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What Should You Do With Your Home When You Move to Assisted Living?

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Dec 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

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What Should You Do With Your Home When You Move to Assisted Living?

The choice to move into assisted living can be a difficult one, but it can also be the best decision. Yet, that can leave seniors wondering whether or not to sell their homes. Thankfully, you have quite a few options at your disposal.

Rent It Out

Renting may be necessary if your family doesn't live closely enough to care for your property, and you don't need the financial boost from selling. Renting is a long-term commitment, yet it offers earnings that can become substantial in the years to come. Still, don't expect huge returns outright, as rent is often determined by pricing the monthly cost at 1% of the total worth of your home. Further, half of that figure should be put aside for maintenance and other upkeep.

However, one benefit of renting is that it doesn't have to take much of your time as a landlord because you could bring in a property manager to deal with tenant issues whether you're renting out your home long-term or as a vacation rental. This is a good option if you need money to maintain your property or wouldn't mind a little passive income to bolster savings. If possible, look for a property management firm that provides 24/7 support. Some property managers even offer cleaning services for your guests, install digital locks, and screen potential tenants.

Before You Rent

If you choose to rent out your home, you'll have to make some improvements first. To begin, look to hire a home inspector to document the condition of your property. By using one, you'll know what to repair and will also have evidence of how a tenant has treated your property after they move out. Of course, to really impress tenants, you'll want to upgrade your property and clean it thoroughly. Don't overlook having protections for yourself, like getting landlord insurance. It's a necessary investment that gives you additional security should something go awry.

Allow Family to Care for It

Another choice is to have family either care for your house or have them move in completely. If you're financially secure or don't need help covering assisted living fees, it can benefit everyone involved. After all, having loved ones close by can combat the dangers of loneliness that many seniors experience. While having a good assisted living community can be a step to fight this, that may not be enough. So, ask your family to visit, and have them help you sign up for classes and group exercise activities, which are great opportunities to socialize and form friendships.

Sell the Property

You can always put your home on the market, especially if you need help paying for assisted living or if it's a seller's market. At the same time, the last thing you'll want to do is lose hundreds of thousands by selling if the housing market is doing badly in your area. Of course, the national market is important, but local statistics can be your most valuable guide. Given this, get online to see what prices are like in your area—for example, homes in Crossville have sold for a median price of around $240,000 over the past month—or talk to a real estate agent to see what potential profit you stand to make.

Quick and Easy Home Improvements

Choosing to sell will require investment and work, since getting the best rate means your home needs to be in excellent condition. In particular, that means repairing everything that requires basic maintenance and making improvements to give yourself an edge. Usually, the remodels that offer the best ROI are things that make your home's exterior look nicer, like a new garage door (which typically costs between $470 to $8,000 to install), fresh paint, and even a stone veneer. Above all, don't let the idea of making major changes to the interior cause you stress. As kitchen and bathroom remodels tend to not give a good return, let the next owner update them as they see fit.

While not an easy decision to make, you should feel confident that your home is going to be looked after, and it should be a crucial component of your estate plan. This way, you can invest your energy in settling into your new assisted living environment. Your time should be spent in enjoying your new home and not worrying too much about your old one.

Gift to Family

If you can afford to pay for your care without selling the house, another choice is to gift the house to the family members that you intend to inherit the house anyway.  There are many risks associated with gift transactions, however, and this should not be done without the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney.  Placing the home in an irrevocable trust is usually a better choice.

Other Ways to Pay for Care

There might be other means to pay for your care that you have not considered.  If you are a Veteran, for example, you might be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits.  Whether or not you are a veteran, you might be eligible for Medicaid (called TennCare in Tennessee) to pay for your care.  Both programs are means-tested, but you would be surprised how much you can keep and still be eligible for benefits.

For assistance with selling or gifting your home or qualifying for VA or Tenncare benefits, contact us at Cumberland Legacy Law by calling 931-250-8585 or completing this form.


About the Author

Nina Whitehurst

Attorney at Law Nina has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law She is currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. Her Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating is the highest achievable: 5 stars in peer...


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