Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Ready to Downsize? Must-Know Tips for Seniors

Source: Pixabay

If you are an empty-nester getting ready to retire, you might be wondering if it’s time to declutter, sell your property, and move into a smaller house instead. You probably have questions about where to move, what you should keep, and how to manage the financial aspects of downsizing. For practical advice about downsizing for seniors, check out these invaluable guides! 

Where Should You Move?
Which Type of Housing Is Best for You?

Financial Considerations 

Essential Advice for Downsizing

Pare Down Your Belongings

Getting Ready for Moving Day

For seniors, making the decision to downsize isn’t always easy — moving can be emotional, and going through your belongings can take a while. Doing your research before diving in will simplify the process. Once you adjust to living with less square footage, you’ll begin to appreciate all of the benefits of downsizing!

Written by Andrea Needham

Friday, October 25, 2019

This Is the Biggest Challenge Seniors Face as They Downsize

For seniors who have lived in one place for many years, the task of downsizing and picking up
to move can be daunting. But if you plan to move—whether with family, into an assisted living or
senior community, or just into a smaller home—you should think about what to do with the
house you’re leaving behind.

Choosing to Sell Can Earn You One-Time Profits

If your mortgage is paid off—or the market is excellent in your area—selling can prove
profitable. Deciding to sell your house involves letting go forever, though.

If you want to sell, look at your neighborhood’s current property listings and the average cost
homes are selling for (in Carmel, that number is $332,000). Consult a real estate agent for
advice on how to price your home. A knowledgeable agent can also provide insight into the
current market in your area.

Appraising your home is another step that can provide information to guide your decision to sell
(or not). An appraisal is an unbiased opinion about how much your home is worth. Of course,
you may find that your property is not as valuable as you thought—at which point other options

apart from selling come into play.

Opting to Become a Landlord Might Mean Consistent Income

Another option when you plan to move is renting your home out. If you have paid the mortgage
off already, rental income can be beneficial—especially in retirement. However, if you still owe
on your home, you’ll need to investigate the local rental market for pricing trends.

Low rental income that doesn’t cover the mortgage leaves you paying for a home you won’t be
living in. Plus, unless you plan to manage the rental yourself, you will need to pay an agency to
handle the lease for you. Fees for property managers or agencies typically range between four
and ten percent of the monthly rental rate, according to The Balance.

The Balance suggests hiring a property manager in certain scenarios, such as if your new home
is far away from the property, you have little experience as a landlord, or you don’t want the

challenge of interacting with tenants.

Passing Your Home to Family Presents Unique Challenges

If you find it challenging to sell your home but don’t want the hassle of renting, there is another
option. Keeping your home in the family can prove to be a smart financial and personal
decision. You don’t lose the emotional ties to the home, and you also don’t have to oversee the
maintenance of the property.

You can charge family members rent, or you can offer them a place to live for free. In exchange,
they can manage the upkeep of the home and keep it in good repair. Renting to family can
present unique tax challenges, Forbes states, so it’s crucial that you understand the tax laws
surrounding your rental agreement.
In short, charging a family member less than the “fair market” rental price means you cannot
use rental expenses as a deduction. At the same time, you must still pay income tax on the rent
you receive.

Alternatively, you can also transfer real estate to your child or another family member. However,
the process quickly becomes complicated. In most cases, if you give a home to a relative, they
must pay a gift tax on the amount the real estate is worth.
Strategies such as selling the house for $1 (or another menial amount) don’t bypass this tax
issue, either. SF Gate highlights. The difference between the house’s value and the sales price
is still considered a gift. Also, if your relative later sells the home, they must pay a capital gains
tax on the proceeds.

Ultimately, you can choose to leave your property to relatives with fewer tax problems if you
place it in a trust. However, this option means you still own the home until you pass away. Then,
your family member takes ownership of the house. There are also legalities to the process that
are difficult to navigate.

While moving out of the family home is common for seniors, what to do with the property is a
deeply personal decision. Whatever you decide, it’s vital that you feel good about the choice

and do what’s right for you.

Photo via Pixabay.

Written By:
Jim Vogel

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Cost of Repairs---To Do or Not to Do?

Hmmm, What does that title mean? When considering how much work to do to prepare your home for sale, do you make every repair before your home is listed? Or is it better to leave some things undone for negotiation later?

Good Questions!

In the eyes of a Buyer, small repairs are usually magnified. They expect those repairs to be much more costly than they actually are.

The Residential Specialist (an industry publication) reports that "For every $1,000 of perceived defect, the buyer will ask for a $3,000 to $5,000 reduction of the asking price...You want to know about the issues now, not when the buyer's inspector shows up."

I think this disparity is especially true with a first time home buyer. They don't have the experience in home repairs to know which items are small items and easy fixes vs ones that require more labor or expense.

So, if you are able to make the repair prior to placing your home on the market, it is a good idea to do so. The home looks well maintained, and its perceived value will be much higher in the eyes of the potential Buyer.

If the cost of a repair is not an option right now, at least get an estimate that can be shared with the Buyer. This written cost will mitigate the inflated price of the repair in the Buyer's mind.

Do you have any questions as you are thinking about selling your home? Feel free to ask! I am here to help.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Where do I sell my Stuff? I am ready to sell my Home

So you are ready to move...but need to sell or donate some of your furnishings. What do you do? This is a frequently asked question when I meet with people who are ready to sell their home. Here is a list of a few suggestions to get you started.

Everything But The House.  Website:
They will photograph and provide descriptions of all of the items that you wish to sell. An auction will be conducted online, and items will either be picked up by the winning bidders or shipped by EBTH. This option works well for collectibles, antiques, art, china.

Sue Wickliff is a property appraiser. Sue can give you the value on jewelry, furniture, collectibles. She has collectors whom she can recommend who purchase particular items.

Complete Relocation Solutions
They do a number of things including organize, sort, and hold sales. (I do not have personal experience with this company, but they look like a viable option.)

Christy's Auction Company--(or a local auction company in the area where you live) This is the easiest of the options. Jack Christy will send a team to pack everything for you. They transport the items you wish to sell to their auction company. They sell them for you and send you a percentage of the total amount sold. They will take almost everything.

Phone: 317-784-0000

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lovely Large One Level Home in Carmel IN--only $259,900

Take a video tour with me of this beautiful ranch home in a golf course community in West Carmel, Indiana. #TwinLakes 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Elegant Gracious Living in East Carmel’s Prairie View
 The Wait is Over! Over 8,000 square feet in an  enviable setting includes large living areas perfect   for entertaining. Two story Great
Room as striking floor to ceiling fireplace. 1st floor Master Suite is ready to pamper. Lovely Library offers custom cabinetry. Warm Hearth

Room opens to Gourmet Kitchen and Breakfast Rm. 5 or 6 Bedrooms, including huge Bonus Room. Finished Basement boasts a full Kitchen with large bar, Home Theater, Exercise Rm, Family Room. Championship Golf Course, Pool, Tennis, Walking Trails. 
  • Over 8,000 Square Feet
  • 5 Bedrooms & 4.5 Bathrooms Plus Enormous Bonus Room
  • 2-Story Entry & Great Room
  • Spacious 1st Floor Master Suite
  • Gourmet Kitchen opens to Warm Hearth & Breakfast Room
  • Finished Basement with Full Kitchen, Billiards Area, Theater, Storage, Exercise & Rec Rooms
  • Over Half an Acre Lot

Your Opportunity for Elegant and Gracious Living!
Check out this virtual tour narrated by Diane for some of the great amenities:
Another video tour of a new listing. Hard to find--spacious one level home in West Carmel for $269,900.
Beautiful one level, ranch home in West Carmel in Golf Course Community (Twin Lakes). Easy access to interstate, schools, shopping and restaurants.…
Check out this Video Tour of:
13731 Marylou Dr. Carmel IN - Immaculate, 4881 sq ft home for under $470,000!
Beautiful 5 year old home in West Carmel, Indiana. Upscale finishes and immaculate condition.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Check out this Video Tour of:
13731 Marylou Dr. Carmel IN - Immaculate, 4881 sq ft home for under $470,000!

Beautiful 5 year old home in West Carmel, Indiana. Upscale finishes and immaculate condition.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Click the link below to be taken to our printable PDF schedule of  
FUN FALL EVENTS in the Indianapolis and Surrounding Areas for 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Understanding Credit Score and its Importance to a Mortgage

Home searches have plenty of difficult steps. From finding a great real estate agent to locating the
perfect property, the long process can seem insurmountable at times if you aren’t prepared. The first,
most vital step to any successful home search, however, should relate to financing. When you contact a lender to find out about your eligibility for financing, there are a few key factors that are taken into
consideration in order to ensure your likelihood of repaying the loan. While quantifiable numbers
including debt-to-income ratio are important, you’ll struggle to find a single factor more important than credit score.

So, what is a credit score? Based on your financial history, your reliability in repaying debt is
condensed into a single number known as a FICO score. From total loan amount to interest rate, your
credit score can have a major impact on your home search and financial future. Let’s take a look at how it all relates to a successful home search.

Your credit score can range from 300 to 850, but most lenders want to see a score higher than 680 for
a conventional home loan. While you may find exceptions, be wary of hidden costs to cover the added risk to your lender.

Since the downturn of the economy years ago, lenders have become increasingly stingy with loan
approvals. While credit scores of less than 600 could have once got your foot in the door with mortgage lenders, today, you’ll struggle to find an affordable loan with less than perfect credit. According to BankRate, paying your bills on time, maintaining and paying lines of credit on time, increasing the length of your credit history, having multiple types of credit accounts and limiting new credit applications are all ways to boost your score over time. If your score limits your choice of lenders, consider improving your credit reports before beginning a home search.

With your credit score, your entire financial history could come into play. Pull your three credit
reports in order to get a better look at the negative items holding you down. While three separate reporting agencies maintain independent records on your payment history, you may still experience inaccuracies and inconsistencies with reports. To combat unforeseen issues, pull
your credit reports annually to search for incorrectly reported problems. A single issue can mean the
difference between a low interest rate and a denied loan request, so be diligent when reviewing your
records. TransUnion, Equifax and Experian are all legally required to provide one copy of your credit report to you at no cost annually, so there’s no reason to leave your score up to chance.

Even if you get approved for a mortgage, the effects of a lower credit score could cost you a bundle
over the life of a loan. Luckily, there are alternatives to improve your repayment terms. If your interest rate is a bit too high thanks to a few dings on your credit, your savings could play a part
in getting your rate into a more affordable range. Ask your lender about points, which are a type of fee that nearly every lender offers to exchange your savings for lower interest rates. In most cases, points are ignored, but it could be a worthy option to consider for making money back over the life of a loan.

According to, finding the breakeven point at which the fee will repay itself is a great way to determine if paying points is a good option to counteract your higher rate.  With each point accounting for one-quarter of a percentage on your loan, the savings can be worth the research.

If your major negative items are from a few years back, it could be worth your time to wait before
beginning your housing search. Remember, the bad marks will fall off of your report after a specified

Depending on the dings on your credit report, time could be just the option for saving you some cash. If you’ve got late payments or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the seven year mark is the magic date for
improving your score. If you’ve filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the past, your credit report will be
dinged for 10 years before rebounding. If your negative marks are approaching their expiration dates,
consider taking a little break before beginning your home search and applying for financing. A relatively short break could lead to big savings over the life of your home loan. For additional information, depend on the experts in the fields of finance and real estate to get your property hunt off to a great start.

Hudson F. is a writer whose interests include homes for sale in Georgetown, the college basketball and NFL football.



Ready to Downsize? Must-Know Tips for Seniors

Source: Pixabay If you are an empty-nester getting ready to retire, you might be wondering if it’s time to declutter, sell your prope...