4 Things to Do with Your Home When Deciding to Downsize
As they settle into retirement, many seniors begin taking a good, hard look at their homes. For some, the idea of living in a spacious house no longer holds any appeal, especially if it requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Enter the concept of downsizing, which involves paring down your possessions and moving into a smaller, more manageable home. For some seniors, this could mean purchasing a smaller house, finding an apartment, moving in with loved ones, or shifting gears altogether and moving into an assisted living facility. However, regardless of the reasons for your downsize or where you want to end up when all’s said and done, you’ll need to determine what, exactly, you’ll do with your old property.
Here are four options you should consider when you start thinking about downsizing.
Selling Your Home
Successfully selling your home depends on quite a bit with the current housing market, so take the time to talk to a realtor or research what the market is like in your area. It may be wise to go ahead and sell, or it might be better to wait. With the market staying relatively competitive in San Francisco (the average sale price last month was $1.43M) you could net a substantial profit that you can put toward your next living situation. Keep in mind that if you put your home on the market, you’ll need to think through the details that will set it apart. Stage your home so that it appeals to the most buyers and connect with a realtor that has experience working with seniors.
Renting Your Home
For many seniors, renting out their home can add extra cash to their bank accounts, creating a safety net for unexpected medical costs or a nest egg for adventure and travel. Just be sure you have enough set aside for any big fixes your tenants might need and to cover any costs that might occur in between renters. It’s also wise to ask a close family member to help out with repairs so you’re not left with the brunt of the responsibility.
Remodeling Your Home
Rather than a move to independent living or a smaller home, some seniors may decide to remodel their homes to accommodate their changing accessibility needs. The most common rooms to remodel are the kitchen and the bathroom, where both accessibility and safety are a huge priority. You can install non-slip flooring, raise countertops, and put handrails near tubs, toilet and sinks. The right kinds of modifications not only reduce hazards of slips and falls, but also help seniors continue to live independently.
Leaving Your Home with Family
Leaving your home with your family allows them to build on your traditions in their family home. Not only does this help your family members out, but it can also be a great way to keep your home as a financial investment, which can be an important asset in your financial portfolio. If the market temperature is too cold, leaving it with your family means it is taken care of until a time when it will get a better listing price. For some seniors, it is an easy way to maintain financial stability and peace of mind while living in a retirement center. Just make sure you know the laws in your state surrounding leaving property to a family member.
Uncertain on Where to Go?
In addition to finding a solution for their current home, many seniors feel overwhelmed when trying to settle on the ideal living situation. Should you buy a smaller house? A condo? Rent an apartment? Oftentimes, independent living can be the perfect solution as it offers the best of both worlds allowing seniors to purchase a condo or rent an apartment in a 55+ community. This alleviates expenses associated with large homes, offers a social outlet, and provides access to meals and caregiving when needed. Plus, there are reasonable financing options for people living in San Francisco. The average monthly payment for an independent living facility in the Bay Area is roughly $1,500 to $11,270 per month. This can be an intimidating option for some people, so if you’re on the fence about independent living, tour a handful of communities to see if one works for you and your lifestyle.
As you plan for a transition to a smaller living space, letting go of a house filled with memories can be bittersweet. If selling doesn’t feel right, know you have options. With a bit of planning and some help from loved ones, you can make the transition easier and allow yourself to enjoy your golden years with less worry and more time doing the things you love.
By Jim Vogel