Real estate is an investment — one that many people forget about when planning for retirement. The home that you raised a family in isn’t the one you need for retirement. With kids out of the house and no reason for a big yard, you can easily downsize for the house you’ll spend your retirement years in.
Forbes recently explained how to incorporate your house into your retirement plan. When you no longer need a large home, you can monetize the equity and purchase a smaller home, or a home in a less-expensive area, since you have more flexibility on where you can live (no need to live near your workplace, for example).
Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research has published a guide called Using Your House for Income in Retirement. Knowing when to sell is important. You can often do better by investing the profit from the sale of your home into an investment portfolio than keeping it in the home to appreciate, depending on your local real estate market. However, if you’re in a growing market, you may want to wait to to sell.
You should also consider the risk involved in your real estate market. If you’re in the middle of a bubble and nearing retirement, don’t wait to sell. Your home should be thought about in the same way as any other investment you have near retirement. The closer you are to retirement, the less risk you want to take.
If you’re thinking about retirement and own a home, you may want to talk with a financial professional and real estate professional about your options.