Finance

Selling a House with a Mortgage: All You Need to Know

By Tom Burchnell

You’re ready to move—you’ve taken your dream job in a new city, you’re relocating in retirement, or you’re simply ready for a change of scenery. But, you still have an outstanding mortgage on your current home. 

Can you sell a house with a mortgage? The answer is yes—you can sell a house with a mortgage. 

Although it’s a common real estate practice, selling a house with a mortgage isn’t always straightforward, depending on your current financial circumstances. In this article, we’re going to show you how to sell a house with an outstanding mortgage by describing the key considerations you should take before selling and what the process will look like. 

Can You Sell a House with a Mortgage?

Yes—you can sell a house even if you still owe a portion of your mortgage loan to your lender. You’ll mostly follow the typical home sale process, but you’ll have to take a few extra steps:

  • Check how much you still owe on your current mortgage by obtaining a payoff quote. 
  • Price your home so that profits from the sale will cover your remaining balance.
  • Consider how your reason for selling will impact your ability to secure a new home in the future.

Let’s explore each of these elements in more detail, as well as other important considerations.

Key Considerations for Selling a House with a Mortgage

Before you stick that For Sale sign in the yard, consider a few financial elements that could impact the process. 

Are You Up-to-Date on Payments?

Is your mortgage current—meaning you’ve made a payment for this month and all months prior without any outstanding funds due? 

If you’re not up-to-date on your mortgage payments, you should discuss your options with your mortgage lender before selling. Your lender may provide other options for reducing your monthly mortgage payment, like a mortgage recast or refinance.

Now, what happens if you miss a mortgage payment? If you’ve missed enough payments to warrant a foreclosure, make sure that you communicate your intentions to sell with your lender. They may pause the foreclosure process if you sell your home and completely repay your mortgage within a certain amount of time. 

Will You Be Approved for a New Mortgage or Rental?

Before you sell your home, consider that you still have a roof over your head. 

Review your credit score and consider your general creditworthiness to determine whether or not you’ll qualify for a new mortgage loan or get approved for a rental property. You might assume that you’re creditworthy because you secured your previous mortgage, but the following possible circumstances could make you a high-risk borrower:

  • If you’ve recently become self-employed, most lenders require evidence of at least two years of self-employment income.
  • If you’re at risk of foreclosure, your credit score has likely gone down due to your inability to make regular payments on your mortgage. 
  • If you’ve changed careers or acquired new debt recently, your debt-to-income ratio may be too high to qualify you for a new loan. 

Are You Upside-Down on Your Mortgage?

If you’re upside-down or underwater on your mortgage—meaning that you owe more than your home is worth—you should carefully consider whether or not it’s the right time to sell. Instead of going the traditional sale route, consider these other options:

  • Waiting – Waiting for the market to bounce back is usually the best option for upside-down homeowners. Once the market recovers, you’re more likely to recoup your equity and repay your mortgage balance using sale proceeds only.
  • Opting for a short sale – In a short sale, a lender agrees to lower your mortgage balance to reflect what your home is worth. Then, when you sell, you use the proceeds to pay your reduced balance. 
  • Sale-leaseback program – Consider a sale-leaseback program if you’re struggling financially but still want to stay in your home. Providers like EasyKnock will purchase your home at fair market value, lease the property back to you so that you don’t have to move, and allow you to buy your home back when you’re ready. 

How to Sell a House with a Mortgage

If you’re financially prepared to sell, it’s time to get the ball rolling:

  1. Make any final modifications that could add value to your home.
  2. List your home, and spread the word that it’s on the market.
  3. Review offers, select the best one, and negotiate with the potential buyer. 
  4. Seek a payoff balance from your mortgage lender to determine how much you still owe on your existing mortgage.
  5. Complete the closing process, pay all closing costs, and repay your loan in full. 

The payoff balance statement is crucial—since you owe interest for every day that you’re still in your current home, the statement will give you a final mortgage payment amount and an expiration date. If you sell before the statement’s expiration date, you’ll receive a refund for interest overpayment. 

EasyKnock: A Flexible Alternative Solution

If you’re selling your home to try to pay off other debts, prepare for retirement, or fund a new business, you should know that there’s another solution: EasyKnock.

When you use EasyKnock, you can convert your home equity and achieve your financial goals without having to leave your home. How?

  1. We purchase your home for fair market value.
  2. You stay as a renter as long as you need.
  3. You can buy your home back from us anytime or instruct us to sell it on the open market. 

Did we mention you can do all this without the need for a real estate agent? Converting your home equity to cash is just a few clicks away. Get qualified, and discover a home equity loan alternative that can help you meet your needs. 

Sources: 

Investopedia. Avoid These Mistakes When Selling Your Home. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/home-seller-mistakes-selling-house.asp 

Investopedia. How Many Mortgage Payments Can I Miss Before Foreclosure?. https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/081516/how-many-mortgage-payments-can-i-miss-foreclosure.asp 

US News. Can You Get a Mortgage If You’re Self-Employed?. https://money.usnews.com/loans/mortgages/articles/can-you-get-a-mortgage-if-youre-self-employed

NerdWallet. What is a Short Sale?. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/what-is-a-short-sale 

Topics:
Mortgages
Real Estate
Selling
Tom Burchnell Director of Product Marketing for EasyKnock, licensed real estate agent.

This article is published for educational and informational purposes only. This content is based on research and/or other relevant articles and contains trusted sources, but does not express the concerns of EasyKnock. Our goal at EasyKnock is to provide readers with up-to-date and objective resources on real estate and mortgage-related topics. Our content is written by experienced contributors in the finance and real-estate space and all articles undergo an in-depth review process.