Many seniors are looking for Marin homes that are easier for living: usually single level, smaller, and with less upkeep. They may be moving to be closer to family and convenient to shopping and services. It’s important to understand the challenges seniors may have in buying their next home.
Selling your current home
It’s important that seniors have qualified help in selling their homes, preferably from a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). Madeline Schaider Real Estate has two SRES-trained specialists, Beat and Alan, to serve you.
It’s also important that you fully understand the value of your home. If you are downsizing, you likely purchased your last home 30-40 years ago when prices and pricing considerations were much different.
“Having lived in your home for many years, it is natural to be unsure of its current value. However, lack of knowledge about current prices could cause you to accept much less for your home than it is worth. You also might wait too long to accept a fair offer under the mistaken belief that a higher one may be around the corner,” Barbara Bean-Mellinger in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Madeline Schaider can give you many examples how we get the best price for Seniors, with the lowest effort for you.
Finding your next home
Most seniors have special needs in a home. These can include absence of stairs, convenience for shopping and medical services, and low maintenance. Marin County has a limited number of homes acceptable for our senior clients, but we have always succeeded in finding just the right one.
Finding proper financing for your new home
Some seniors owe very little or nothing on their current mortgage. When downsizing to a smaller home, they can often use the proceeds from their current home sale to finance their new home; possibly even pay it off completely. Buying a home outright with cash is probably the best bet.
Some Senior home buyers may have difficulty obtaining a traditional mortgage on a new home. Some may have poor credit. Others may not have enough steady income to qualify for a standard home loan. If you don’t have enough monthly income through retirement, social security, investments, and other sources, you can consider purchasing your new home with a reverse mortgage.
In 2009, the Federal Housing Administration introduced a new product called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase, or HECM, which allows older Americans to buy a new home by putting a reverse mortgage on it. This is option has become much easier and attractive. We can put you in touch with qualified, trustworthy experts to explain this option.
Making your move easier
Moving is challenging for people of all ages, but for seniors it may seem overwhelming. Packing up and reducing your possessions can be difficult. That’s why it’s very important to ask for and accept as much help as possible. Ask your family to help you pack and decide what goes with you in the move. They are the best people to help you make these tough determinations.
If your family is not available to help, we can provide excellent, honest, and reliable resources. They can help you decide what goes with you, to family, or to others that may enjoy your possessions—through sale or charity.
For the move to your next home, hire professional movers. Trying to do it yourself is nearly impossible, so a moving fee is well worth it. Again, we can help with reliable resources; some are on our web site at Livinginmarin.com and others we can recommend meeting your specific needs.
Alternatives to moving
Ultimately, moving or staying in your home is your choice. Knowing that you will face some challenges is no reason to put off a big move. For many seniors, moving is the best way to maintain your living independence as you age. Many of our clients have found that “downsizing” to a new home provides a refreshing, new life.
If you decide that the best option is staying in your home, we can help you. We have guided our clients to resources that allow them to stay where they are: reverse mortgages, stair lifts, home help for everyday tasks and organizing, gardeners, and more. Contact Madeline (415-515-9357) for a phone or home consultation.
Thanks to Jim Vogel of ElderAction.org for suggesting this blog.