Reverse Mortgage

3 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Retirement

A room featuring an older stand piano, a rolling chair, and two houseplants.

Upon retirement, most seniors continue to live in their homes instead of moving to an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, most homes just simply aren’t properly created for you to live comfortably or safely. If you are planning to spend your golden years in your current residence, you should start planning for the challenges of aging. Our team at Idaho Reverse Mortgages recommends taking these three areas into consideration as you prepare your house for retirement!

Evaluate Needed Changes

One of the most common financial shocks to retirees is unexpected expenses stemming from major home repairs and upgrades. These massive costs can be devastating to a fixed income. To identify all restorations, consider getting a home inspection to identify and then budget for any repairs that might be necessary. It may be wise for you to schedule the biggest expenditures — replacing your roof, upgrading your HVAC system, or replacing your hot water heater — while you’re still working. Investing in energy efficiency by purchasing new energy-saving appliances or installing a smart thermostat can help deter big bills in the future. Given Idaho’s sunny weather, consider installing solar panels to greatly reduce your energy costs!
Make sure to look at your house itself. Take a weekend to declutter your house and make it easier to navigate and clean. If you feel that your lawn might be too labor-intensive in the future, consider swapping it out for a lower-maintenance yard, like turf, or hire a local landscaping company.
Sometimes a big house can seem like more of a burden than a blessing as you age. While space may be nice, it also means you’ll have more to clean and upkeep, which can become an extra hassle. If you think your house might end up causing you unnecessary irritation, consider downsizing to something a bit more manageable.

Assess Your Accessibility

Your main goal after you retire should be to live happily and comfortably. Safety is key to making this dream a reality, so consider equipping your home with features that will instill support and functionality in your upcoming renovations.
For low-cost upgrades, purchasing side rails for bathrooms, replacing knob handles with lever handles on doors, and installing rocker light switches are some convenient improvements if you plan on staying in your home. Some costlier projects might include widening hallways and doorways, creating a zero-step entry, adding a curbless shower, and installing non-slip flooring into bathrooms and hallways. Evaluate what you think is most important and tackle your to-do list in that order.
Having a one-story home is preferential over a two-story one. However, if your two-story house has a bedroom and full bathroom on the entry-level, it should be perfectly fine. If your house fits this description, focus on renovating your downstairs area and making those spaces more accessible. There’s no need to rearrange or remodel your entire home if you won’t be utilizing it. If you don’t have a bedroom and full bath located on the first floor you may want to look into installing sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairs or even a motorized stairlift.
The kitchen is arguably the most used space in a home which means it’s crucial that it is easy to maneuver. Make sure your cabinets aren’t high enough that you require a stepping stool. Using a stepping stool can be very dangerous, especially if there is no one to help in case of an emergency. Bending down to see what is in the back of a drawer can be hard on your back, so make sure they aren’t too deep. If you have deep cabinets, you should take advantage of Lazy Susan shelving that utilizes wasted corners. If possible, set up your appliances based on how you cook and want to navigate your kitchen. For example, if you frequently heat up food, consider placing your microwave directly next to your refrigerator. Finally, make sure your kitchen receives good lighting and has great ventilation. All of these small changes will make your kitchen much more efficient and easy to use as you age.

Use Your Home as Income

Where you choose to retire will have a large impact on your expenses, so it’s time to consider whether you should move to a smaller home that is less costly to maintain or even to a low-cost living area. Due to Idaho’s booming housing market, no matter what you choose you’ll add a sizable amount of money to your retirement fund.
Maybe changing houses just isn’t for you but you’d still like to utilize your home for additional income. Consider looking into a reverse mortgage, where the equity in your home is used to provide you with a tax-free income.

If you plan to spend your retirement in your current home and are careful with your money, a reverse mortgage will give you the financial freedom to do whatever you’d like. If you have any questions regarding reverse mortgages, contact us today!

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