What’s Best in Retirement: Owning or Renting?

To transfer the deed or keep the deed? That is the question. And it tends to come up when retirement age approaches.

This phase of life often involves downsizing — to lower the household tax, insurance, and maintenance costs.

Paying off the home mortgage can net longtime owners enough to unlock some great options. Rent a nice space at a 55+ apartment property? Downsize? Explore life-plan properties? Or just stay home?

Let’s sort out some basic issues and questions related to each of these alternatives. 

Continue reading “What’s Best in Retirement: Owning or Renting?”

Locked Out: Less Than 5% of U.S. Housing Is Accessible to Older, Disabled Residents

Tens of millions of U.S. residents have a problem. There aren’t enough homes for the elderly and disabled population. One in four of us — more than 60 million people — have a disability. And our older adult population is rapidly growing.

As a general matter, the United States needs something between 3 million and 6 million homes, according to Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, who sits on the Senate’s aging committee. Bob Casey, the U.S. Senator and former governor of Pennsylvania, notes how disabled home seekers are doubly disadvantaged in this market. They need homes they can afford and homes they can navigate safely, despite their disabilities.

Casey, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Aging, recently proposed a federal bill. It would require the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program to fund homes with accessibility features.

Will Casey’s proposal get support? Will other laws be proposed? We’ll have to see. We’re certainly expecting a heightened interest in this issue nationwide.

Continue reading “Locked Out: Less Than 5% of U.S. Housing Is Accessible to Older, Disabled Residents”

Property Tax Breaks for Older Homeowners (New Changes for NJ, PA, and MD Seniors)

For some seniors and people with disabilities, property taxes can feel like the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back.

On the other hand, local governments need funding. They tax their residents to fund resources like emergency response departments, schools, and libraries.

How much will you owe in property taxes? It depends on what your state and local governments decide. If you’re a senior or have a disability, most states offer reductions. To offset the pain of inflation, some states have raised income thresholds this year, making tax breaks available to more seniors.

Read on, as we look at some highlights. We start with New Jersey, which taxes its homeowners more than any other state in the nation.

Continue reading “Property Tax Breaks for Older Homeowners (New Changes for NJ, PA, and MD Seniors)”

How Middle-Income Earners Considering Retirement Housing Get “Trapped in a Gap”

It’s a great time to sell a home at a profit, but…not the easiest time to downsize. Across the United States, attractively priced homes are hard to find.

And opting for a retirement community keeps getting pricier, too. As an article in Forbes recently put it, “There just doesn’t seem to be anything affordable for middle-income seniors.”

How can these older adults navigate their possible futures? Some are downsizing creatively. And some are finding ways to house themselves in mutually beneficial arrangements. Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “How Middle-Income Earners Considering Retirement Housing Get “Trapped in a Gap””

Warning: When Not to Sign Over Your Deed

Transferring the deed to your home is a simple matter. Generally, you just have to find the current deed to your home, then get the right deed form to write up your new deed to convey to another party, and take the document to a notary. Then your signature can be notarized and the deed can be filed.

But it’s best not to rush in. Some homeowners later regret signing over their deeds.

Let’s look at reasons not to transfer deeds too quickly — and how best to proceed when you do.

Continue reading “Warning: When Not to Sign Over Your Deed”

Welcome News: Some States Are Helping Seniors Defer Their Property Taxes

Taxes keep going up, following property values. But some homeowners — and buyers — can tap into county or state property tax breaks.

Some states exempt seniors from property tax. Some states let eligible homeowners put off paying property taxes — in many areas, for as long as they own the home. An exemption doesn’t have to be paid back. A tax deferral does.

Plans are being expanded in some locations, so it’s always worth it to check in with your government’s revenue department if you think you might be eligible.

Continue reading “Welcome News: Some States Are Helping Seniors Defer Their Property Taxes”

Heirs, Protect the Seniors in Your Life From Deed Theft

A 91-year-old Floridian recently sent a payment to his insurer. Then the agent called to say the company wouldn’t be able to renew the homeowner’s policy. The deed had been transferred. The home was now legally owned by another person.

Some days later, from his bedroom, this shocked and disoriented senior heard three people come into the home. It seems the perpetrator was trying to sell the house. Fort Lauderdale police are investigating.

The swindled senior paid off the mortgage 15 years ago. Maybe that’s part of the issue. If there were a mortgage lien on the home, the mortgage company would have been alerted to the transfer. Plenty of elders live in homes with paid-off mortgages in Florida, and plenty of fraudulent schemes are targeting their increasingly valuable homes.

Continue reading “Heirs, Protect the Seniors in Your Life From Deed Theft”

Living at Home as an Older Adult? Caring for Someone Older? Home Tech Can Help

On October 1st, Tesla revealed a model of its Tesla humanoid robot, Optimus. Some viewers think it might have retail potential, as a robotic home assistant. Tesla seems serious about the project. The company even sidelined the creation of an affordable ($25K) electric car to focus its expertise on robot technology. But Optimus is still years away from viability, and the predicted cost of the Tesla robot is about $20K.

For that much, some senior homeowners could pay off their remaining mortgage debt. In any case, they could certainly buy quite a few of the tech options discussed below.  These items focus on assisting with tasks and chores, safety and security, and all-around ease for homeowners “getting up there” in years.

Continue reading “Living at Home as an Older Adult? Caring for Someone Older? Home Tech Can Help”

What Today’s Senior Home Buyers Should Know

“What Are My Options?”

Retirees and seniors are active in the U.S. real estate market — and everything else! Turning 65 once meant retiring on a pension. Today, for many, it means financial independence, self-actualization, and enjoying life for a few more decades.

How does this impact an older adult’s real estate plans? Is it better to rent or buy? And if buying is better, what type of home makes sense?

Continue reading “What Today’s Senior Home Buyers Should Know”