if you’re staying in the same area. Buying a house may be cost-prohibitive for you, especially when you factor in closing costs on top of the inflated pricing.

Also, there’s no avoiding the fact that it has become more expensive to borrow money. As of mid-May 2024, the average mortgage rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.21% versus 5.89% in January of 2024.

That said, if you live in an expensive area, you could sell your home and move to another more affordable state. Or you might look into different mortgage loan products and options (for instance, buying down your rate by paying points) to make a move less cost-prohibitive.

Recommended: How Much House Can I Afford?

Reason #2: You Owe More Than You Could Sell For

If you are upside-down on your mortgage payments though, selling won’t provide a solution. Perhaps you took out a second mortgage or not have paid enough on your first mortgage to recoup the expense by selling, even at a higher price. That means you would still owe money on a house you no longer live in after selling.

If this is the case, it may be better to build equity over time before selling.

Reason #3: You’re Not Ready to Make Home Repairs

While making home repairs before selling could help you get a higher price for your home, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have $30,000 lying around to make those improvements. If you know that certain repairs would help you get more for your house but you can’t afford to make them right now, it may be better to wait to sell a house until you can afford to invest in those home improvements.

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Tips for Selling (and Buying) a Home

Before coming up with your own answer to the question of “Should I sell my house,” consider these points:

•   Figure out how much you can afford to pay to buy another. If you can only afford a house that’s smaller than your current one, or in a neighborhood you don’t want to live in, there’s not much point in selling only to end up worse off.

•   Look at comparables to understand market trends and how much homes are selling for in your neighborhood. Go to open houses to see what sort of updates and features sellers are offering so you have an idea of what to do to get your own house ready for sale.

•   Contemplate being represented by a real estate agent or doing it yourself. There are some great DIY sites that can cut down on the fees you pay to sell, but you will probably have to invest time, effort, and cash into marketing your property.

For instance, if you’re selling your house on your own, invest in professional photos rather than taking your own, and get the house staged (that means more than just removing all the toys and dog beds before a showing!). The better you present your home, the better the price you can command.

•   Remain patient if you’re also buying. It can feel frustrating to be outbid for what seems like the house of your dreams, but it can be a reality right now. Don’t force a decision — the right house will find you.



💡 Quick Tip: Planning a home improvement project? Some upgrades provide more value than others. A midlevel-budget kitchen or bath remodel, for example, can provide a decent return on investment.

The Takeaway

Selling your house this year could be a smart financial decision, but it’s important to make sure you’re looking at the bigger picture with your finances.

Take control of your finances with SoFi. With our financial insights and credit score monitoring tools, you can view all of your accounts in one convenient dashboard. From there, you can see your various balances, spending breakdowns, and credit score. Plus you can easily set up budgets and discover valuable financial insights — all at no cost.

SoFi helps you stay on top of your finances.


Photo credit: iStock/AlexSecret

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Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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What Is a Nonrecourse Loan_780x440

What Are Non-Recourse vs Recourse Loans?

Recourse loans are secured loans in which the lender can seize a borrower’s collateral and, if necessary, other assets, should the borrower default on the loan. Common types of recourse debt are auto loans, credit cards and, in most states, home mortgages. Recourse loans are low risk to lenders so they tend to have lower interest rates than non-recourse loans.

Non-recourse loans are also secured by collateral but in this case, the lender can only seize the collateral pledged for the loan; they can’t take any other assets. Non-recourse loans are less common than recourse loans and tend to have higher interest rates due to their higher risk.

Read on to learn more about how non-recourse and recourse loans compare.

What Is a Recourse Loan?

A recourse loan is a secured loan for which the lender can seize more than just the collateral if the borrower defaults. The lender is also able to seize other assets the borrower didn’t use as collateral, including income and money in bank accounts.

How Recourse Loans Work

When a borrower defaults on a recourse debt, the lender can seize not only the loan’s collateral, but can also attempt to attach other assets to collect what’s owed. In essence, the lender has additional recourse to recoup their losses.

Between recourse vs. nonrecourse debt, recourse debt favors the lender while nonrecourse debt favors the borrower.

Examples of Recourse Loans

Hard money loans, which are typically based on the value of the collateral rather than just the creditworthiness of the borrower, tend to be recourse loans.

An auto loan is one example of a recourse loan. If an auto loan borrower defaults on the loan, the lender has the right to seize the vehicle and sell it to recoup its losses. If the vehicle has depreciated, however, and the sale doesn’t cover the loan balance, the lender can ask for a deficiency judgment for the difference. In that case, the borrower’s wages could be garnished or the lender could seize other assets.


💡 Quick Tip: A low-interest personal loan from SoFi can help you consolidate your debts, lower your monthly payments, and get you out of debt sooner.

What Is a Non-Recourse Loan?

A nonrecourse loan is a secured loan for which the lender cannot seize assets that weren’t put up as collateral in the original loan agreement.

How Non-Recourse Loans Work

When a borrower pledges collateral on a secured loan, the lender can take that asset — but no others — if the borrower defaults on the loan. The lender will typically sell the asset to recoup their loss on the loan. The lender has no other recourse than seizing the collateralized asset, even if the sale of that asset doesn’t cover the balance of the loan.

Examples of Non-Recourse Loans

Lenders may be cautious about offering non-recourse loans because it limits their ability to recoup losses in the event of a default. Therefore, loans are typically classified as recourse loans.

Mortgages are classified as non-recourse debt as a matter of law in 12 states, meaning the lender cannot pursue a borrower’s other assets if they default and end up in foreclosure. The financial consequences would likely be limited to foreclosures of the home and damage to the borrower’s credit score.

A lender might be willing to offer a non-recourse loan to an applicant with excellent credit and steady, verifiable income if confident in their ability to repay the debt.

Recourse vs Non-Recourse Loans

Both recourse and non-recourse debt can be secured by collateral, which a lender can seize in the event of nonpayment.

The biggest difference between the two is that the lender is prevented from pursuing other assets owned by the borrower to repay what’s owed on a non-recourse debt. Basically, the lender has no other recourse for repayment of the debt other than the collateral that secures the loan.

Recourse Loan

Non-Recourse Loan

Lender can seize assets other than those put up as collateral Lender can seize only assets that were put up as collateral
Borrower can lose collateralized and other assets if they default Borrower can lose collateralized asset and have a negative entry on their credit report if they default
Loan rate and terms are based on the value of asset used as collateral and creditworthiness of applicant Lender may consider creditworthiness of applicant greater than value of collateral when determining loan rate and terms
Less risky for lenders Less risky for borrowers

Pros and Cons of Recourse vs Non-Recourse Debt

Depending on whose perspective the situation is being viewed from, recourse and non-recourse debt each has benefits and drawbacks.

Pros and Cons of Recourse Loans

Recourse debt is more favorable to the lender than the borrower because this type of debt gives the lender more avenues to collect when a debt goes unpaid.

Approval for recourse loans, on the other hand, may be easier since they pose less risk for lenders.

From the borrower’s perspective, here are some pros and cons of recourse loans:

Pros of Recourse Loans

Cons of Recourse Loans

Approval qualifications may be less stringent than for a nonrecourse loan Lender can seize collateralized asset and other assets if the borrower defaults
Interest rates can potentially be low Borrower assumes greater risk than lender

Pros and Cons of Non-Recourse Loans

A non-recourse loan is more favorable to the borrower in the case of default. In that situation, the lender could only seize the asset put up as collateral, but couldn’t lay claim to any of the borrower’s other assets.

Non-recourse financing is usually riskier for the lender since they’re limited to collecting only the collateral when a borrower defaults. As such, lenders may charge higher interest rates for non-recourse loans and/or require borrowers to meet higher credit scores and income requirements to qualify.

From the borrower’s perspective, here are some pros and cons of non-recourse loans:

Pros of Non-Recourse Loans

Cons of Non-Recourse Loans

Only the asset put up as collateral can be seized if the loan is defaulted on Borrower’s credit can be negatively affected if the lender must write off uncollected debt
Personal assets are not at risk Interest rates may be high

Managing Recourse vs Non-Recourse Loans

Generally, the only reason for a borrower to be concerned about whether they have recourse vs. non-recourse debt is if they’re in danger of default. As long as they’re keeping up with their payments, whether a debt is recourse or non-recourse shouldn’t be an issue.

But if there is a concern about potentially falling behind in paying a debt, then it helps to do some research before borrowing. For example, if trying to qualify for a home loan, asking upfront whether the loan is treated as recourse or non-recourse debt under a particular state’s laws will help in the decision making.

Making a larger down payment, for example, means less a borrower has to finance. Ultimately, though, a borrower should do what is right for their particular financial situation. It may be better for some borrowers to choose a home loan that allows for a lower down payment so they can keep more cash in the bank to cover financial emergencies down the line.

If you’re planning to apply for a car loan, you might consider buying a vehicle that tends to hold its value longer or making a larger down payment. Those could both help you avoid ending up underwater on the loan if you happen to default for any reason.

Credit cards are revolving debt, not a lump sum being borrowed, so the amount owed can change month to month as purchases are made and paid off. Some ways to manage this type of recourse debt include:

•   Keeping card balances low

•   Paying the balance in full each month, if possible

•   Setting up automatic payments or payment alerts as notification of when a due date is approaching

With any type of debt, recourse, or non-recourse, it’s important that you get in touch with your lender or creditor as soon as you think you’ll have trouble making payments. The lender may be able to offer options to help you manage payments temporarily. Depending on the type of debt, that may include:

•   Credit card hardship programs

•   Student loan forbearance or deferment

•   Mortgage forbearance

•   Skipping or deferring auto loan payments

Reaching out before a payment is missed can help you avoid loss of assets, as well as any negative impact on your credit.


💡 Quick Tip: Swap high-interest debt for a lower-interest loan, and save money on your monthly payments. Find out why SoFi credit card consolidation loans are so popular.

Is a Recourse or a Non-Recourse Loan Best for You?

It’s likely you won’t have much of a choice between a recourse and a Non-Recourse loan when looking at financing options. Lenders are likely to offer only recourse loans because they have more options to recover losses if the borrower defaults on the loan.

If you are presented with both options, choosing a recourse or Non-Recourse loan may depend on your financial situation.

•   A recourse loan may be a good option for those with a limited credit history because in exchange for additional avenues to recoup their losses, if necessary, a lender may offer low interest rates.

•   A non-recourse loan could be a good option for an applicant with good credit and steady income, as the lender may consider them a low-risk borrower and not feel the need to have additional assets to secure the loan.

SoFi Personal Loans Rates

Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.


SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.

FAQ

What does recourse mean in lending?

Recourse refers to a lender’s options when recouping losses when a borrower defaults on a loan. With a recourse loan, lenders can recoup defaulted loan balances by seizing both the loan collateral and — when necessary — the borrower’s other assets.

Are you required to pay a non-recourse loan?

Yes, borrowers are required to make payments on both recourse and non-recourse loans.

Are non-recourse loans more expensive?

Non-recourse loans can have higher interest rates than recourse loans because lenders may perceive them as having higher risk.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Everything You Need to Know About Home Swapping

What Is House Trading & How Does It Work?

House trading involves selling your home to someone while buying their property. You essentially swap residences. This can spare both parties the irritation of showings and the expense of agent commissions while giving each party their new next home.

Trading homes isn’t done every day, but it can occasionally be an option that works for the parties involved. Learn more here.

What Is House Trading?

House trading means that you sell your home to someone and simultaneously buy their place.

You’re likely familiar with home exchange programs when it comes to vacations. You dash off to a lovely apartment in Paris, and the owners come to the Big Apple to enjoy your apartment. Both parties enjoy a vacation with a much lower price tag.

With house trading, this kind of switch is made permanent. Perhaps you’re outgrowing your compact two-bedroom house as your family grows, and the empty nesters down the street in a four-bedroom are looking to downsize their home. You could proceed with a house trade, selling and buying each other’s places simultaneously.


💡 Quick Tip: SoFi’s award-winning mortgage loan experience means a simple application — we even offer an on-time close guarantee. We’ve made $7.5 billion in home loans so we know a thing or two about what makes homebuyers happy.‡

How Does House Trading Work?

Think of a house swap as a win-win. You want to sell your house. You find a home you like, and the homeowner is interested in buying your home too. It happens.

What comes next? You trade. This means there will be two simultaneous transactions. You sell your home to the Joneses, and they buy yours, typically on the same day. Because you’re selling and buying at the same time, it’s much like a trade. This is not a simple transaction, though. You want the stars aligned on that day.

However, there are some similarities to buying a home the traditional way. Expect the basics of the home-buying process to be the same:

•   Qualifying for a mortgage

•   Getting a home inspection

•   Doing a title search

•   Closing with simultaneous transactions.

You pay off one mortgage, if you have one, and take on a new one if needed. At the same time, the other party will sign their purchase and sale agreement.

As much as doing all this at once may feel overwhelming, the upside is that you won’t have two mortgages on your hands at the same time. If both homes are owned free and clear, then the only money matters are transfer taxes and closing costs.

You’ll probably want a real estate lawyer who knows how these deals work at your side.

Recommended: How to Buy a House When You Already Have a Mortgage?

What If the Homes Are Unequal in Value?

It’s quite probable that the two homes won’t be of equal value. That’s not a deal-breaker, though. What matters is whether each house meets the needs and desires of the other party.

It’s important for both parties to order home appraisals. If one home is more valuable than the other, the buyer of the more expensive home pays the seller the difference at closing.

How Common Is House Trading?

Trading homes is not something that happens every day, but as people continue to search for creative ways to fulfill their dreams and technology helps connect like-minded folks, house trading has its place in the array of home-buying options out there.

Recommended: What Is a Bridge Loan and How Does It Work?

Pros and Cons of Trading Your House

Here’s a look at the upsides and downsides of trading houses.

Pros

There’s something to be said for this unconventional way of buying and selling a home.

•   You may be able to buy a house without a Realtor®. If there is no real estate agent involved in the trade, both buyer and seller keep the money they would have shelled out to their agents.

•   You eliminate some of the hassle of moving day. Because both parties are working in concert, it makes orchestration of the move easier.

•   You skip the whole dog-and-pony show of potential buyers traipsing through your home and the stress of having it look perfect for showings.

•   You also may find that getting financing when trading a home is easier. Some homeowners encounter hurdles qualifying for a mortgage before their home is sold. However, if you have a contract to sell your current house (which you would in a home trade), your lender won’t count your monthly mortgage payments as debt if you apply for a mortgage.

Having this improved debt-to-income ratio can allow you to qualify for better terms on your new mortgage, which just might save you a ton of money as well.

Cons

Trading isn’t without its issues.

•   If you’re in a hurry to move, you may not be able to find someone who wants a house swap as quickly as you want to move.

•   In a big-picture way, house trading may mean you have fewer options, you may not get the neighborhood you have in mind, or you may not find a home with all your dream features.

•   If you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth, you may have trouble getting financing. The only way a trade would work is if you pay the lender the difference of what you sell your house for and what is still owed on the mortgage.

•   If for some reason the purchase and sale don’t happen at the same time, you could be stuck for a time with two mortgages.

Pros of Trading Homes

Cons of Trading Homes

You may not need to use a real estate agent May not find a home as quickly as you want
Getting financing may be easier Fewer options
Avoid the hassle of showing your home to multiple potential buyers Could have to temporarily pay two mortgages

Trading Houses vs Conventional Selling

With trading there’s a good chance you will be able to avoid using a real estate agent if you find your trading partner on your own, be it a relative, colleague, friend of a friend, or from a website. You can also avoid the hassle of staging your home and showing it to prospective buyers.

There are some things that are pretty much the same.

Both parties may need new mortgages, and both may want home inspections. Both will probably want attorneys present.

Trading Homes

Conventional Sale

Likely no real estate agent Usually buyer’s and seller’s agents involved
Small market Wide market
Deal with one buyer Handle multiple offers

The Takeaway

Trading homes is a viable option for house hunters who find a trading partner who wants to own their home. While the home exchange approach is decidedly nontraditional, the steps of securing a home loan (if needed) and closing will be familiar.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


Photo credit: iStock/AndreyPopov

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


SoFi On-Time Close Guarantee: If all conditions of the Guarantee are met, and your loan does not close on or before the closing date on your purchase contract accepted by SoFi, and the delay is due to SoFi, SoFi will give you a credit toward closing costs or additional expenses caused by the delay in closing of up to $10,000.^ The following terms and conditions apply. This Guarantee is available only for loan applications submitted after 04/01/2024. Please discuss terms of this Guarantee with your loan officer. The mortgage must be a purchase transaction that is approved and funded by SoFi. This Guarantee does not apply to loans to purchase bank-owned properties or short-sale transactions. To qualify for the Guarantee, you must: (1) Sign up for access to SoFi’s online portal and upload all requested documents, (2) Submit documents requested by SoFi within 5 business days of the initial request and all additional doc requests within 2 business days (3) Submit an executed purchase contract on an eligible property with the closing date at least 25 calendar days from the receipt of executed Intent to Proceed and receipt of credit card deposit for an appraisal (30 days for VA loans; 40 days for Jumbo loans), (4) Lock your loan rate and satisfy all loan requirements and conditions at least 5 business days prior to your closing date as confirmed with your loan officer, and (5) Pay for and schedule an appraisal within 48 hours of the appraiser first contacting you by phone or email. This Guarantee will not be paid if any delays to closing are attributable to: a) the borrower(s), a third party, the seller or any other factors outside of SoFi control; b) if the information provided by the borrower(s) on the loan application could not be verified or was inaccurate or insufficient; c) attempting to fulfill federal/state regulatory requirements and/or agency guidelines; d) or the closing date is missed due to acts of God outside the control of SoFi. SoFi may change or terminate this offer at any time without notice to you. *To redeem the Guarantee if conditions met, see documentation provided by loan officer.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Mortgage Servicing: Everything You Need to Know

Mortgage Servicing: Everything You Need to Know

A mortgage servicer is a company that manages a home loan; they may send your statement and collect and process your payment every month, as well as provide customer support.

A mortgage servicer is often different from your lender, or the institution that approved your application and loaned you the funds to buy your property.

To help you understand the finer points of mortgage loan servicing, here’s a handy guide to help.

What Is Mortgage Servicing?

A mortgage servicer is the company that manages your mortgage payments. A mortgage servicer is not necessarily the same as a mortgage lender; nor is the company the holder of your mortgage note.

Because of the way the mortgage market works, a servicer is needed to ensure that all the correct parties are paid on time and that any issues with the borrower or the loan are handled properly.


💡 Quick Tip: SoFi’s Lock and Look + feature allows you to lock in a low mortgage financing rate for 90 days while you search for the perfect place to call home.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


How Does Mortgage Servicing Work?

Mortgage servicing begins after you close on your loan. At this point, a servicer may take over from the lender to manage the day-to-day needs of the loan.

The mortgage note likely will have already been sold on the secondary mortgage market to a government-backed home mortgage company such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These companies then bundle similar mortgage types and sell them as investments.

On the borrower’s side, here’s how it works: One company gives them a loan, one company holds their mortgage note, and yet another company is responsible for taking care of the administrative tasks of the loan (though some borrowers will have the same lender and servicer).

Most borrowers will only see who the company taking care of these tasks is. That’s the mortgage servicer, which collects your payments, responds to your inquiries, and ensures that the proper entities are paid, including the owner of your mortgage note and all parties that need to be paid from your escrow account.

Recommended: What Is Mortgage Underwriting?

Which Parties Are Involved in Mortgage Servicing?

Mortgage servicing has a few layers.

Servicer

The servicer collects payments and sends money to the mortgage note holder and the entities paid from an escrow account for property tax, homeowners insurance, any mortgage insurance premiums, any HOA (homeowners association) dues, etc.

Lender

When it comes to mortgage servicer vs. mortgage lender, the lender originated your loan. It may be the same entity that services your mortgage loan, but the lender also can transfer or sell the rights to service your mortgage. Even if your loan stays with the same company, the person who originated your loan won’t be who you contact when you need to make a payment.

Investor

Investors buy your mortgage when it is bundled with other mortgages of the same type from one of the government-backed home mortgage companies (such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) and some financial institutions. Holders of deed in lieu of foreclosure.

If a homeowner is unable to continue payments and foreclosure is unavoidable, the servicer initiates the process and maintains the property until it is sold.

Maintain Escrow Accounts

Mortgage servicing companies are also responsible for maintaining escrow accounts.

They will take your mortgage payment, which is usually divided into principal and interest that goes to the holder of your mortgage note, and a payment into an escrow account for taxes, insurance, and any mortgage insurance and HOA dues. By maintaining the escrow account, the mortgage servicer can ensure that all the entities are paid on time.

Not all mortgages require an escrow account. Whether a new home loan will require one is among the mortgage questions to ask your lender.

Keep in Touch With Borrowers

In the event a new servicer is secured, the transfer must be done in a timely manner that enables the new servicer to comply with applicable laws and duties to the consumer. Borrowers should receive a letter at least 15 days before the date of the transfer.


💡 Quick Tip: Not to be confused with prequalification, preapproval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for preapproval to within the same 14- to 45-day period, since many hard credit pulls outside the given time period can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn affects the mortgage terms you’ll be offered.

Do I Need to Know Who My Mortgage Servicer Is?

Yes, it’s good to have this information. Your mortgage servicer is your primary point of contact for paying back your mortgage. It is essential that you know who your servicer is and where to send your mortgage payments.

It is possible for the rights of servicing your mortgage to be transferred to another company. In this case, the terms of your mortgage won’t change, just the company that administers your mortgage.

Recommended: 6 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Mortgage Payment

How to Find Out Who Your Mortgage Servicer Is

There are several ways to find out who your mortgage servicer is. Here’s where to look:

Billing Statement

At closing, you provided an address where the servicer should send statements. The name and contact information of your mortgage servicer will be included in the statements sent to you. This is how most new homeowners find their servicer’s information.

Payment Coupon Book

In addition to a mortgage statement you’ll receive every month, you’ll also typically be mailed a coupon book at the beginning of your mortgage servicing.

MERS Servicer Identification System

The MERS® Servicer ID is a free service where you can find the name of your servicer or mortgage note holder. You can call 888-679-6377 or input your information online .

To find your servicer with this system, you’ll need to provide one of these three things:

•   Property address

•   Borrower name and Social Security number

•   The unique mortgage identification number

The Takeaway

A mortgage servicer handles the day-to-day management of a mortgage, sending out statements and collecting payments, for instance. They are an important part of making sure a home loan runs smoothly.

Before mortgage servicing is even a thought, you’ll need to find a mortgage. And that means finding the right lender.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Why do I need a mortgage servicing company?

A mortgage servicing company ensures that your payments get to the right parties. Many mortgages are not held by the lending institutions that originated them; instead, they’re sold as investments on the secondary mortgage market.

Can my mortgage servicer change?

Yes. Your mortgage servicer may transfer the mortgage servicing rights for your loan to another company. Your old servicer generally should send a notice at least 15 days before the transfer of the servicing rights.

Is my mortgage servicer different from the lender?

Often, yes. Your mortgage servicer can be the same company as the one that originated your loan, but it’s not unusual for another servicer to take over the management of payments.


Photo credit: iStock/LaylaBird

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


+Lock and Look program: Terms and conditions apply. Applies to conventional purchase loans only. Rate will lock for 91 calendar days at the time of preapproval. An executed purchase contract is required within 60 days of your initial rate lock. If current market pricing improves by 0.25 percentage points or more from the original locked rate, you may request your loan officer to review your loan application to determine if you qualify for a one-time float down. SoFi reserves the right to change or terminate this offer at any time with or without notice to you.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Selling a House With a Mortgage: Can You Do It?

Selling a House With a Mortgage: Can You Do It?

It’s entirely possible to sell a house with a mortgage. In fact, it’s common to sell a property that still has a mortgage, because most people don’t stay in a home long enough to pay off the home loan.

With the help of your lender and real estate agent, you can move ahead and sell a house with a mortgage. Yes, there’s a bit of paperwork involved, but settling your mortgage at the closing table shouldn’t prove too challenging.

Here’s everything you need to know about selling a home with a mortgage.

What Happens to Your Mortgage When You Sell Your Home?

When you sell your home, the amount you contracted with the buyer is put toward your mortgage and settlement costs before any excess funds are wired to you. Here’s how it works for different transaction types.

A Typical Sale

In a typical sale, homeowners will put their current home on the market before buying another one. Assuming the homeowners have more value in their home than what is owed on their mortgage, they can take the proceeds from the sale of the home and apply that money to the purchase of a new home.

A Short Sale

A short sale is one when you cannot sell the home for what you owe on the mortgage and need to ask the lender to cover the difference (or short).

In a short sale transaction, the mortgage lender and servicer must accept the buyer’s offer before an escrow account can be opened for the sale of the property. This type of mortgage relief transaction can be lengthy (up to 120 days) and involves a lot of paperwork. It’s not common in areas where values are falling or at times when the real estate market is dropping.

When You Buy Another House

There are several roads you can take when you buy another house before selling your own. You may have the option of:

•   Holding two mortgages. If your lender approves you for a new mortgage without selling your current home, you may be able to use this option when shopping for a mortgage. However, you won’t be able to use funds from the sale of your current home for the purchase of your next home.

•   Including a home sale contingency in your real estate contract. The home sale contingency states that the purchase of the new home depends upon the sale of the old home. In other words, the contract is not binding unless you find a buyer to purchase the old home. The two transactions are often tied together. When the sale of the old home closes, it can immediately fund the down payment and closing costs of the new home (depending on how much there is, of course). Keep in mind that a home sale contingency can make your offer less competitive in a hot real estate market where sellers are not willing to wait around for a buyer’s home to sell.

•   Getting a bridge loan. A bridge loan is a short-term loan used to fund the costs of obtaining a new home before selling the old home. The interest rates are usually pretty high, but most homebuyers don’t plan to hold the loan for long.



💡 Quick Tip: You deserve a more zen mortgage. Look for a mortgage lender who’s dedicated to closing your loan on time.

Selling a House With a Mortgage: Step by Step

Here are the steps to take to sell a home that still has a mortgage.

Get a Payoff Quote

To determine exactly how much of the mortgage you still owe, you’ll need a payoff quote from your mortgage servicer. This is not the same thing as the balance shown on your last mortgage statement. The payoff amount will include any interest still owed until the day your loan is paid off, as well as any fees you may owe.

The payoff quote will have an expiration date. If the outstanding mortgage balance is paid off before that date, the amount on the payoff quote is valid. If it is paid after, sellers will need to obtain a new payoff quote.

Determine Your Home Equity

Equity is the difference between what your property is worth and what you owe on your mortgage (your payoff quote is most accurate). If your home is worth $400,000 and your payoff amount on the existing mortgage is $250,000, your equity is $150,000.

When you sell your home, you gain access to this equity. Your mortgage, any second mortgage like a home equity loan, and closing costs are settled, and then you are wired the excess amount to use how you like. Many homeowners opt to use part or all of the money as a down payment on their next home.

Secure a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can walk you through the process of selling a home with a mortgage and clear up questions on other mortgage basics. Your agent will be particularly valuable if you need to buy a new home before selling your current home.

Set a Price

With your agent, you will look at factors that affect property value, such as comparable sales in your area, to help you set a price. There are different price strategies you can review with your agent to bring in more buyers to bid on your home.

Accept a Bid and Open Escrow

After an open house and showings, you may have an offer (or a handful). Consider what you value in accepting an offer. Do you want a fast close? The highest price? A buyer who is flexible with your moving date? A buyer with mortgage preapproval?

You may also choose to continue negotiating with prospective buyers. Once you’ve selected a buyer and have signed the contract, it’s time to go into escrow.

Review Your Settlement Statement

You’ll be in escrow until the day your transaction closes. An escrow or title agent is the intermediary between you and the buyer until the deal is done. While the loan is being processed, title reports are prepared, inspections are held, and other details to close the deal are being worked out.

Three days before, you’ll see a closing disclosure (if you’re buying a house at the same time) and a settlement statement. The settlement statement outlines fees and charges of the real estate transaction and pinpoints how much money you’ll net by selling your home.


💡 Quick Tip: Generally, the lower your debt-to-income ratio, the better loan terms you’ll be offered. One way to improve your ratio is to increase your income (hello, side hustle!). Another way is to consolidate your debt and lower your monthly debt payments.

Selling a House With a Negative Equity

Negative equity means that the value of an asset (such as a home) is less than the balance due on the loan against it. Say you purchased a property for $400,000 with a $380,000 loan, but then the real estate market took a nosedive. Your property is now worth $350,000, less than the amount of the mortgage.

If you have negative equity in the home and need to sell it, it is possible to sell if you come up with the difference yourself.

In this scenario (an alternative to a short sale), you pay the difference between the amount left on your mortgage note and the purchase offer at closing. So in the example above, if you sold the house for $350,000, at the closing, you would need to pay the loan holder an additional $30,000 to clear the debt.

The Takeaway

Selling a house with a mortgage is common. The buyer pays the sales price, and that money is used to pay off your remaining mortgage, your closing costs, and any second mortgage. The rest is your profit.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

Who is responsible for the mortgage on the house during the sale?

The homeowner is responsible for continuing to pay the mortgage until paperwork is signed on closing day.

What happens if you sell a house with a HELOC?

When you sell a home that has a home equity line of credit with a balance, a home equity loan, or any other kind of lien against the house, that will need to be paid off before the remaining equity is paid out to you.

What happens to escrow money when you sell your house?

Your mortgage escrow account will be closed, and any money left will be refunded to you.

Can I make a profit on a house I still owe on?

Yes. You can make a profit if the amount you sell your house for is greater than the amount you owe on it, less closing and settlement costs.

Can I have two mortgages at once?

Yes, you can have two mortgages at once if the lender approves it.


Photo credit: iStock/Beton studio

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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