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When Should Seniors Sell Their Home?

When Should Seniors Sell Their Homes

Key Summary

It can be difficult to decide when to sell up and move, whether to downsize, rent, or move to a senior community and pay for care. Find the answers you need.

Whether you’ve been planning to move to a new senior residence for a while or unforeseen circumstances have instigated the move, sound advice can make the process easier. The concept of “downsizing” is often challenging enough, but a move to a senior community can cause some anxiety if you’re unaware of the advantages.

Referah Family Connection Agents assist seniors facing these challenges almost daily, and can offer support on choosing the most efficient routes and resources. Read on to make the right decision when you need to, even if the time to move is now.

Tips for Seniors Selling Their Homes

Having time to plan ahead is sometimes a luxury when it comes to selling a home, and this is especially true when older adults decide it’s time to move.

When there’s ample time to plan ahead there are still a thousand things to consider, from how and when to sell, to whether to remodel for the best financial exit. When the need to sell arises unexpectedly, the timeline compresses - sometimes dramatically. The “to-do” list doesn’t get shorter, it only gets accelerated, and different tactics come into play.

How can seniors, family members, or caregivers best achieve the desired results? Here are a few top tips for seniors selling their homes:

  • Use the resources available to you. Call Referah; our Family Connection Agents have vast experience supporting seniors in this situation. If you have a trusted financial advisor, they can also help.
  • Consider the market at the time of selling. Selling a home is a time- and market-driven exercise. While you might assume your property value has grown substantially compared to its original purchase price, the vagaries of market conditions can dramatically affect your financial outcome. We only have to look back over a short period of time to see a dramatic acceleration in home values, as well as changes to interest rates and geography. At the time of writing (2022), the market appears to have topped off, and may even now be on the downward side of the curve.
  • Keep up with maintenance. Simple but important measures won’t go unnoticed. For example, keeping a well-manicured lawn, removing unnecessary items like empty boxes, completing a thorough cleaning, and upgrading appliances, countertops, and lighting can all help you sell quicker and support a higher asking price.

Why Downsizing in Retirement Might Be a Terrible Idea

When seniors or their loved ones begin preparing to sell a home, the first thought is often that downsizing and purging possessions are the solutions. However, this is not always the best choice. In fact, the notion of “downsizing” can cause both financial and emotional anguish. Instead of automatically downsizing, ask yourself the following:

  • What will the cost comparison be? A smaller home won’t necessarily be cheaper. Consider whether you can retain certain possessions and reduce the burden of homeownership by choosing a community-based setting instead.
  • How will I receive care if necessary? Even if a new home is less expensive, what will the costs be if you or a loved one require Home Care or Home Health Care? Will the costs of ongoing in-home care be sustainable?
  • Would I rather spend my money on a different solution? With downsizing, there are numerous hidden costs, such as paying a real estate agent to find you a new home and the fees associated with financing a new mortgage. Instead, you might consider putting those funds toward an actionable, long-term plan that is created with senior living experts.

Should Seniors Sell Their Home and Rent?

Many of the challenges of buying a new home may encourage seniors or their families to consider renting. There are pros and cons with each situation, but renting a residence can provide more flexibility. However, it also means that you no longer have a property to your name, the risk of significant rent increases exists, and you will be required to meet the demands of a landlord.

When seniors consider selling their homes to rent, they often haven’t considered moving to a senior community as an option. For example, older adults who have minimal care needs may think that senior living is only for those who need care assistance. However, there are thousands of Independent Living options available that provide adventure and a sense of community for those who simply want to do away with maintenance and household chores. Many seniors who choose a community environment find they spend less and enjoy life more than they would in a traditional home, as Independent Living offers planned activities, social gatherings, meal options and more! All of this is already budgeted for and provides exceptional value.

Do I Have to Sell My Parents’ Home to Pay for Care?

For seniors who are moving to private pay communities, ownership of real estate may or may not be a contributing factor. The senior may be fully capable of covering the costs of living in a new community without having to divest from any other hard real estate assets. However, it is common that a main homestead is sold in order to help pay for the costs of senior living care. The longer the seller has to plan for that strategy the better, so they have time to ensure their property is in the very best condition for sale.

How to Sell Your House Fast as a Senior

In other circumstances, the sale of real estate becomes a time-sensitive mission. Pressing circumstances often arise when the only way to afford the costs of senior living is to sell, and Assisted Living is the best choice for the senior. This situation becomes even more complex when one member of a senior couple needs 24-hour specialized care, and the only way to pay what’s above and beyond any insurance, state, or federal assistance is to sell their primary residence.

While these are likely to be once-in-a-lifetime circumstances for the senior or family member, they thankfully are not new to Referah Family Connection Agents, who are more than able to give sound advice, based on years of experience.

There are many more circumstances where seniors and their families may need additional guidance, such as navigating financial assistance based on years of veteran service. Read our next article “How Do I Apply for VA Aid and Attendance Pension?” to learn more.

Find Senior Care Near You

Look to your Referah Family Connection Agent to find the best solution for you. Discuss whether or not to sell, how soon, and where to move to, and receive guidance based on vast experience, that factors in national and local market trends. You’ll receive recommendations on how to best achieve your goals in the context of your personal circumstances, and help you find the best support and solutions for the long term.

If you're looking for a specialized care facilities, our experts can help you find the right type of care. Explore senior living communities near you today.

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