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Using Your House to Fund Your Retirement

by Cove Real Estate 03/11/2019

For many homeowners, your most significant financial asset is the home in which you live. Most assume, like previous generations, that their home will play a large part in their retirement plan. What part? That depends. You could sell your home, move into something smaller and use the excess to fund your retirement plans. If your home is paid off, you might plan to live in it until you die. Even if you don't have a plan, everyone has told you that buying a home is a great investment, so it should work out. Right? Not every home is the best bet for your retirement plans. Read to find out how your property stacks up.

Asset or Liability?

Most people think of their home as an asset. It certainly can be, but if you’re planning on selling it to fund your retirement, keep in mind you’ll need somewhere else to live. If you have a free option, like staying with your kids, that’s great! 100% asset. If you’re going to re-invest a portion of it into a new smaller home, then its maybe 50% asset and 50% liability. That number varies depending on just how much you plan to spend, and realistically how much the market will bear. 

Equity vs. Home Value

Contrary to popular belief, your investment equity isn’t always the same as the home value. If you share ownership with the bank, your actual investment is the home's current market value less what you owe your lender. With the additional fees and taxes, your take away could be substantially less than you thought. This can hurt you when the market no longer supports your previous home value. If your mortgage is higher than you can sell for, you'll end up just losing money.

Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages often are advertised as a way to stay in your house and still have an income during your retirement years. However, much of the time you don't actually receive the entire equity of your home. Lastly, since you're essentially selling your home to your lender, you're giving up ownership of your home. That means your estate and heirs will either have to pay off the mortgage or give up the house. It's always wise to make sure your children or heirs understand that your home is no longer part of their inheritance. 

Location

If this is your forever home, location is the prime feature to consider. This is a double-edged sword though. Leave it too late, and you won’t be able to pay off the property in time for retirement, buy it too early, and your needs could change. The younger generations are prime for moving to new cities and even states, so even if they live nearby now, that could quickly change. You should consider how your body will react to severe or inclement weather (and your ability to handle the maintenance) as you get older. You could end up needing to make a last minute sale. If you can afford an investment property, an alternative is to get a vacation home in the area you want to retire. That way, you can sell your current home for the income and move into your paid-off vacation property in your retirement location. 

Ask your Realtor about the right homes for both your needs right now and those in the future.

About the Author

Author
Cove Real Estate
Hi, We're Cove Real Estate and we'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having real estate professionals by your side. We'd be honored to put our real estate experience to work for you.