Real Estate Roundup: Downsizing in Retirement? What Will Happen with Your Current Home?

A bigger home may have served you well in the past. But now that the kids are grown and your nest is finally empty, you have decided that a smaller home is a better fit for your golden years. That means searching for the perfect new home, but it also means deciding what to do with your current home. These helpful tips can be useful no matter how you choose to handle your old home as you prepare to downsize in retirement. 

If You’re Thinking of Selling…

You need to have some critical housing marketing info at your disposal before you can make an informed decision about selling your home. Start by taking a look at average home prices in your particular area, using online real estate search tools. These sort of tools simplify the research process by breaking down important information in a way you can clearly understand. For instance, homes in Bristol have sold for an average of $170,000 in the past month, and many search results will show you whether homes sold for under or over the listed price. 

Researching home prices and housing market trends online is a good start when deciding whether to sell your home. To fully understand the risks and benefits of listing your home in the current local real estate market, however, you need to work with a real estate professional. In terms of selling, a listing agent can give you a better estimate of how much you can expect to receive for your home and can help market your current property to help it sell. 

If you’ve decided to sell your current home, you may want to put the profits toward buying your new home. Whether this is the case or not, taking care of basic staging steps is key to getting more offers on your listing and keeping your listing from sitting on the market too long. You can add mirror and lighting to give potential buyers a feeling of more space and warmth, but most listing agents recommend focusing on decluttering and cleaning as priority staging tasks. If you need some help in the staging department, you can always bring in a pro to help, but keep in mind that it could easily cost you between $150 and $600 for two hours.

If You’re Thinking of Renting Out Your Home…

In some cases, renting your home may make better financial sense than selling it outright. For instance, if you expect your property to gain value or if you are looking for an easy source of extra income, then renting your house out could offer more benefits. To protect that value and profit, you need to ensure that any maintenance or repairs are completed before listing so that your new rental property can attract more attention — and attract more reliable tenants. 

A clean, updated home can help attract renters, but you also need effective marketing to make tenants want to rent your property. That marketing can take some serious time and effort, so if you are in the middle of downsizing your home, let an experienced property manager take care of the hard work for you. In addition to marketing your home to tenants, property managers can also help schedule maintenance, collect rent, and deal with other property issues so you can stress less about your investment property and spend more time enjoying your retirement. 

If You’re Thinking of Giving Your Home to Family…

Selling and renting are two of the most popular choices for seniors looking to downsize their current home, but another option is to give your home away. Giving your old home to children or other relatives is a great way to ensure the house and memories stay in your family, but gifting your home can also help offset any future long-term care costs by making you more eligible for Medicaid. There are some potential consequences of giving your home up this way, however, like tax penalties, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making this decision. 

Downsizing can lessen the burden of caring for a larger home during retirement. So, don’t let the process of deciding what to do with that home cause you any additional stress. Just focus on what’s best for you to make the best choice for your current home before downsizing.  

Do you have a rental or property for sale? Have answers to questions about all thing real estate? Get featured on Real Estate Roundup. Contact Mike Uchalid at mikeuchalid@centralctroundup.com

Content Credit: Jim Vogel Elderaction.org im@elderaction.org

Photo Credit: Bankrate

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