My wife and I are on year 4 of a 5 year ARM @ 4.5% and we are ready to get out of the townhouse/condo life

Asked by KP, 01970 Wed May 21, 2008

and get a home. Unfortuantely we paid about $285,000 for the townhouse about 4 years ago at 0 down (FTHB Loan), so at this point we probably owe about $260-265K on the place and I'm nervous (to say the least) about what my place could fetch, HOWEVER - I have seen plenty of units and there are probably few (if any) with the types of upgrades we have made in the past 1-2 years (new wood floors/stairs in living room area, new deck (with timbertek), new windows, kitchen recently updated). Now we are in a good position financially and can afford a home in the $500K area at this time, but I'm pretty worried about being able to break even on the condo. Now if need be, I could take a hit on the place, but I was just curious as to what local realtors are seeing for these units - which are pretty big (1700 sq feet).

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Michael Giles, Agent, Beverly, MA
Wed May 21, 2008
Hi Kevin,
It's hard to say with out seeing the property what it would sell for in today's market. Two units in the 4 building have tried unsuccessfully to sell recently. 4B is currently on at $239k.

You are fortunate to be in a strong finacial position and need to understand that any loss you take now will be made up in the equity of your next home as the market turns back around. Make your decision on your current lifestyle needs.
1 vote
Sue Keenan, Agent, Salem, MA
Tue Jul 22, 2008
What condo complex are you in? I can tell you the market value. I have been selling Condos in Salem, MA for then past 18 years.
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Jill Courvil…, , Norfolk County, MA
Wed May 21, 2008
There is good news here. You are realistic about the market and you are a "move up" buyer. First you need to contact a Realtor to find out what you can realistically expect to sell your home for. Second, be weary of agents that will try to "buy" your listing. In other words, tell you an unrealistic price so you list your home with them. Third, from the agent you should expect hard numbers, market trends, absorption rates, and current solds and actives. Try to make your condo the best deal out there. It sounds like you have done a great deal of updates and Buyers love that but it doesn't always make your home more valuable but it does make it more saleable. The rest of the good news is you are a "move up" Buyer so you will save in the long run. If you paid 285k for your condo and end up selling for less you will buy for less too and your savings will be more on a 500k house. This is just anj example but say you sell for 270k and you buy for 500k. The house you would be buying may have been more like 575k. So you actually made 50k in the deal. Buying and selling is really just transferring equity so the short answer is it seems as though you are in a good position to buy. If you wait for your townhome to appreciate the home you want to buy will too and it will cost you more in the long run.
0 votes
KP, Both Buyer And Seller, 01970
Wed May 21, 2008
Thanks Michael - yeah I feel like at this point I will have to build up a bit of a "cushion" to prepare for any potential loss on property, which will unfortunately take away from the down payment on the house (meaning I'm going to have to put down more like 10% than 20% and deal with PMI again). I've seen a lot of the places that are up, mine will most certainly show much better than those given the upgrades - downside - it's not an end unit - (it's one of the 3 story units).
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Maria Morton, Agent, Kansas City, MO
Wed May 21, 2008
Michael gave an excellent answer. Your next step is to contact a Realtor in your area and ask him/her to come to your home and provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis. The Realtor will need to evaluate your home in person to give you an accurate assessment. He/she will also be able to connect you with a reputable mortgage lender who can help you refinance into a fixed mortgage before your ARM increases as well as tell you what options you have for purchasing another home. It sounds like you're in a good position to move up, now just find a professional to guide you through the process so that you get the best deal available for you now.
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