For many retirees, retirement means selling their home and moving to a condo in a warmer climate. For others, retirement is only a chance to turn their homes into a family hub. There’s no obligation to sell your home in retirement, particularly since it’s probably your largest and most valuable investment. So how can you decide when and if to sell your home? Here are five clues it might be time to consider selling.
Home Values (and Property Taxes) Are Skyrocketing
When home values soar in your neighborhood, it means your house might be worth more than you ever imagined. Unfortunately, skyrocketing home values typically also mean much higher property taxes. If you’re not wedded to keeping your home and property taxes are wreaking havoc on your bank account, consider selling now, while home values are high. Particularly if your neighborhood is becoming a trendy spot, you might be ale to sell your home for double, or even triple, its original price.
You Can’t Afford Home Maintenance
If your home is in disrepair or in need of major updates, and you can’t afford to fund them, think about selling now. Allowing your home to fall into further disrepair can cause its value to plummet, and perhaps even leave you upside down on your mortgage—if you still have one. Stretching to fund a few home repairs is par for the course of home ownership, even in retirement, but if you truly cannot afford even the simplest repairs, you need to downsize before things get worse.
You No Longer Use Your Home
It’s easy to dig in your heels and refuse to leave your home for sentimental reasons. Maybe your children have cranked up the pressure, too, guilting you about how much they’ll miss your house if you sell. But if your house is larger than you need, it’s time to consider selling. You may also want to consider how health issues may complicate your ability to use your home. If you have a mobility impairment or degenerative condition, a two-story home might not just be a needless expense, but an unsafe one.
Your Investment Isn’t Much of an Investment
Popular wisdom suggests that a home is always a wise investment, and it’s true that your home is likely your largest asset. If your home costs you an arm and a leg, though, and you know you don’t need the space, there’s no need to cling to it. Of course, before you give up on your investment, you should consider some other options. If you own your home and are over the age of 62, a reverse mortgage taps into your home’s equity to give you tax-free cash. You don’t have to repay the money as long as you remain in your home, so consider this option first if a sudden expense or cash shortfall has left you considering selling.
Your Dreams Mean Going Somewhere Else
When you’ve worked hard your entire life, it’s not foolish or selfish to allow your emotions to control some decisions. If you have dreams of starting a vineyard, moving to the coast, or living more simply, embrace those goals. If selling your house makes them possible, then it’s time to sell. Life is hard, and a career is long. You deserve a chance to enjoy your hard work.