Housing Tips for Seniors

Paying housing expenses, including mortgages, taxes, insurance and utilities, can be difficult on a senior citizen’s fixed income. Are you finding yourself overwhelmed with housing bills? If you are in a situation where you find that your home is becoming a financial burden, there are some options available to you.

Are you living in the same home you lived in when raising your family? Do you find the amount of upkeep for your current home to be overwhelming? If so, you may want to consider downsizing. Downsizing means that you sell your current home, and purchase a smaller home that’s more suitable for your current lifestyle. Downsizing serves many purposes, including decreasing your monthly mortgage payment (or providing you with a lump sum of money). In addition, you’ll probably find that you have lower insurance, tax, and utility bills.

If you want to downsize, you should talk to a Realtor to find out the approximate market value of your home. Then, you can search for properties that are smaller, and more reasonably priced. Some seniors choose to downsize in their current neighborhood or town, while others select a different area. Depending on your situation, you may also want to consider an “over 50” housing area or condo, which may require less upkeep and maintenance from you.

Another option available to seniors is a reverse mortgage. With a reverse mortgage, you will receive money to live on, while you can still remain in your home. Reverse mortgages aren’t for everyone, so you should learn about them and consider all alternatives before choosing this option.

When considering any of these options, watch out for scams that may target seniors specifically. Know who you are dealing with, and obtain recommendations from friends and relatives before paying for any services or information. If you aren’t comfortable with something, ask for help from a friend or family member before proceeding.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.