Housing is one of the biggest costs that anyone can face today, however, for retirees that are on a fixed income, it’s an area of their budget that needs to be controlled. Whether you’re already retired, or are planning for retirement, the tips below will help you reduce your housing costs in retirement.
Consider getting a reverse mortgage
If you’re age 62 or higher or approaching that age, you might benefit from taking out a reverse mortgage on your home. Unlike a mortgage where the bank lends funds for the homeowner to purchase a home, a reverse mortgage allows homeowners to borrow against their home’s value. Rather than the homeowner making payments to the bank, they receive funds from the bank instead, either as a line of credit, fixed monthly payment, or a lump sum.
Homeowners aren’t required to begin repaying their loan while they are living in their home. Rather, reverse mortgages are most commonly repaid when the home is sold and the proceeds cover the cost of the loan in full. Keep in mind that reverse mortgages charge interest. If the loan is issued as a lump sum, then it’s subject to a fixed interest rate. Otherwise the reverse mortgage will have a variable interest rate.
While reverse mortgages aren’t for everyone, when looking to reduce housing costs while in retirement, it’s worth considering all the options you have. A licensed financial professional and real estate agent can help provide guidance on determining if a reverse mortgage is best for yourself.
Downsize your living space
With the housing market currently operating at record highs, 2022 is a great time to sell your home in St. Petersburg, Florida and move to a smaller property that costs less to maintain. Although selling a home is one of the most complicated tasks that anyone can take on, you can simplify the home selling process by hiring a real estate agent to handle the entire process.
The most effective real estate agents are ones who communicate effectively, are prompt to answer questions, negotiate with skill and wisdom, and are well versed in updated legal documents, and are tech savvy and keeps up with the latest marketing best practices.
To determine which agents have these qualities, you can use the following questions when interviewing a real estate agent:
- How long have you been in business and how many properties have you sold in the past year?
- How much above or below market do you typically sell homes for?
- What is your commission?
- Can you provide me with client references?
- Will I be working with you directly or someone from your team throughout the home sale process?
In most cases, you can get a feel for if an agent is a good fit by checking public records and data on their performance and sales, and then combining that with a 15-30 minute interview. The great thing about real estate agents is that they work on commission so you don’t need to pay upfront costs, and the agent’s compensation depends on your success.