The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning | Simplifying The Market

The Importance of Home Equity in Retirement Planning

We often discuss the difference in family wealth between homeowner households and renter households. Much of that difference is the result of the equity buildup that homeowners experience over the time that they own their home. In a report recently released by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), they reveal how valuable equity can be in retirement planning. (more…)

5 Tech Questions that Seniors Should Ask When Interviewing a Real Estate Agent

Senior-Couple-SunSet

We are pleased to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger for today’s post. Nikki has extensive experience working with seniors and is the Founder & CEO of the Senior Real Estate Institute. Enjoy! 

If you have not bought or sold a home in a few years (or maybe decades) it is likely that there are more than a few new trends in real estate that you will encounter as you begin to interview real estate agents.

(more…)

Baby Boomers: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Baby Boomers Find Freedom in Housing | Simplifying The Market

Within the next five years, Baby Boomers are projected to have the largest household growth of any other generation during that same time period, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard. Let’s take a look at why…

In Merrill Lynch’s latest study, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices” they surveyed nearly 6,000 adults ages 21 and older about housing.

Crossing the “Freedom Threshold”

Throughout our lives, there are often responsibilities that dictate where we live. Whether being in the best school district for our children, being close to our jobs, or some other factor is preventing a move, the study found that there is a substantial shift that takes place at age 61.

The study refers to this change as “Crossing the Freedom Threshold”. When where you live is no longer determined by responsibilities, but rather a freedom to live wherever you like. (see the chart below)

Crossing The Freedom Threshold | Simplifying The Market

As one participant in the study stated:

“In retirement, you have the chance to live anywhere you want. Or you can just stay where you are. There hasn’t been another time in life when we’ve had that kind of freedom.” 

On the Move

According to the study, “an estimated 4.2 million retirees moved into a new home last year alone.” Two-thirds of retirees say that they are likely to move at least once during retirement.

The top reason to relocate cited was “wanting to be closer to family” at 29%, a close second was “wanting to reduce home expenses”. See the chart below for the top 6 reasons broken down.

Reasons For Moving In Retirement | Simplifying The Market

Not Every Baby Boomer Downsizes

There is a common misconception that as retirees find themselves with less children at home that they will instantly desire a smaller home to maintain. While that may be the case for half of those surveyed, the study found that three in ten decide to actually upsize to a larger home.

Some choose to buy a home in a desirable destination with extra space for large family vacations, reunions, extended visits, or to allow other family members to move in with them.

“Retirees often find their homes become places for family to come together and reconnect, particularly during holidays or summer vacations.”

Bottom Line

If your housing needs have changed or are about to change, meet with a local real estate professional in your area who can help with deciding your next step.

When Character is More Valuable than Competence

When Character is More Valuable than Competence | Keeping Current Matters

Today we are pleased to have Nikki Buckelew back as our guest blogger. Nikki is considered a leading authority on seniors real estate and housing. Enjoy!

It was her 80th birthday and as Sue’s family gathered around in celebration, she announced a major decision. After years of toying with the idea, she had come to the conclusion that now – yes, now – was the proper time for her to move into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).

Although they were a bit surprised, Sue’s two adult children (both seniors themselves) nodded to each other and expressed relief that their mother would have access to the support and care she needed. Both admitted to a bit of worry about her living alone since their dad died, especially as they both traveled extensively and were not available to see her or care for her on a regular basis.

But, of course, they all realized that such a move would require a massive commitment of time and energy, with the first necessary step being to find a good real estate agent to help sell the longtime family home.

Sue mentioned that she was acquainted with an agent she had met at church and who regularly sent her mailings. The agent seemed quite nice and professional, had won numerous awards, was active in the community, and owned a variety of impressive-looking credentials. You know, she had a whole bunch of letters and acronyms at the end of her name.

Sue and her children arranged for a meeting with the agent, and while she was clearly competent and well-educated in her field, Sue just couldn’t get past a nagging feeling that something was amiss. The agent was nice enough, but throughout Sue’s entire life, she had tended to gravitate toward doing business only with those to whom she felt some sort of connection. Perhaps it was something she had learned from her father, a man who valued relationships in business dealings as much or more than mere competence. Not only did she want help, but she also wanted to feel a special sort of bond and trust.

The practice had served her well throughout life and now – with such an important transaction – she wasn’t about to change her approach.

Sue scanned the yellow pages, spoke on the phone with a few agents, and even met with another over coffee, but still she couldn’t find the sensation of trust and comfort she desired. She even did a couple of quick internet searches leaving her feeling confused and frustrated. It occurred to Sue’s daughter that perhaps the CCRC that was to be Sue’s new home would be able to provide a recommendation for a good agent. Indeed, they did, and that’s when she met Joe.

Joe was different

He arrived at her home and immediately the two hit it off. Sue hired Joe to list and sell her house and as he began to take his leave, Sue touched him gently on the arm and said “Thank you, Joe. You are different than other agents I’ve met with,” she smiled. “I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel I can truly trust you to help me make this move.”

Sue’s home sold quickly, and with Joe’s help, she arranged for an estate liquidator to sell the belongings she no longer needed. He also arranged for a moving company to pack and transport what was needed to Sue’s new apartment at the retirement community, and made sure she was content in her new home.

A few days later, Sue’s children visited their mother, breathed a sigh of relief that everything seemed under control, that a large project was complete and that – most importantly – Mom was happy, healthy,  and safe. Her daughter (who admittedly had been a bit annoyed at Sue’s “pickiness” in choosing an agent) smiled and remarked that Sue had made a fine decision in choosing Joe to spearhead the sale and move. “But Mom,” Sue’s son asked. “How did you make your decision? Why did you choose him?”

Sue dug into her purse and drew out the list of notes she had made while interviewing Joe:

When Character is More Valuable than Competence | Keeping Current Matters

As her daughters looked at the list, Sue remarked “I felt ‘OK’ with the other agents. They were undoubtedly good at their jobs. But I wanted someone who was good for ME too.”

And thus ends the happy story of Sue, a senior whose outlook on doing business mirrors that of most of her generation, nearly all of whom value a firm handshake and “good vibes” as much as they do hard numbers and competency.

Bottom Line

As real estate professionals serving seniors, it’s important that we understand that what makes for a great partnership, truly is in the eyes of our clients.