Did You Know You Can Sell Your House Before Paying off the Mortgage?

Two young homeowners shake hands with a real estate investor after selling a house before paying off mortgage

You may be wondering, should I sell my house?

Selling a house can be an incredibly stressful experience, especially when you are trying to pay off your current mortgage. It’s essential to understand the process and the steps that need to be taken to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Selling a house with a mortgage payment can be a complex process for sellers. One of the main issues is that the seller may owe more on the existing mortgage than the home is worth. This means the seller will have to pay out of pocket to make up the difference between what they owe and what they can get for the house.

In this article, we’ll explain how to sell a home with a mortgage so that you can decide on the best way to move forward.

Can You Sell Your House Before Paying Off the Mortgage?

Yes, you can sell your house before paying off the mortgage. Depending on your situation, you can negotiate with your lender to pay off the remaining mortgage balance to complete the sale.

Selling your house can be complicated, and several factors may impact your decision.

Real Estate Market

Selling your home in the real estate market can be a tricky decision. Market trends play a significant role in the success of selling your home.

A buyer’s market is when homes are abundant for sale, and buyers have more options, so sellers may have to lower their asking price or wait longer for their homes to sell.

On the other hand, a seller’s market is when there is a shortage of homes for sale, giving sellers more leverage in pricing and making it easier to find buyers.

Value of Your Home

If the home’s current market value is higher than what is owed on the mortgage, selling may be beneficial before paying off the mortgage. This would allow you to pay off their loan balance and still have leftover money.

However, if the home’s market value is lower than what is owed on the mortgage, it may be best to wait until you have paid off more of the loan balance before selling to avoid owing money after the closing.

Interest Rate

A lower interest rate means buyers can borrow more money for their purchase, making them more likely to buy your home. Lower interest rates also suggest buyers can afford higher-priced homes, which could increase the value of your property.

Things to Know Before Selling Your House Before Paying Off the Mortgage

Selling your home can be complicated, especially if you still owe money on your mortgage. Before you put your old home up for sale, you should be able to understand the steps involved and the potential pitfalls that could arise.

Here are some tips for selling your home before paying off the mortgage:

  • Research the local housing market to determine a reasonable asking price.
  • Prepare for closing costs, such as lawyer fees, home inspection fees, and realtor commissions.
  • Make sure you have enough money from the sale of your home to cover the remaining balance on any loans after closing costs are factored in.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax on a home sale is the amount of money you must pay in taxes from the sale proceeds. When you buy a new house, the amount you pay for it is called your “basis.”

If you sell the house for more than your basis, the difference between what you sold it for and what you paid is called a capital gain. The government taxes this capital gain, so you must pay capital gains tax on any profit when you sell your house.

The home exclusion on capital gains is a tax benefit that allows you to exclude up to $250,000 of the profit from the sale of your primary residence if you are single or up to $500,000 if you are married and filing jointly. Here are some key points about this benefit:

  • You must have owned and used the home as your primary residence for at least two of the five years before the sale.
  • The exclusion applies only to gains from selling your primary residence but not to second homes or investment properties.
  • You can only use this exclusion once every two years.
Two young homeowners read about the legalities involved when selling a house before paying off mortgage

Legalities When Selling Your House Before Paying Off the Mortgage

When it comes to selling your house, there are certain legalities that you need to be aware of before you can pay off the mortgage. Understanding the mortgage payoff amount, Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), and other mortgage debt associated with the sale is critical.

Mortgage Payoff Amount

The mortgage loan payoff is the total amount owed on the loan at the time of sale. This includes any principal balance, interest, taxes, insurance, and other fees associated with the loan. The buyer will typically pay this amount in full at closing. However, if a HELOC or other type of second lien is on the property, these amounts must also be paid off for sale.


HELOCs are home equity loans that allow homeowners to borrow against their home’s equity. These loans are typically used for home improvements or other large purchases. When selling your house, any HELOCs must be paid off before closing for the sale to go through. Additionally, any remaining mortgage debt must also be paid off before closing.

Short Sale

A short sale is a real estate transaction in which the seller agrees to sell their property for less than the amount they owe on their mortgage. This allows the seller to avoid foreclosure and can benefit both parties involved.

Home Equity and How it Works

Home equity is a valuable asset for homeowners. It is the difference between how much a home is worth and how much the homeowner owes on their mortgage. Home equity can finance various expenses, such as home improvements or college tuition.

Calculating your home equity is relatively simple. First, you need to determine the fair market value of your home. This can be done by getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser or by researching comparable homes in your area. Once you have determined the fair market value of your home, subtract any outstanding mortgage and loan balances from that amount to get your total equity.

Negative Equity

Negative equity occurs when an asset’s value, such as a house, is lower than the amount still owed. This means that if you were to sell the asset, you would be unable to pay off the loan in full. Negative equity can occur due to asset depreciation or taking out a loan with a longer term than necessary.

If you owe more on your home loan than what your home is worth on the market, then you have negative equity in your home. This can have severe implications for households and communities, affecting their ability to borrow or refinance their loans.

For example, if you take out a home loan for $200,000, but your home depreciates and is only worth $150,000 after two years, then you have negative equity of $50,000. To sell your home in your old house and get a new one, you must pay off the negative equity or build enough equity to pay off your mortgage company.

Will You Owe Banks if You Sell Before Paying Off Your Mortgage?

When selling a house with a mortgage, the proceeds from the sale will go towards paying off the loan balance. If your home is worth more than you owe, you will pocket some profit after paying commissions, fees, and closing costs. However, if you owe more than your home is worth, you won’t be able to use the proceeds from your home sale to pay off your mortgage.

It’s important to note that when selling a house with a mortgage, you should contact your mortgage lender to get an accurate payoff for your current home. Additionally, it’s also important to consider other questions, such as whether or not early repayment penalties apply and if there are any tax implications associated with early repayment.


Selling a house before paying off a mortgage can be a great way to get out of debt and move on with your life. It can also be an excellent way to make extra cash for a down payment on your next home if needed.

However, it is vital to consider all the pros and cons before starting the selling process. Ensure you understand the implications of selling your home and buying a new home before paying off the mortgage and weigh the potential risks against the rewards.

Selling a home to a cash home buyer is an excellent option for those who need to sell their house quickly. Cash home buyers can make fast offers and close quickly, often within days or weeks. They also don’t require any repairs or renovations, making the process much simpler and faster than selling through a real estate agent. You don’t have to pay agent commissions either. Additionally, a cash offer can help sellers avoid costly closing costs and commissions.

Element Homebuyers is among the premier cash home buyers in Nebraska. We buy houses in Lincoln and can help you sell a house fast in Hickman.

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