As people enter their senior years, once they’ve retired and are starting the “golden” phase of their lives, many people turn to real estate for personal and investment reasons. Whether looking to buy or sell, it’s important to know your options and understand what real estate can do for you.
Selling Your Home
Selling your home can seem like an obvious choice for retirees and seniors. If you’re looking to downsize, move closer to family, or find a community that will better serve your retirement needs, it’s essential to prepare for the process and work with the right real estate professionals.
Your selling process should begin with speaking to a realtor to determine the approximate market value of your home. You’ll want to consult with your accountant to determine your equity value and understand the tax impact the home sale will have. A financial specialist can help you plan how to invest your sale proceeds. And that may lead you right back to a Realtor if you’d like to re-invest some or all of your proceeds back into real estate.
If you are planning to sell your home and move into a retirement community or an assisted living facility, it’s important to decide what you are looking for in your next home environment. Research the costs so you can provide specific information to your financial advisor to determine the long-term monetary impact of your choices.
Much of the aging adult population is unaware of what care options and programs can help them maintain their independence and quality of life. In order to help, Caring.com offers a free resource providing comprehensive information about financial support and assisted living options available in your area. If you are looking to learn more about your options, check out this assisted living database from Caring.com and read more about assisted living here.
Once you’ve established your financial base and decided your next steps, it’s time to find a real estate professional to help sell your home and maximize your profit from the sale. Selling your home can be an emotional process, so it’s important to find an agent you connect with and who has your best interests at heart.
If your home needs repairs or improvements, you’ll need to factor the cost of renovation into your decision when choosing an agent. Many agents leave the renovations to you, which can add stress, expense, and time to the process of selling your home.
If you choose to work with Wilson Leung & Associates, we front all renovation costs to help you get the best value from your home sale. There are no hidden fees or interest charges, and we get reimbursed only if and when your home is actually sold.
Buying a Home
If you are looking to buy a home for your retirement years, many of the same principles apply. Whether looking to establish a new home base for family gatherings or moving to a new city or region that better serves your lifestyle, start by consulting a financial advisor to establish your current financial standing and know what assets you have available to invest in your new home. A mortgage expert can help determine your buying power, factoring in important details such as loan qualification, interest rates, down payment, monthly payment, property taxes. etc.
Now it’s time to find a top-quality real estate agent. Similar to selling your home, buying a home can be an emotional process. It’s best to work with an agent you trust. Do research in your area and find someone with a strong track record and who takes the time to understand your wants and needs.
It can be helpful to develop a list of attributes you want or need in your new home and community. Assess neighborhoods by those criteria and evaluate the amenities that interest you or that you require. This helps quickly narrow down your home search as you begin working with an agent.
As a mature adult, you are looking for different amenities in an area and in a home than someone just starting a family. In retirement, you may not be looking to purchase a “forever” home, but something more short-term. Get informed about the specific neighborhoods you’re considering and how quickly homes sell when put on the market. Ask your agent, “what is the turnover like in this area?” Choose a neighborhood with high turnover that your agent is confident will generate a quick sale should you decide to sell again.
If you’re no longer working or on a fixed income, make sure the home you buy is well within your budget. To evaluate the ongoing cost of ownership, ask your agent to estimate property taxes and utility bills. While a home may seem affordable, it is important to anticipate costs beyond the mortgage payment.
As a senior, make sure you have as much information as possible on the property so you can evaluate the potential need for repairs or renovations. What is the age of the appliances? Does the home have any active warranties? What structural improvements have been made and when? Older homes are often charming but may require more work and higher costs compared to newer properties.
Real Estate and Your Golden Years
So whether selling or buying, you want your golden years to be rich and fulfilling. If real estate will play a part in your financial and lifestyle decisions, make sure to consult with a real estate agent you trust and who has your best interests at heart.
If you’re looking to invest in real estate or considering buying or selling a home in the South San Francisco area, please reach out to our team so we can get to know you and help put the gold in your golden years.