Five Ways to Tell if Your Family Home is No Longer Suitable for Your Needs

Five Ways to Tell if Your Family Home is No Longer Suitable for Your Needs

Over time our housing needs change. When you originally bought your home, likely decades ago the kids were young or perhaps not even born yet. You needed a home to raise your family. Things like a yard, schools, quiet street may have been very important to you at the time. But now it’s years later. The kids have moved out and are raising their own families. You’ve retired. Life is different.

This is natural, it happens to most people. As our life changes so changes our housing needs. I see many seniors still living in the family home because for emotional reasons they are unwilling to move. They have memories they don’t want to give up. They are comfortable in their home. Unfortunately in many cases I can see those houses are no longer practical.

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Here is a list of five questions to ask to see if current home is still the best choice for your situation.

  1. Do you only use a portion of the home? If you have a 3-4 bedroom 2 story house but really only use the living room, kitchen, bathroom & master bedroom, then you have more space than you need. The other bedrooms, dining room and rec room, workshop and garage are rarely used or likely used for storage of “stuff”. Ask yourself if you really need all that space? Many times the other rooms are used to store possessions that we no longer need or use.
  • Do you have difficulty maintaining the house and property? If shoveling snow, mowing lawns, vacuuming, cleaning and other regular maintenance items are becoming too difficult, these are indicators you should be looking at other housing options. What about larger maintenance items like roofs, windows, furnaces, flooring, kitchens & bathrooms etc. These items need to be replaced or updated periodically. If they aren’t done the value of your house will drop in comparison to the homes in your area that have been updated. Do you find it difficult financially to keep the house maintained and updated?
  • Do you find yourself isolated during the winter? Many seniors find it difficult to get out and about when the ground is covered with ice and snow. I have spoken to seniors who haven’t been out in several weeks. Not only does this make it difficult to buy groceries, pay bills, go to medical appointments but it can cause social isolation. I had one client who moved to a downtown apartment when her house sold. She was close to the things that she enjoyed like Neptune Theater, Centennial Pool, stores and family. Plus no mater how bad the weather was she could always go for walk by using the pedways that connected her building with Scotia Square and other buildings.
  • Are you struggling financially each month but yet have significant equity built up in your home? I have had clients tell me they are forced to live on a tight budget based on the pensions they are receiving. If you are in this situation, how would it change your life if the cost of maintaining a home was eliminated and you had $200,000, $300,000, $400,000 or more in cash in your bank account?
  • Are your family, friends and necessary amenities close by? If your children live in different areas, your friends have moved away and important necessities like doctors, hospitals, shopping and banks are not close by perhaps another area would now be better suited for your needs. And what would happen if you were no longer able to drive? I have had clients be forced to sell suddenly as a result of losing their drivers license.

Obviously you have every right to stay in your house as long as you are willing and able to. But when I see a lot of people living in homes that no longer are practical, I felt it would be beneficial to write this article and hopefully some people will give their own situation a second look. Ask yourself these questions and be honest with the answers. Don’t be surprised if you discover that your situation or lifestyle could be improved by making a change.

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smroy Five Ways to Tell if Your Family Home is No Longer Suitable for Your NeedsRoy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991 Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. If you are contemplating a move and would like a complimentary copy of Roy’s guide to downsizing entitled “Preparing to Downsize” please click here.