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The Retiree’s Guide to Buying and Selling a Home in Retirement

Illustration about someone publishing and listing properties online
March 25, 2020

Need a change? Just because you didn’t sell your home before retirement doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat. It’s still possible to sell that house and get into another one.

Check out the following tips to buy and sell after leaving the workforce.


While it’s possible to buy a home before selling your current one, waiting until you sell will put you in a stronger financial position.

Be Realistic About Your Home’s Value

It’s common to become so emotionally attached to your home that you overvalue it. Work with an experienced real estate agent to find a realistic sales price. Don’t dismiss the number because you think it’s too low.

Instead, look at all the available data and get an appraisal if you still dispute your agent’s estimate.

Depersonalize Your House

When you’ve spent decades in the same place, detaching is hard. But potential buyers need to see your home as a blank slate.

Get a head start on packing by discarding as much as possible, especially if you’re downsizing. Take the art and family photos off the walls, and pack them away for easy transport to your new home.

Fix Major Problems

You’ll need to take your real estate agent’s advice and fix major problems in your home in order to sell quickly. Even if you’ve lived with these issues for years, buyers want as few issues as possible. If the problems are discovered during inspection, it will only prolong the process.


Getting a mortgage isn’t impossible in retirement. Check out the following tips to help you buy after leaving work behind for good.

Use All Household Income

It’s not uncommon for children to live with retired parents. Private lenders and government programs allow you to count the income of non-borrowers on your mortgage application. These loans are great for retirees with little income.

Get a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages aren’t just for staying in your home. In 2009, the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase (HECM) program was created for those over 62 who wanted to buy a home outright but didn’t have enough cash. The program will pay up to 47% or 52% of your mortgage, with no further monthly payments required.

Budget Accordingly

Owning a home isn’t a fixed expense. While it’s easy to figure out mortgage payments, taxes, and other requirements, some unexpected expenses. Things break. Trees fall. A myriad of unexpected programs can wreak havoc on your budget. You need to be prepared.

Don’t give up hope on finding a new home. Be patient. Budget carefully. And don’t forget to seek a qualified real estate agent’s advice to help you through the process.

What are you waiting for? Your dream home is calling!



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