The House as a Retirement Asset

The House as a Retirement Asset

August 25, 2022

There's no place like home. For many of us, that sentiment doesn't change as we enter our golden years. According to AARP- 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. If they begin to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, most seniors (82 percent) still would prefer to stay in their homes.  But is that the best decision?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of owning a home in retirement and explore the question of whether you should own or rent in retirement and how to get the most out of your retirement housing budget. 

For most people, the family home is the largest asset they will ever own. And for many Americans, it is also their retirement savings plan. If you are nearing retirement, the value of your home may represent a significant percentage of your total assets. However, when it comes to retirement planning, the house can be viewed as both an asset and a liability. Owning a home has long been considered a key part of the American Dream. For many people, it's a symbol of stability and success. But what about retirement? Is owning a home still a good idea then? For many retirees, the answer is yes.


  • Equity in the home can be used to supplement retirement income through a reverse mortgage or a home equity loan, providing cash flow for daily living.
  • Owning a home can provide a sense of security and independence. It can also be a good investment, providing equity that can be used for other purposes, such as travel or long-term care. And, in some cases, it can offer tax advantages.
  • Downsizing can free up a significant amount of cash. According to a Zillow report, 46 percent of baby boomers who sold homes in 2017 were in the process of downsizing. If you own a large home, you may be sitting on a goldmine of equity. Moving to a smaller home or even an apartment can unlock this equity, giving you access to cash that you can invest in other vehicles that are more liquid and more easily distributed to future generations. Additionally, smaller homes come with lower maintenance and utility costs, which can also save you money in retirement. 

Although retirement should be a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, it can also be a time of financial stress, especially for those who own a home. 


  • A house can be a major expense. One that must be maintained even in retirement. Property taxes and insurance can increase each year to add to the normal repairs and retirees who own homes may find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
  • Downsizing may limit your space for family gatherings and visiting grandchildren. 
  • There may be costs associated with selling the home for those who plan to downsize or move in retirement. Given these challenges, it’s important to carefully consider the costs of owning a home before deciding to retire. For some people, it may be wise to downsize or move to a less expensive location. Others may decide to rent instead of own..

Owning vs. Renting

One of the biggest financial decisions that you will make in retirement is whether to own or rent your home. Both options have pros and cons, and the best choice for you will depend on your unique circumstances. If you plan on traveling frequently or downsizing, then renting may be the more convenient option. On the other hand, if you want to settle down in one place and have the financial resources to do so, then owning a home can be a wise investment. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether to own or rent in retirement. It is important to sit down with a financial advisor and weigh all of your options before making a decision.

When it comes to retirement housing, there are several factors to consider. Location, amenities, and size are all important factors that can affect your decision. However, one of the most important considerations is your budget. Another option that may save money is to choose a retirement community that includes amenities such as meals, transportation, and housekeeping. These services can help reduce your costs by eliminating the need for separate memberships or contracts. Finally, be sure to shop around for the best deals on rent, utilities, and other necessary expenses. By being mindful of your budget, you can make the most of your retirement years.


A house can be a valuable retirement asset. For many retirees, the benefits of owning a home outweigh the costs. Owning a home can give retirees the stability of a fixed monthly payment, the ability to build equity, and the potential for appreciation. It also offers the opportunity to downsize or relocate to an area that better suits their needs. However, retirees should be mindful of the costs of ownership, such as property taxes, maintenance, and insurance. They should also consider whether renting would be a more affordable option. Ultimately, the best decision depends on each retiree's circumstances. By carefully considering all the factors involved, retirees can make the most of their retirement housing budget and find the best option that best meets their needs. Reach out if you would like to talk about your options.