Here’s a home upgrade you may not have thought of: Home security. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as new hardwood flooring or as much fun as an in-ground pool, but it can increase the value of your home and make it more attractive to potential renters and prospective buyers.
Gains in technology have made home security slicker, more innovative, and easier to manage. How slim or robust a system you choose depends on the location of your home, its size, and your personal preference. These days it’s easier than ever, as a fully automated system allows you to view your property via computer or smartphone, and even lock doors automatically.
A security system will give you greater peace of mind and put money back in your pocket, as most insurance providers offer a discount for homes with monitored alarm systems. If you’re considering purchasing a system, speak with your insurance company first to learn about what is eligible for such a discount.
It may also be an attractive feature for prospective buyers. A modern system that has already been installed is a value-add, both for reasons of personal security and because of the insurance discount (if applicable).
As well, home security can give you a competitive edge when renting out a property in a crowded market. For renters in urban areas-especially tenants who will be living alone-an apartment with an alarm system can be a huge draw; many landlords who offer security systems will likely be able to charge premium rent.
Health concerns figure prominently-a bitter reality for older boomers who didn’t believe they would ever have difficulty climbing stairs or navigating an older home. The result is that many are considering downsizing. But they still plan to age in place in one sense: Most would prefer to stay in their own neighborhoods with all the familiar comforts of home.
And the numbers are mind-boggling: One in 5 Americans will be 65 or older by 2030 – some 71 million people across the U.S. The impact will affect almost every aspect of society, including healthcare, employment – and, of course, housing.
Especially housing. Across North America, household debt has been growing, particularly in the age group of over 55ers; many seniors may have to-rather than choose to-downsize.
Is downsizing for you?
For those now considering the pros and cons of downsizing, here are some questions you need to ask yourself and your family:
Do I (and/or my spouse) need to downsize for health or financial reasons?
Is it likely that one of us soon won’t be able to drive?
Am I hoping to stay near or in my current neighborhood, or move closer to family?
What to do now
You may have difficulty finding what you need in your neighborhood; in most areas, developers have been slow to catch up.
But if downsizing is on your horizon, your first connection should be a good real estate agent who has expertise working with senior buyers. It’s also advantageous if your agent has a network of contacts such as lawyers, mortgage professionals, and organizing professionals to help with disposal of your possessions, and staging companies to prepare your home for sale.