Many seniors face a complex housing situation.
Either they can’t or don’t want to stay in their homes and mortgages anymore. Some are looking at retirement and rethinking their plans, or deciding to continue working longer. High prices and mortgage refi’s made with balloon rates a few years ago have killed dreams of retirement and freedom.
In the past few weeks three stories tie together and reveal mortgage factors pertaining to seniors: a rise in foreclosures; living a retirement dream that dims over time; and some creative and unexpected senior living solutions. As America ages, seniors will look for the perfect solution that matches both their finances and their personal vision for their golden years.
Consider this interesting mix of recent news stories:
- The AARP reported a few weeks ago that seniors as a group were hit at least as hard by the mortgage crisis as younger demographic groups. Since 2007 over 1.5 million seniors lost their homes. Since the same year, the foreclosure rate jumped 23 times. Worse, homeowners age 75 and older had the fastest rise in mortgage debt and a higher foreclosure rate than younger groups.
- The next story: a new documentary called King’s Point. Sari Gilman’s grandparents’ American Dream featured retirement in 1978 to a resort-style condo in Florida. A generation of seniors have spent their later years far from their families and growing old with other seniors. Is that a good thing? Gilman’s film reveals some bittersweet feelings and concerns about the future among the community’s residents.
- Finally, there’s a housing trend growing more popular by the month: ADUs (accessory dwelling units) are small apartments and houses built on single family lots. We used to call them mother-in-law quarters but today they are used for all different purposes. These backyard spaces accommodate aging parents who need a little extra care, but who still enjoy quiet and independence; older kids still living at home; down-sizers who need less space but still want to keep their house as an investment, sometimes renting to a younger, larger family. You can imagine all the other variations on the theme!
What strikes me most when you merge these three stories is that living arrangements are highly variable these days. No longer can you look at a family or a demographic and guess what their house looks like — or even if they feel comfortable there! Preferred living situations are wide open to interpretation. Seniors, especially baby boomers, will be taking an active role in deciding for themselves which options suit them best.
Keeping the mortgage may not be in the picture.
Home ownership among seniors used to hinge at least in part on the equity they had in their house. But if that equity doesn’t exist? In a changing world, seniors are seeking options.
If you’re older than 65, is there any harm in casting aside homeownership — even if you’ve owned your own home for many years? Renting or a “Subject-to” deal could be a smart option, especially if monthly payments come with a certain amount of upkeep on the property. If a senior is having trouble making house payments, or if their house is underwater, that stress is often compounded with other age-related issues. Health concerns, a desire to travel, less attachment to ‘stuff,” and visits from children, grandchildren, or traveling friends — all consume attention.
Some folks choose to forego the aggravation of home ownership — especially if finances are tight and you’re on a fixed income.
Markette Properties is all about options. (As the stories above illustrate, that seems to be a trend these days.) We brainstorm the best solution for you, your financial situation, your dreams, and your lifestyle. Think you’re out of options? Think again. Choices for seniors are abundant. Contact us today.
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