BUILDING HOME EQUITY
By Shannon Cistulli, Realtor
Equity is one of the best things about home ownership. Without even realizing it your home’s value can greatly increase. As a Realtor the question I’m asked most often is “what is my home worth”? You need the answer to that question in order to know how much equity you have. Building equity can come from a variety of ways but first let’s get clear on what equity is.
WHAT IS EQUITY?
Equity is the amount of your home that you actually own. If you borrowed money to buy your home, you can calculate your equity by subtracting your loan balance from the value of your home. If you end up with a negative number, you have negative equity – the home is worth less than you owe on it.
The good news is that after reviewing recent statistics for the Glendale real estate market it’s clear that prices are back to the previous peak. This means most homeowners have their equity back and possibly more.
Are there things you can do to increase your homes equity? The answer is absolutely! While we can’t control the real estate market there are things we can do to increase our homes equity.
WHAT FACTORS INCREASE EQUITY?
1. Financial appreciation.
Appreciation is the increase in value of an asset (in this case your home) over time. Rise in home prices are created by an increase which can occur for a number of reasons, including increased demand or weakening supply, or as a result of changes in inflation or interest rates can affect your homes equity.
2. Decrease the Debt.
Making larger payments - if you make larger payments each month, with the extra portion going toward principal, you will pay off your mortgage quicker and gain home equity quicker.
Increase the frequency of your payments – modify your monthly payments to a bi-weekly payment plan. This will allow you to shorten your mortgage term, save you a lot in interest, and build equity more quickly.
Shorten the mortgage term from 30 years to 15 years. This will increase the size of your payments, but build equity much faster. This may also reduce the interest rate of your loan.
3. Increase the property value.
Maintenance and Curb appeal - paying attention to the upkeep of your home adds to the value and you will reap the reward when it comes time to sell. Simple things can make a big difference, such as new roof, new paint, new flooring, cleanliness, landscaping, etc.
Home improvements – increase your home equity instantly by making home improvements where the expected value exceeds the cost. Updating the kitchen and bathrooms, creating open spaces, and adding an outdoor entertainment area are just a few suggestions.