SENIORS - How To Decide When To Sell

SENIORS - How To Decide When To Sell

SENIORS - How To Decide When To Sell

Seven Questions To Think About Before You Decide To Sell

Housing needs change throughout our lives. At first, singles need a place to call their own. Then young families move to get more space for the kids. Later, "first generation" retirees may want less to take care of, and finally "second generation" retirees may need more support and services.

Many seniors stay in their old homes and are perfectly content to be there. Others find their thoughts turning to a new home, perhaps even to a completely new way of life. Still others remain in their familiar homes while they are independent, but plan ahead to move to assisted living housing when they need it.

Here are a few things to consider if you or older family members have reached the point where a retirement move might be the best strategy:

1. Are you over-housed?

Are you rattling around in your "empty nest," paying more than you want for taxes, utilities and maintenance? If retirement means a cut in income, would a lower-priced home, townhome or condominium be easier to manage on your resources?

2. Do you need the equity from your home?

For some older owners, the equity built up in a home is their main retirement savings. Sometimes a move is needed to convert that equity into cash and income to be secure for the years to come.

3. Is the home's upkeep manageable?

Do you have the time, energy or interest to paint, clean, mow, etc? Will the roof need replacing soon, or the heating/AC need repair?

4. Does your home style match your physical ability?

Are there too many steps or step-down rooms in your current home? Do you need a wheelchair-accessible residence? Is the yard more than you can handle? Are the safety, security, lighting, heating/AC systems adequate for retirement?

5. Have friends and neighbors moved?

If friends, relatives, neighbors, doctors and merchants have gone, maybe it's time for you to consider moving also.

6. Do you want to be closer to family?

Do you want to spend more time with your children and grandchildren? Maybe you would like to cut down on long trips to visit them, or perhaps you need regular assistance from a family member.

7. Would a move improve your lifestyle?

If extensive traveling appeals to you, for example, you may want to relocate to a more economical, lower-maintenance home ("lock and leave," as we say in real estate). You may want to be more conveniently located for activities such as golf, bridge clubs, walking trails. Or you may just want to move near old friends - or to a community where you can make new friends with interests similar to yours.

Careful planning and sound, expert advice are crucial to a successful move. Consult your financial adviser or accountant - and please call us about your real estate options. We'd be happy to listen to your needs to learn how we can help.

TAX FACTS

The Tax Relief Act of 1997 Brought Relief To Seniors Too!

Under the old law, seniors (age 55 and over) could use a once-in-a-lifetime exemption from federal taxes to shelter $125,000 of the profit from a home sale. Now, taxpayers of any age who sell their principal residence can pocket - tax-free - as much as $500,000 in profit if they file federal taxes jointly, or $250,000 if they file singly. The property must have been owned and used as their principal residence for two of the prior five years. Homeowners can shelter the profit on the sale of a home as often as once every two years.

More Good News!

Even seniors who have already exercised the over-55 one-time exemption can make full use of the provisions of the new law. No more are home-selling decisions and marriage decisions dependent upon tax law. Under the old law, if both future spouses owned residences they wanted to use the exclusion for, they needed to sell and use both exclusions before they married or they were limited to only one exclusion after the marriage. Also, if one spouse had ever taken the 55-exemption election - alone or with a former spouse - the future spouse had to use their exclusion before marrying because no exemptions were available afterward.

How We Can Help, Locally or Nationally

Whether it's been one year or many since you bought or sold a home, we specialize in listening to your concerns, answering your questions and explaining how todays ever changing real estate market can affect your lifestyle and financial planning.

For home buying or home selling assistance, in our area or elsewhere, please call. We're experts in local real estate, and through a nationwide network of relocation specialists, we can refer you to top quality real estate professionals in other locations.

Please call Mark Rieger, 541-480-7441. I'm here to help you when you need it.