For many seniors, aging in place doesn’t mean staying in their long-term family home. For some, moving to a new house is the best way to make sure they are able to live healthy, independent lives in their later years. Here are some tips for seniors making a big move.
Stage one: packing & downsizing
Once you’ve made the decision to move to a new home, it’s never too early to begin the packing and downsizing process. Most seniors moving to a new home will be downsizing, and the simple math says that you won’t have enough room for everything you currently own in your new place. It isn’t just about math, however, as downsizing offers plenty of mental and physical benefits to seniors as well.
Downsizing is essentially decluttering your life. It’s getting rid of all the things you don’t need. It’s a streamlining process.
“Take time to clarify which possessions are really important to you, not just what you like or are used to having around. Sometimes it helps to ask yourself the question, “If I had only 5 minutes before disaster hit my home, what would I grab to preserve?” This process will help identify items you want to make sure to move with you,” suggests TheSeniorList.com.
As you pack, try starting with the outer reaches of your home - your attic, basement, closets, and guest rooms. There you’ll find more non-essential items to donate or throw away. Make decisions on which items move and which don’t as you proceed with packing. Making a “maybe” pile is often counterproductive. When you pack, make sure to diligently label boxes as “fragile” or “very important”. Pack a box full of your essential items like medications, clothing, bathroom supplies, and medical equipment and label it “open first”.
Stage two: The actual move
While you can likely handle most of the packing yourself (and you should, as it saves time and money in the long run), the actual move will most certainly require some help. If you have relatives with free time and a truck - great, you’re lucky. Don’t be hesitant to ask for their help. They love you and they owe you (you know all you’ve done for them!).
Many seniors will need to hire professional movers, however.
You’ll want to do research on various companies online, through phone calls, and through advice from friends and others in your community. Always get quotes from at least three companies, and use those quotes to leverage a good price. Be wary of taking the lowest bid, as that company may be cutting corners.
“Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Never, ever sign blank paperwork, or paperwork that hasn’t been fully explained,” says MovingScam.com.
Stage three: Settling in
Once all your stuff is moved into your new home, the hard part begins. Settling into a new home can be difficult for anyone, but for seniors is can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, confusion, and even affect your sleep. Some call these symptoms felt shortly after moving Relocation Stress Syndrome. It’s important to know that these feelings are normal, and you will get past them.
You final steps include meeting your new neighbors. They will be a big help if you need assistance in the future. You should begin to unpack strategically, starting with your most-used items.
Each stage of moving houses comes with its own set of struggles and stresses, but if you’re committed to aging in place it is often the right decision.
Written by Jim Vogel
According to an exclusive survey of buyers by realtor.com® 52% of all homes bought in 2017 will be purchased by first-time home buyers - and 61% of those homebuyers will be millennials (under the age of 35.).This represents a marked shift from the robust 2016 housing market where 33% of those planning a home purchase were doing so for the first time.“With so many first-time buyers in the market, competition will be even fiercer next year for affordable starter homes in the suburbs," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. "Those looking to buy may want to consider a winter home purchase in order to avoid bidding wars and higher prices spurred by a potential increase in millennial buyers.”Other notable charactertistics of 2017 homebuyers, according to the survery, include:
For more details, see: http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/sneak-peek-home-buying-trends-will-shape-2017/
A First-time Homebuyer Savings Plan allows any Virginian to set aside up to $50,000 toward the costs of closing on a new home. The earnings on those funds — interest and capital gains — are free from Virginia state taxes forever.
FHSPs are a great way for future homeowners to start saving early for the costs of buying a home.
These accounts are simple and easy to set up. Not only can you open a new one, you can also designate almost any existing account as an FHSP. To create an FHSP, you simply include a form when you file your state taxes. (It will indicate that you should not be taxed on any earnings — e.g., interest or capital gains — because of the account’s FHSP status.)
After you use the money toward the closing costs on a fi st home (yours or someone else’s — see below), you send in a different form to the Department of Taxation showing that the funds were put toward an “eligible cost.”
Q: What kinds of accounts can be FHSPs?
A: Almost any account you have with a financial institution: mutual funds, CDs, brokerage (stocks, bonds, etc.), money markets, insurance, even a savings account. FHSPs can also include individual stocks.
Q: How much can I put in a FHSP account?
A: You can contribute up to a total of $50,000 in principal, and the account can grow in value up to $150,000. You can put that $50,000 in all at once, or you can contribute over the years. There is no limit on how long the account can exist.
Q: What can I use the money for?
A: A FHSP account can be used to pay for just about anything related to closing on a home — anything included on the settlement statement: closing costs, inspections, lender fees, etc. These are all considered “eligible costs.”
Q: What is considered a first-time home buyer?
A: A first-time buyer is: Someone who has never purchased a home before. That includes single-family homes, condos, coops, townhouses, or mobile homes. (It does not include land or commercial property.)
If you owned a home at some point but did not purchase one — e.g., if you inherited — you can still qualify.
Q: Can I use the money to pay for someone else’s closing costs?
A: Yes. As long as the person you’re giving the money to (e.g., child, grandchild, niece, and even a close friend) is a first-time homebuyer.
Q: Can I use my FHSP funds if I’m buying a home with someone who is not a first-time buyer (e.g., a spouse who once bought a home)?
A: Yes, as long as you qualify as a first-time buyer.
Q: What if I move out of Virginia?
A: Eligible costs only apply to a first time home purchase in Virginia.
Q: What if I die?
A: The account would be handled like any other part of your estate, but the benefit of the account would not have to pay taxes on the assets in the account. This is sometimes referred to as a “stepped-up basis,” which generally happens when a person dies and real estate transfers to his heirs.
There are lots of scenarios or “use cases” where a FHSP makes sense. Here are several simple scenarios:
Funding for a child
Phillip and Leigh put $10,000 into a mutual fund that they will use to help their son buy his first home. The money grows over the years. When their son is 26, he decides to buy a home. They sell the shares in the fund — now worth $18,500 — and give it to their son to help with his down payment.
Normally they would pay state tax on the $8,500 in earnings, but they file a FHSP form with their Virginia taxes and don’t have to pay a cent in state taxes.
Taxes on the interest
Alfonzo and Patricia take $1,000 they received as a wedding gift and open a money market account at their bank. They plan to use it towards the closing costs of their fi st home. Over the next several years they add money when they can, eventually using it towards their closing costs when they buy their fiRst home.
Each year, Alfonzo and Patricia file their Virginia taxes, they claimed FHSP status as part of their state tax returns, so they are exempt from state tax for all the earnings on that account so long as they use the funds for an “eligible cost”.
Changing your mind
Emma decides to start putting money away for a first home when she graduates college. She opens a high-yield savings account with a few hundred dollars and adds to it when she can over the next 12 years. The account grows.
Each year, Emma files an FHSP form with the Department of Taxation so she doesn’t have to pay Virginia tax on the interest she’s earned.
Then Emma marries Sam, and Sam already owns a house. She won’t need the money after all. They decide to use it for a vacation instead.
Because Emma used the money for a “non-eligible” purpose — the vacation — Emma must now pay the back taxes on the 12 years of earnings on the account, as well as a five percent penalty on the amount of the earnings over that 12-year period.Looking for more information about home-buying and the Blacksburg--Christiansburg area real estate market? Check out the "Buyers' Experience" and "Local Resources" sections of www.NolenGroup.net, call me at 540.553.5742 or email me at JJames@NolenGroup.net
1.) You won't be alone. Recent research indicates Millennials are moving from cities to more rural areas as the generation ages:
And a Bonus Reason? It's a nice place to live! 4/21/2016
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