Being a homeowner is the dream we all strive for and comes with a lot of benefits. We can redecorate as we please, organize our home as we please, and feel secure knowing a landlord isn’t going to increase the rent or decide to put the home up for sale.
But homeownership isn’t without its downsides; the biggest being that if something breaks, there’s no one else who’s going to pay for it to be fixed. While you may be able to live with a leaky faucet, you can’t live without a working HVAC system or a roof that doesn’t leak.
In times of financial hardship, it can be difficult to decide what to do next. Today, we’ll guide you through your options so you are well-equipped to take control of your situation.
First, Assess the Damage
First, find out what’s really wrong with your home. If it’s just in a state of disrepair, with unsightly peeling wallpaper and threadbare carpets, there’s not a lot you can do about it besides save up and make budget repairs. Pinterest and YouTube are great resources for making small repairs and updates on a budget.
If you’re worried your home needs costly repairs, find a contractor to assess the damage and give you a quote. Most contractors will do this for free. Once you have a better understanding of what’s wrong and how much it will cost to put right, you’ll be able to make better decisions.
Next, Assess Your Situation
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, assess your situation. What led you here? This can be an uncomfortable thing to think about, but your next steps may be very different if you only recently lost your job compared to if you have been struggling to maintain the home for years.
- What would it take to make the home comfortable and habitable?
- Could you DIY any of the necessary repairs?
- Could you afford a loan? Could you remortgage or get a home equity loan? Would it be a smart decision to do so?
- If the home’s problems were fixed, would you find the property easy to afford and maintain with your normal income?
- Is this situation temporary, or has it been ongoing for some time?
- Is the home really practical for you and your family? Could you be happy elsewhere?
- What’s keeping you from selling the home? (Emotional attachment, not wanting to lose money on it, or something else?)
- If the current problem was put right, would you feel anxious that something else was soon going to break, or would you feel able to relax?
With clarity around these questions, you’ll be able to find a clear path out of your predicament.
Now Make a Plan
Now you know what’s wrong, how much it will cost to put right, and have a realistic view of your home, you can make a plan. Here are your options:
- Get a loan – Getting a loan to make the repairs may not be an option available to you, but remortgaging or getting a home equity loan may be worth it if you are desperate to stay in your home.
- Get a grant or no-interest loan – There are a surprising number of grants and no-interest loans available to low-income families to help you cover the cost of repairs (see the section below for details).
- Sell your home – If you run out of options or you’ve come to the realization that the maintenance of the home isn’t in your means right now, selling the home can be the smartest option. Often people hold onto homes they cannot afford to maintain, meaning that most of their income goes on simply keeping the home going, rather than enriching their lives. You may be living hand-to-mouth when you could be living comfortably elsewhere.
Home Repair Grants and Programs
If your home is in desperate need of repair and you can’t afford them, the first thing you should do is look into the grants and programs Massachusetts offers.
Here are some of the main organizations and programs you should know about:
- Habitat for Humanity offers a ReStore where you can get used materials to make your home repairs.
- MassHousing offers low and no-cost loans to help you with general home improvement, lead paint removal, and septic system repair.
- Rebuilding Together helps low-income families to install safety features and some other essential updates.
- The USDA provides grants of up to $7,500 for low-income households in rural areas.
- The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission offers low-cost loans to those with disabilities who need to make home repairs or modifications.
- Veterans and military families can access a VA-backed loan to help them improve their homes. There are additional benefits available to those injured during their service.
You can find out more information about the grants and low-cost loans available to you here: HUD Home Repairs Massachusetts.
Sell Your Home
When you’ve run out of options – or simply the willingness to deal with the stress of living in a home that’s in disrepair – selling your home is the best option. While selling your home via a realtor may be off the table, investors will be interested in buying your property to repair, renovate, and sell on or rent out. Since investors are cash buyers, the sale will complete quickly and you’ll then have the money to get back on your feet or purchase another property that’s in a good state of repair.
We’re Here to Help
If you’re experiencing financial hardship and aren’t sure whether you’ll qualify for a grant or whether you should just sell up, we’re here to help. We can guide you through your options and help you decide on your next steps.
If you decide that selling your home is the best option, we can give you a cash offer for your Massachusetts home. You’re under no obligation to accept – whether or not we’ve given you advice – but if you do we can close in just a matter of weeks.
To get some advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us with the details of your situation. We’ve spoken to many families like yours and your details will always be kept with the strictest confidence. If you’d like to learn more about how we buy properties, click here.