With prices in many areas at a low ebb, it might make good financial sense for Baby Boomers to buy their retirement homes now, even if they're still years away from actually moving. They can find renters who will pay the bills until they're ready to live there.
Here’s some advice for people who are considering this strategy:
- Shop carefully. It's best to buy a home that can be rented for a rate that, after tax considerations, will cover the mortgage, real estate taxes, and insurance.
- Study up on housing trends. Ask the local or state planning department for demographic and economic data. The information can reveal facts that will influence whether or not to buy. For example, big companies going out of business or military base closings can be bad news.
- Don’t forget maintenance. Consider who’ll take care of the house in the owner’s absence. Property managers charge 6 percent to 15 percent of the monthly rent. Family members may be willing to do the job for free, but they could be ill equipped to do the job if the don't have any experience.
- Consider financing. Boomers with sufficient equity in their current homes can tap it to either buy their retirement home outright or secure a much lower mortgage rate compared with a loan at the rate often offered to buyers of investment property.
Source: The Washington Post, Belly L. Kass, Esq. (08/11/2007)