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What to Do with Your Home When You Are Moving

Mary Ellen Vanaken

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Sep 18 4 minutes read

What to Do with Your Home When You Are Moving

Most older adults want to stay independent. However, seniors, as well as people with disabilities, may find it necessary to relocate to accomplish this feat. If you find yourself in this position, it is easy to assume that selling your current home is the only option. While putting up a “For Sale” sign can give you an injection of cash, there are other ways to utilize your property.

Do You Really Need to Move?

Age Safe America ascertains that more than eight out of 10 seniors have not prepared their homes for aging in place. Further, some homes may require costly and extensive renovations to accommodate changing mobility concerns. When these preparations exceed your budget or would take too long to complete, moving is a smart choice, particularly if you can downsize your space. This will save money and reduce the burden of maintenance.

A Quick Sale

When you choose to sell, you will need to empty the home as much as practical. If you are moving into assisted living or into a smaller space, plan to host a yard sale and rent a storage unit for the items you can’t part with just yet. A storage unit is safe and secure, and many are climate controlled, which is important if you have family heirlooms you’d like to keep away from heat and moisture. In the Alpharetta area, you can expect to spend about $117 per month to store your belongings, so you may need to make some room in your budget.


As you prepare your home for sale, partner with a realtor who can help you determine its value. Also, don’t fall victim to the belief that pricing your home low will move it any faster. Chances are that it won’t, and you will only wind up with less money in your pocket to fund your retirement. You will also want to make any needed major or minor repairs, enhance the curb appeal, and neutralize the property as you get ready to sell your home.

Rental Income to Supplement Your Budget

Sometimes, it does not make sense to flat-out sell the home where you raised your children and have lived for much of your adult life. Fortunately, renting out your house can ensure that you retain ownership, and the income you receive can offset the mortgage and, depending on your mortgage payments, will put a little extra cash in your hand at the end of each month.


To determine if this is a smart financial decision, grab a calculator. Single-family homes, townhouses, and condos in the area rent for anywhere from $1,100 to $7,000 per month or more. The inventory and average cost changes frequently, and you can check for current comparable rentals on Zillow. Look at five or six houses within a few miles of yours; these should be similar in condition and size. Subtract your monthly mortgage payment from the average to see what your potential rental income might be.

When You Can’t Let Go

When you lived in your home for many years, the idea of selling it or allowing a stranger to sleep there at night might become a nightmare. If you own a large or historic estate, you may feel much better keeping it in the family. Talk to your children, siblings, and other family members to see if anyone would like to become a caretaker and custodian of the property. This is your best bet if you plan to use your property as a legacy for your heirs.


You may, of course, have additional options depending on your ownership status. If you are not the sole owner, such as if you own a property with a sibling, you may choose to have them buy out your interest. Remember, there is no one set of rules by which you must handle your estate when you choose to move into a small home or assisted living. It is a personal decision, one that should be governed by your financial and practical needs.

Article thanks to our friend Jim Vogel at Elder Action. Images via Pinterest. 

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