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What Can DCU Save You?

What If You Need to Sell Your Present Home

StreetWise Consumer Education Program

Retirement
  • Summary
  • Article

Overview of tips and issues to consider to sell your present home in retirement

  • Plan ahead, take your time
  • Determine the true value of your home
  • Select the right real estate agent
  • Consider potential tax consequences

Many individuals choosing to move into a new accessible home or into retirement communities or assisted living communities, for example, will wish to sell their present homes. Selling one's home isn't as simple as finding a buyer. Here are some tips and issues that wise consumers should consider.

Plan ahead, take your time, and don't rush into a sale

It takes time to carry out several important steps in making the best sales decision. Such steps include:

  • Determining the accurate value of your home in today's market.

    You may wish to obtain a comparative market analysis, an appraisal or both.

  • Considering the impact that the income from the sale of your home may have on your larger financial picture.

    Your income from the sale may have capital gains tax implications. Consider how you will invest the proceeds from the sale.

  • Deciding whether you will use a real estate agent and selecting the right agent.

Even if a sudden life event has caused you to consider selling your home more quickly than you planned, avoid rushing. Consider consulting an appropriate financial planning expert or legal advisor about available options to help you span the time between your need and the time it takes to sell your home wisely. Also, consider asking your adult children for their assistance; they may be ready and willing to help "share the load" or manage the sale for you in keeping with your wishes.

Determine the true value of your home in today's market

Many individuals and couples who have lived in their homes for thirty to fifty years will not have a realistic valuation of their home. Determining this value is a must before you put your home on the market. If you are working with an experienced real estate agent, he or she will be able to prepare a market analysis and also to work with you on looking at your home's condition and how that may affect its sale value. For example: Are your interiors up-to-date or dated? Have you deferred maintenance? Would a potential buyer consider your home to be "move-in" condition?

You may also wish to have a professional appraisal conducted. Your bank may be able to recommend a reputable appraiser with knowledge of homes in your neighborhood.

Select the real estate agent that's right for your needs

If you plan to use a real estate agent as most sellers do, then you may wish to consider an agent who has experience in working with senior sellers.

Consider and plan for potential tax consequences

Although the capital gains tax exemption on the sale of a home is $500,000 for a married couple and $250,000 for an individual, the value of your home, particularly if you have lived in it 30 years or more, may have grown beyond those sums. If the appraised or potential market value of your home is larger than these amounts, you may wish to consult your tax advisor about the tax consequences and your options.