Selling the family home - when is the right time?

Selling the family home

When is the right time?

In large urban settings, this is a key question for many families, but it can be an especially poignant decision for elders, that is, those over 65 years of age, regardless of where they reside. When is the best time to sell this significant asset? Downsize to a bungalow? Move to a new condo? What about a retirement complex that provides extra services?

For the elderly, this question carries a great weight. Perhaps they have raised their family in this home and enjoy entertaining the grandchildren in the large backyard. The loss of independence is devastating to many seniors. 

But at some point, despite market trends and housing prices, a decision must be made to sell the family home and move to accommodations more appropriate to aging lifestyles. Ultimately, this is a lifestyle and financial choice.

What is an aging lifestyle?

Statistics1 tell us that 92.1% of elders in Canada live independently in private households, while only 7.9% live in a collective dwelling. Of these:

  • 4.5% are in long term care centres, nursing homes, or long term care hospitals
  • 2.6% are in assisted living accommodation
  • 0.8% are in other collectives

The conclusion: The vast majority of elders in Canada are living alone. Most elders are leading an active lifestyle within the community on an independent basis. We call this "aging in place", that is, living in detached homes, apartments or retirement communities where they still can cook, clean and look after themselves with little assistance.

To encourage longer term independence in the family home, modifications may be required to the bathroom, kitchen, entranceways, flooring and electrical appliances and lighting. The investment in time and money for these improvements will ensure the reduction of the incidence of falls which can result from risks around the home, physiological changes, and medical changes for the elderly.

Interested in reading the full article?

Contact us for our Tax and Estate Planning education article: Selling the Family Home. We also have a case study entitled The case of the fourth ring.