Keeping the Family Home: An Emotional Journey

September 12, 2013 · Print This Article

You’ve got a lot of memories tied up in your home. The birth of your children, the rooms where your kids once slept, and a living area that everyone still congregates in. Home is definitely where the heart is, and many seniors have to look at downsizing that home once they reach retirement for financial reasons.

Angus and Louise M. raised seven kids in a small farm community on the outskirts of Ottawa. When they started approaching their retirement years, they went to the bank for a second mortgage to ease some of their debt load and were told they did not qualify, which would have automatically forced them to sell their much-loved home. Once they signed up with the CHIP Home Income plan for a reverse mortgage, they retired their $85,000 primary mortgage and $3,000 in credit card debt. Now, they get to stay in their family home and not have to worry about monthly payments during retirement.

Sweat Equity Another Reason to Stay
Besides the obvious emotional attachments to the family home, there’s the fact that you’ve often completed renovations and decorated it so it looks just the way you want it. While these renovations definitely increase the value of your home, do you really want to pick up and move somewhere where you’ll have to go through that process again, especially with limited funds in retirement? If you’ve spent years getting it just right, there’s no need to start over.

Moving Costs Money and Time
Gone are the days of having a bunch of friends over for beer and pizza to help you move. If you have a large home and are downsizing, you have to hire movers, sell or give away the stuff you won’t have room for, spend time packing and unpacking, and so on. If you do choose to move, do not go for the cheapest possible option in picking a mover. Go for the one recommended by family and friends, and look for favourable or negative reviews online before committing to a particular mover, particularly if you’re going to be moving to another city.

Room to Entertain and Have Guests
In Angus and Louise M’s case study, we see a family home that would be large enough to host holidays and other celebrations. If you downsize, you may not have the opportunity to host the kind of events that you want to for the entire family. Downsizing to a smaller house or apartment just won’t give you the room you need for family events.

It’s Easy to Make Your Home Retirement-Ready
There are many things you can do to make your current home ready for your golden years, including moving laundry machines to the main level of your house and putting funds aside for home care should it become necessary. You may even be able to skip what is often seen as the necessary step of moving to a retirement home in your later senior years if you set up your house properly and plan for it, which can save you thousands of dollars per month in your later senior years.

In the end, staying in the family home is something almost every senior wants to do, unless they want to move to another city to be close to grandchildren or make a vacation property their full-time residence. A reverse mortgage can help you stay in the family home painlessly and without the monthly repayments required from a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a second mortgage. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you stay put, just like Angus and Louise M.