Senior Living - Should you hang onto your parent's home after a move to senior care? - article by Kristen Hicks

Dated: 08/27/2019

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After the family has had several discussions about your parent's increasing need for care and have determined that assisted living or a long term care home is the best choice, decisions have to be made on whether or not to hang onto the house or sell after the move to senior care. 

A) Good reasons to keep the house after a move to senior care

1. Keep it as a real estate investment. Selling could mean losing more money than you would gain by hanging onto the house for a while longer. If the area of the home has a real estate market in an upward trajectory, keeping the house could be a smart financial decision. Consider renting it out until you find the right time to sell. 

2. Someone wants to live there. If children or grandchildren want to inherit the house, consider not selling it. Your parent will know that the house is still being loved by someone within the family. If more immediate, someone's already in place to maintain it. 

3. There's a plan for a better use when family members continue to own. It's a central location for out of town family members to stay and meet especially for holidays. 

IF YOU DECIDE TO KEEP IT:

- Ongoing costs. Even though the home is paid off, ongoing fixes, bills and insurance still occur.

- Financial detail. Getting family agreeance on managing the ongoing bills and/or managing profits should it be rented. 

- Who is entitled to live there. Family agreenance on who ultimately gets to live there, whether family member or 3rd party renter. If the home is left empty, responsibility to check and maintain the home, falls on family members. 

- Ongoing maintenance. Keeping the house in good condition becomes a task especially if no one is living in it, and it becomes a second home to take care of. 

B) Reasons to sell the house after the parent(s) move to senior care

1. Keeping would cost too much or is too much to take care of. Ongoing costs, ongoing maintenance, Homes are meant to have people living in it. If no one does, the upkeep has to fall on someone. 

2. Nobody in the family lives close to it. Especially if the parent is going to a senior's home that may not even be in the same city as the house itself, in order that they are still in close range to other family. 

3. You want or need the money from the house sale to pay for the senior care. Private assisted living is quite expensive to pay for. In addition there may be no capital gains tax on the sale of the home. (seek expert advice on taxes). 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER IF YOU SELL THE HOUSE:

1. The condition of the home. Consider the fixes and upgrades to an older home that your parent may not have kept up. Or be willing to make less on the sale in an "as is" condition. 

2. Local real estate market. Find out what the home would be worth now, and general market of the area. 

3. The work of selling. The house clean out, upgrades, paperwork. Who would take the process on out of the family members. 

4. Your parent's readiness to sell. The home still belongs to mom or dad. They may need time to give up their home mentally, which is where renting out could help the process. Often there just is no choice in the matter. 

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Dori Mueller

I have always been involved in the service of helping people. I've worked in the wedding business, planned corporate events, planned personal events, school events, joined our daugher's school council....

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