Written By: Rhonda Underhill
Do you have an answer for the question above? If not, then you may be putting yourself at risk for more stress and headache if and when the need for assisted living arises. Even if you are not a senior, you never know whether an aging parent or family member may need your help figuring out how to handle their homes. Whether you are getting close to retirement or plan on caring for a senior loved one, here are some tools and facts that can ease this decision.
Selling a Home Can Help Pay for Assisted Living
The high cost of assisted living is one of the reasons many senior homeowners decide to sell their homes. Before you make this decision for yourself or your senior parent, it’s important to understand the home’s current value before making such an irreversible decision. An online home value estimator can provide a general idea of what your home is worth, and you can see comparable sale prices of other homes as well. While this is a great tool to get you started, you should confirm this estimate with your realtor as well. Since the profits you will see from the sale of your home can depend on other real estate factors, like recent home sales and available properties, it’s also essential to use a home sale calculator to better estimate the proceeds that you can expect.
Renting a Home Can Help Provide a Steady Income
Converting your property into a profitable rental home can take some work, but with the right steps you could end up with enough to pay for assisted living and possibly even pad your retirement savings. You will want to start by taking care of any repairs or updates needed to attract reliable tenants. A property management company can make figuring out which repairs to focus on first less of a hassle, plus a property manager can take the stress out of marketing your rental, collecting rent, and other essential landlord responsibilities. Without a property manager, you or your senior loved one will need to take care of these tasks on your own, which can add additional stress when you’re also preparing to transition to assisted living.
Gifting a Home Can Help Avoid Medicaid Penalties
If you are depending on Medicaid assistance to help with care expenses, then you need to be extra careful about how you protect your home. Working with a knowledgeable estate attorney will be your best bet for not incurring Medicaid penalties, but another option is to transfer ownership of the home to a qualifying family member. When a home is gifted to a spouse, a child who is under the age of 21, a caretaker, or a sibling who lives in the home, the senior homeowners may be able to avoid real estate transfer Medicaid penalties. If you are not looking for Medicaid help with long-term care or health costs, you may still want to keep your home in the family. Just be aware of the potential tax ramifications of gifting real estate to loved ones.
Moving Belongings Can Be Stressful for Seniors
Once you decide what to do with the home, you can start planning for the move to assisted living. Hiring a moving company can be a great way for seniors and family caregivers to save stress during such a big move, so be sure to research professional moving companies in your area. Get quotes from each company and compare rates, so you can find the right moving company for your budget. If you aren’t sure if you will have room for all of your stuff in your new home, you should also consider renting a storage unit. While this may be an added expense, having extra room to store seasonal décor, sporting goods, and other items can keep your new home from getting cluttered, and keep you from getting stressed out during this new chapter.
Transitioning into assisted living can already be a tough process, don’t make it any tougher by stressing about what to do with the current home. Use the tools and resources above to make the decision easier and to make planning for the move to assisted living less of a headache.