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Retirement: Staying in a Family Home vs. Finding a Rental

May 20, 2023

Real Estate Tips

Retirement: Staying in a Family Home vs. Finding a Rental

When it comes to aging in place, many folks, if given a choice, would remain in their family home as long as possible - but what if that empty nest is simply too big, or requires too much maintenance, or is just too costly?

According to Eric Kearney, an investment advisor for Retirement Wealth, sometimes renting a house or apartment is the better bet both financially and in terms of a retiree's changing lifestyle and health.

As you get older, Kearney says, you also begin to think about such issues as whether you can keep mowing the lawn or handling other day-to-day chores that homeownership requires. If you must hire someone to do them for you, how much will that eat into (what may already be) a tight monthly budget?

The truth is, there's no answer that will fit everyone's situation, he says, so retirees, or those approaching retirement, should weigh their personal pros and cons.

Some things Kearney says retirees should think about as they ponder the own versus rent question include:

Maintenance Issues - When you own a home, every leaky faucet, electrical problem or faulty appliance is yours to handle as best you can. If you can do it yourself, great - but often, these household repairs mean calling in a professional at a sometimes exorbitant cost. When you rent, it's up to the landlord or the property management company to take care of the repairs.

Mobility - Breaking a lease can sometimes be the simpler solution. "If your children are scattered all over the country, you may want to move closer to one of them," Kearney says. "Also, if your health takes a turn for the worse, selling a home can be a significant burden on your family."

The Inheritance - For many people, a house is the most valuable asset in their estate, and they might want to leave it to their children in the will. Once again, it's a matter of weighing the pros and cons - Kearney believes that retaining one's home to pass down to the children is a noble gesture, but it is not always feasible.

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