Your home is probably one of your most valuable assets, especially if you’ve been there for many years. As you near retirement age, you may ask yourself, would it be better to stay in my house as long as possible or to sell it and rent once I retire? The answer will totally depend on the answers to the following questions:
Do You Need Extra Money for Living Expenses?
Once you retire, there may be new expenses like extra health insurance. Your medical costs are likely to only increase as you get older. By selling your home and renting, you would eliminate your mortgage loan costs as well as other costs associated with homeownership like property taxes and homeowner's insurance. The money you save on these could be put toward your retirement needs if you can find an affordable place to rent.
Is Your Home Worth Enough?
Before deciding to sell, make sure you know how much your home is worth today. You can speak with a real estate agent to get a ballpark figure or order an appraisal for a more exact number. An agent can also take a look at your house and tell you if any major repairs or updates need to be done to get top dollar if you sell. They will know if it is a sellers or buyers’ market and whether you’ll get enough out of your home to make selling worthwhile.
Can You Afford Rental Prices?
Before putting your house on the market, you should also do some research into your desired rental area. Are the prices less than what you are currently paying for your mortgage? Or does the proposed monthly rent fit within your new fixed income? You can check listings or hire a rental agent to help you get a feel for the market. There is also the likelihood that your rent will go up over time whereas your mortgage payment is typically fixed; you’ll need to be able to afford any increases in the future.
Can You Keep Up with Homeownership Maintenance?
As you age, it may be harder to physically keep up with the demands of homeownership maintenance. Yard work, repairs, and renovations may prove more difficult. And of course, there is the cost. Even if you hire out for home maintenance, it may be more cost effective to sell your home and rent where most maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of your landlord.
Are You Emotionally Ready to Give Up Your House and Neighborhood?
Selling your home can be a big emotional adjustment, especially if you’ve lived there for decades. It may hold a lot of good memories of raising your family or you may have neighbors that you adore. The neighborhood may be very convenient for your lifestyle, and you may be worried about trying to learn an entirely new area. Do you have community groups or a church that you would have to leave behind? Renting a smaller house may also make it harder to invite your kids and grandkids over for gatherings.
While there is no one right answer, selling your home in retirement and renting could save you some money and hassle if you are ready to embrace the change.