Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Downsizing Dilemma

With the economy not showing too many signs of getting better and kids out of the house many seniors are thinking of downsizing their home to help fund retirement.  While this sounds like a good plan, there are things you need to consider before you call your realtor.  The Wall Street Journal recently published an article talking about this subject and it mentioned some good points.  Specifically the article mentions:

  • The current real estate market.  During the recent election it seemed that all the real estate news you heard was the market was getting stronger, values were starting to increase, and people were buying homes again.  While this has some truth to it, can you really believe everything the media tells you?  Take a look at your area, is this really the case with people you know who are selling their homes?  If it is then putting you home for sale may be a good option, but if you live in an area that most people live in today, you may want to think twice or at least do some good research before you list your home.
  • Dealing with the emotions of moving.  How long have you lived in your house?  I recently moved from a house I lived in for 10 years and while packing realized we have accumulated A LOT of stuff!  We also had some great memories in our house and it was hard to leave, especially for my wife an children.  How would that have been after living there for 30, 40, or 50 years?  What would my family have said then?  Just a few things to consider...
  • Do you really save money?  An average commission paid to a real estate company to sell your home is 6% and then factor in moving costs you could end up paying a lot of unexpected money to downsize.  Plus is you move into a condo or town home, your payment may be less or non-existent, but you still have HOA fees that can be in the $100's per month.  Make sure you do your research on all the costs first!
  • Do you fit?  As mentioned above we all have a tendency to accumulate stuff over the years.  It's important to make sure all your possessions will fit into your new smaller house.  If not you may be forced to sell items you really don't want to, or pay a fee for a storage unit which will add to your expenses.
There are many things to consider before you downsize your home; if you want to increase monthly cash flow without changing homes there is an alternative.  The reverse mortgage program can be a great way to stay in your home and get rid of your mortgage payment.  To see if you qualify try our reverse mortgage calculator.

If you would like to read the Wall Street Journal article in its entirety click here.