Making Your Home Work for You While Transitioning

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Real Estate

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By: Andrea Needham

Making the move to assisted living is one of the most emotionally charged milestones in our lives. Add to that the pressure of what to do with your home and you have the makings of an extremely stressful situation. Fortunately, you do have choices. There are several options for your home when you decide assisted living will work better for you. The goal is finding which one will benefit you the most. Compare all the benefits, not just the financial aspects to truly determine your best option.

Selling Your Home

Selling your home is a top option for many seniors. This is especially useful to those who need a large sum of money. In cases where medical bills are piling up and assisted living costs are more than your savings, this is a perfect option. As HomeAdvisor explains, selling your home requires a handful of steps, and it begins with touching base with a real estate agent. These professionals can provide an impartial view of what you should expect from your home and the current market. In the meantime, you can handle some basic preparations, like decluttering, depersonalizing, and making repairs. Cleaning the gutters, pressure washing the exterior, and sprucing up your landscaping goes a long way in raising your home's value. Showing your home to prospective buyers means you have work to do on the inside too. It must be completely depersonalized so buyers can picture their own lives taking place inside. A good place to start is by removing wallpaper, no matter how new it is, and painting in a neutral color. Remove or clean all carpeting. Make sure to repair every little thing. Buyers notice every discrepancy.

Renting Your Home

Many seniors rent out their homes and use the money to pay for assisted living. They may plan to leave the home to their children later, or donate it to charity when they die. This can involve other kinds of preparations. Renting out your home typically requires removing your personal items, and making repairs before it can be rented. Once rented, you will be responsible for upkeep and maintenance. Be sure to ask for enough rent to cover the bills you need to pay as well as sock back some for inevitable home repairs. If you plan to move far from your home, you should have someone close by who you trust to collect rent and keep an eye on the place. Depending on your circumstances, hiring a property manager might be your best bet, and should be weighed into your budget accordingly.

Start a B&B

If you are fortunate enough to have a lovely home in a great part of town, you can start a bed and breakfast. Much like a hotel, people visit your home for a limited stay. B&B's give a homier environment with home-cooked meals and a social hour. Starting a B&B would give you a steady income but not without considerable investment first. If you do not have the capital to invest then this is not a good idea. Starting a business with limited capital while trying to relocate to assisted living will put a serious kink in your financial situation. However, in a tourist-oriented area, it could be an ideal solution. Keep in mind that to open a Bed and Breakfast, you are required to either live onsite or have a permanent resident -- an innkeeper. This is an additional expense that you’ll have to consider. Honolulu also has rules and regulations regarding short-term vacation rentals, so get acquainted with these before you make a decision.

Family Custodian

A final choice is to entrust your home to a family member. If money is not an issue you can leave your home under the watchful eye of a child or relative. Knowing a loved one is inhabiting your home can give you great peace of mind. It can also save your home from deteriorating or being vandalized. However, there can be pretty complicated tax implications, so it’s important to touch base with an estate law attorney if you’re interested in this option. Whatever you decide to do with your home, it should be something that benefits you financially. We all want to live out our golden years in comfort. Cashing in on your life's biggest expense can be the perfect way to do it.