What you can do if your home is worth less than what you paid

Written by Purplebricks

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I hope you never find yourself in this situation but in soft markets it happens and two things are absolute killers – panic or burying your head in the sand in the hope things will magically turn around. You need a plan but obviously that plan will depend on your circumstances.

If the home is debt free and you are living in it, then obviously you are in a much more comfortable position than if it’s mortgaged and you also can’t make the repayments. Bottom line is, take a deep breath. There is always a solution and the first step is, understanding your options. Usually you have two choices. Hold on and ride it out, or sell.

On the surface selling for less than you paid, or worse, less than you owe, looks like a disaster. But please don’t dismiss that option until you have looked at the numbers. In some circumstances it’s exactly what you should do.

You need to consider the following:

  • Do you know exactly how much you would lose if you sold the property now? (Factor in the costs of selling, agents fees etc.)
  • Do you know how much the property is costing you each month?
  • How are you positioned financially to hold on? The last thing you want is to be forced to sell in a mortgagee sale.
  • If you are living in the property is there an option to move out (back home with family, or to cheaper accommodation) and rent the property to help with the mortgage?
  • If you do hold on, what are the prospects for both the market and the area rebounding? When is that likely to happen?
  • Will property prices continue to fall and therefore cost you even more in the end?

Some of those questions may be difficult to answer, predicting the market isn’t easy but if you know how much the property is costing you each month then at least you can do the math’s to decide if selling now and taking a hit is better than holding on and costing yourself more money.