With interest rates low and home prices high, this is the ideal time to downsize, if you have been considering selling your current home. Interest rates for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage are hovering around 4%. This is causing home prices to rise. Because these low interest are not expected to last very long, many buyers a scrambling to purchase their next home.
It is a seller’s marketplace and for those wishing to downsize it is a good time to gather information and start planning. A big advantage to selling now lies in the amount of money you will save by shifting courses to a smaller home. If you could save $150,000 with the sale of your bigger home by buying a cheaper one, why wouldn’t you want to do so? If you invested that $150,000 by selling when in your late 60’s as opposed to your late 70’s or 80’s, you could double maybe even triple the amount you save by diversifying it elsewhere. By downsizing, you will also save on maintenance and monthly utility costs.
Another option to consider is a “reverse mortgage”. A reverse mortgage is a home loan that provides cash payments to the owner based on the homes equity. Homeowners defer payment of the loan until they die, sell, or move out of the home. Upon the death of homeowners, their heirs either give up ownership to the home or must refinance the home to purchase the title from the reverse mortgage company. This type of loan can be a good thing, if you have lots of equity, but it also has its drawbacks and should be well thought out before securing this type of mortgage.
Another route for homeowners that wish to remain in their larger homes is to go with refinancing at a lower rate. If you have an ARM, you may want to go with a fixed rate now that rates are lower. This will lower the monthly mortgage payment.
More commonly, homeowners that want to downsize and move to a new community, find that places with large concentrations of elderly citizens are more amiable than others are. For instance, homes in Southern California appeal to seniors moving from colder climates. A study conducted by AARP estimates that 25.5 million seniors ages 50 and older still have a mortgage when they reach retirement age 65+. However, having a smaller monthly payment will definitely add money to the coffers.
Yet another option once you have made the decision to downsize is to consider “retirement communities”. Senior friendly neighborhoods, mobile home parks, apartments, condominiums, and other facilities that have a 50+ regulation are increasing in popularity. They offer many activities and really foster a strong sense of community. It is a great option for those wishing to still be active. Many offer golf courses, pools, and other amenities.
Whether you decide to downsize or just want to get a fair market value on your home, always rely on a professional that is trustworthy and knowledgeable. There are many con’s directed toward seniors, therefore it is essential that you only deal with reputable companies. Keep in mind that it is always okay to ask for references and check them out. You worked hard for your money and retirement and it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.