Why 50+ Adults Are Moving

Tuesday Nov 01st, 2016


Undoubtedly there are many reasons why homeowners over the age of 50 will decide to move from their homes. Many find that they’re unable to continue the task of maintaining the existing family home or want to be closer to their grandchildren – or perhaps they want the freedom to fulfill their retirement dreams without the worry or expense of the current family home. 

Then, there are mature homeowners who find themselves forced into the position of having to make a move for financial or health reasons. For them, this type of upheaval is very stressful – especially if they feel they have no choice. 

In both scenarios, there are a number of options available to help 50+ homeowners and their family make this transition easier and less stressful. In this article, we will look at what these options are, including:

  • Working with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) 
  • Taking out a reverse mortgage 
  • Remodeling for accessibility 
  • Moving for right-sizing

Working with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

You’ve lived in your home for a long time. The kids have grown up and moved away, the neighborhood is changing, and you’d like to downsize to a smaller place that will enable you to enjoy an active retirement and be closer to your family.

The problem is you don’t know what your house is worth, and you’re not sure what your options are in terms of what to buy - and where. You’re also concerned about tax planning. To help you with these decisions, consider working with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) who has the expertise to guide you through the process of selling and buying, relocating or counseling you on real estate investments. SRES is a designation recognized by the National Association of Realtors and accredited Real Estate Professionals are highly trained to provide their clients 50+ and their families with a wealth of knowledge to make any transition easier and less stressful.

Taking out a Reverse Mortgage

As a mature homeowner, you may have most of your equity in your home. However, your retirement income or investments may not give you enough cash you require to fund:

  • Home repairs or renovations 
  • Catch up on unexpected bills 
  • Fulfill your retirement dreams 
  • Supplement your retirement income 
  • Help your grandchildren with their education

Traditionally, selling your home would be your only opinion to get the cash you need but this is where a reverse mortgage can help. Unlike a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage gives the homeowner up to 40% of the equity in the home without having to sell it. This mortgage gives you the flexibility to make monthly interest payments or pay back the mortgage later when you sell your home.


To qualify for a reverse mortgage in Canada, you and your spouse must be 60 years of age or older and own a home or condominium. The amount of money you will qualify for depends on your age, the location and type of home you have, and the appraised value of your home.

Benefits of a Reverse Mortgage

There are many benefits of using a reverse mortgage, such as:

  • You receive the money tax-free, so it doesn’t affect any government benefits you may be receiving, such as Old Age Security (OAS) pension, or the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Plus, if you decide to invest some or all of your proceeds, you may be able to deduct the reverse mortgage interest against your taxable income. 
  • You can choose to get your equity [cash] in one lump sum or scheduled advancements. 
  • Choice and flexibility of interest payment. However, mortgage payments are not required while you or your spouse live in your home. 
  • You maintain ownership and control of your home. Like a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage is registered on title, so your home always remains in your name. You can sell any time you want. 
  • There is no risk of default, and the loan is guaranteed never to exceed the fair market value of your home.

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?

A reverse mortgages may not be the best option for everyone. Before you take out this type of mortgage, ask your SRES Real Estate Professional if this opinion is the best for you.

Remodeling For Accessibility

As Canada’s baby boomers age, physical limitations will become reality for many. This can include worsening health issues, injuries, and other age-related conditions. Unfortunately, few homes are designed with these limitations in mind. So when something does happen, we usually haven't planned for it.

An unexpected medical setback can change your world forever. This may mean having to sell your family home to move somewhere that can provide a better quality of living – or renovating your home to accommodate accessibility needs.

The terms "barrier-free" and "universal design" are design principals that mean products and spaces can be easily used by people of varying abilities. On top of meeting your current needs, this type of design can also be a huge selling point for a house.

Whenever you decide to make modifications to your home, it’s important to take the aspect of universal design into consideration. While one spouse may require renovations to improve accessibility, the home still needs to be usable by both spouses. Universal design makes a room easier for everyone to use, and if it’s done correctly, it doesn't have to look institutional.

Benefits of Incorporating Universal Design

There are many benefits to incorporating human-centered universal design, including:

  • It can enhance your quality of life by increasing convenience, comfort, safety and usability 
  • It can increase resale marketability and value of your home 
  • It can reduce health risks and eliminate barriers 
  • It allows you and your spouse to remain in your home 
  • It facilitates care-giving in the home so you can stay in the comfort of your own home longer

Incorporating Universal Design

Most of universal design is centered on safe barrier free living. Being able to get in and out of your house more easily may mean building permanent structures such as ramps. Remodelling bathrooms and kitchen may be necessary to allow for mobility improvements. Many of these changes can be practical and inexpensive to install. Most common changes include a roll-in shower with an adjustable shower seat, support arms, and a hand-held showerhead and grab bars around the toilet and bathtub. Complete with non-slip textured flooring, zero-threshold and full-access doorways changes can greatly improve accessibility.

With regards to upgrading your existing kitchen appliances, you’ve probably noticed that many old stoves have the controls in the back so you have to reach over hot burners to adjust them or turn them off. As well, your refrigerator may have a single wide-swinging door and the top freezer may be out of reach for someone, say, in a wheelchair. For this reason, major manufacturers have refrigerator with side-by-side doors, which are easier to open and manoeuver around and cook-top of the stove with controls in front for safety and ease of use.

Moving for Right-Sizing

Your kids have moved out and that rec-room in the basement is looking awfully lonely, as are those two extra bedrooms. Without your children to help you, that huge backyard now takes up most of your spare time, what with having to mow, weed, rake, and trim to make it look habitable. And then there’s all that stuff in the basement and the garage, like those rusty tools and stacked boxes of kids’ clothing and toys. Your kids keep telling you they want to keep these things, but they never come by to pick them up. The house may now seem too big for you. For these and other reasons, you may be considering moving to a smaller home.

Making the Decision

Statistics rank moving regardless of your age as one of the most stressful things in life surpassing the loss of a loved one and divorce! Many homeowners find the selling and buying process to be a huge emotional undertaking. Half the emotional battle is committing to the making the move and hiring a Real Estate Professional you can work with and guide you through the whole process ensuring your financial wellbeing.

Getting Rid of Clutter

It’s important to think about the emotional impact of scaling down your belongings. If you’re like most people, you’ll find there are a lot of memories on your shelves and packed into boxes. For this reason, we often procrastinate and never actually get around to doing the task because we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that’s required. You’ll thank yourself on moving day by sorting through your belonging and keeping items that you only need and want.

Here are two suggestions to help you get started:

  • Consider turning the task into a family party or get-together where your children stick Post-it notes on everything that they may want. They too will likely have many fond memories tied to items in the family home. 
  • Consider using a company that specializes in assisting people with downsizing. These companies can help organize estate sales or auctions, set aside items for donation, and can assist you with any packing that needs to be done.

Decreased Storage Space

Even after you’ve de-cluttered the house in preparation to move, it’s important to consider what the storage space will be in your new home. If you’re moving into a condominium, storage space will likely be considerably less than what you are used to having.

Reduced living space is another aspect you’ll have to consider. You will now have to learn to co-exist in a smaller space. In your current home, your spouse may have been able to watch television in one room while you worked on your hobby in another room. But in a smaller living space, you may now have to share one room to do both things.

There are always ways to accommodate your current lifestyle – sometimes it just takes a little bit of creative planning to ensure you can be just as happy in your new home as you were in your old home.


No matter what option you consider, either making a change to your living space or making a move, it’s important to remember that working with your SRES accredited Real Estate Professional, Denise Dilbey, Broker offers a wealth of knowledge to make any transition easier and less stressful for you. #yourrealtorforlife  416.919.9802

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