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The Right Time: When Should Seniors Sell Their Home?

It’s the age old question: when should seniors sell their home? Moving from a long time home is traumatic at any age, but especially for seniors who have lived in their home for many years. I recently helped a couple move into an assisted living facility that had lived in their home for almost 60 years! Most definitely, the move was very emotional.

In terms of financial qualifications, assisted living facilities (ALF’S) are looking for two to three years of liquid funds to pay for the monthly rental of the apartment.  Obviously, every facility is different, but a very general assessment is that an individually would need approximately $200,000 in liquid funds to move into an assisted living. If you had $200,000 in savings in addition to any monthly social security and pension, you would not need to sell the house before moving to an ALF. If you needed the funds to pay for the monthly rental because you did not have the savings available, then yes, you would need to sell your home.

Of course, if you decide not sell your house upon admittance to an ALF, it becomes a little more complicated. You have to deal with maintenance, repairs, insurances and taxes on the property. And as an ALF resident, it may be hard to keep up with those demands. Realistically, you may need to hire someone to oversee the day-to-day management or entrust a family member.

Seniors Sell Their Home

Traditionally, the real estate market peaks in the spring. Very often, however, one does not have the luxury of planning a move to an ALF if the move is precipitated by a fall or an illness. The best strategy is to talk with a real estate professional sooner rather than later. This way you can obtain a realistic selling price of your home as well as an estimate on how quickly the house will sell on today’s market.

Clearly, moving to an ALF paves the way for a new lifestyle – and new opportunities. Living alone versus the socialization available in an ALF should also play role in your decision.  For many seniors, it is a relief to move away from the responsibilities of home ownership.

Keep in mind it is never too early to begin talking about making a move. When  seniors sell their homes they need to be prepared. Psychologically, it takes time to adjust – for both the senior and the family. It is not an easy process, but when handled correctly, making the transition to an independent or assisted living facility can be a very positive next step.

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