Advice for Seniors Looking to Downsize

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Real Estate

Advice for Seniors Looking to Downsize 

Homeownership is primarily thought to be a goal of young families and singles. In today’s age, many people over age 50 are beginning to look at their options for purchasing a home. More specifically, they are looking into downsizing. It may seem that a new mortgage is not ideal at a time when you are supposed to be trying to simplify your life, but downsizing could be just the simplification you need. You’ll have less house to take care of, increased mobility, a lower mortgage, and the benefit of being closer to family and friends if you so choose. If you are a senior and looking to downsize, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction! 

Be aware 

Unfortunately those who fall under the senior age group are often targeted by predatory real estate agents for scams and unethical behavior. Purchasing a home is quite an extensive process, but it will be wise on your behalf to know exactly what you are getting into. Always gather enough information so you are well-informed before making any decisions. Also, consult with a trusted financial advisor or attorney to make sure you understand any fine print.

 Do not allow anyone to rush you into making decisions or signing documents. Chances are if they are rushing you, they are trying to get away with something. Purchasing a home is a major investment and you deserve to be properly protected and informed. You need to take into consideration your current mental and physical health, and possible limitations that could crop up in the future. For example, while the two-bedroom home you just walked through has granite countertops that you love, will the bedroom on the second floor and laundry room in the basement be feasible as you age? The key to successfully downsizing is to keep your future living situation in mind. 

Explore your buying options 

When you decide to downsize and purchase a new home, you are committing to taking on a new financial responsibility. If you own your current place of residence and are looking to downsize, ideally you would just sell your old home and pay for the new one with cash. If you are new to homeownership, you will need to explore your options for financing. There is the option to apply for a reverse mortgage, which is called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

The difference between an HECM loan and a traditional reverse mortgage is that you will be reversing the mortgage on the home you are purchasing. Combining a down payment with the reverse mortgage on your new home will equal the purchasing price. If you have low income and are concerned about finding affordable housing, there are several housing grants for seniors available through government and charitable agencies. 

Senior moving services 

Packing up your life’s belongings and relocating to a new home can be very stressful and can cause some physical wear and tear on your body. You may also find that after going through the negotiation process on your new home, you just don’t have the energy to deal with much else regarding the move. Whether you want to do your own packing and just hire someone for the heavy lifting or you’re looking for a full service operation, there are services in place to help seniors transition out of their old space into a new home with ease. 

Compare the moving cost of a DIY move, a professional move, and a hybrid move, which is the combination of the two. When making your decision, consider the time you will have to dedicate, as well as the reality. Can you safely lift heavy furniture? Do you have experience driving a moving truck? These are all important questions to think about. Keep in mind that downsizing means you will have less room, so it’s a good idea to declutter your home before you start the packing process. Go through your home room by room and separate the items into keep, sell, and donate piles. 

Buying a home is quite the process for any age group. As a senior, do not let your age deter you from enjoying the sense of security that comes with owning your own home. Life after 50 is vastly changing and people are living healthier, longer lives, so it is a must that you allow yourself to experience the joy of homeownership. Downsizing is the perfect option for seniors looking to thrive in their home for years to come. 

Author: Michael Longsdon