The great advantage of purchasing a home is the equity build up. As of the beginning of November 2016, the median price for homes may range from the low $100K to $125+K, depending on the area and the rates on the market today. If you owe $25K on your current home and are looking into selling your home, I would suggest to look for a local expert realtor who is willing to explain the process to you, among an agent's duty is to oversee any activities happening on the premises of the property, although you could still rent it while it's on the market. An agent's fiduciary duty is to you as the seller, and hence sell your property for its wotrh and perhaps be able to negotiate a higher price buyer. As an example, if your home were to be sold for $115K, minus the agent's commisdion of a 6.5% rate, you would be left with about $107K, if you take the $25K towards to pay off the rest of the mortgage plus any penalty fees for paying off before contract set date from lender, you will still have plenty enough in your pocket, probably more than doubled compared to the other option of the $30K, which you would have ended up losing after paying the mortgage plus penalty fees, leaving you with nothing in your pockets.
I advice you seek information from your local profesional realtor and compare rates.
Good luck to you and your wife, and if you happen to visit California, please feel free to contact me for any Real Estate related concerns you may have.
Sonnocco Real Estate Group
3626 Long Beach Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90807