Start Early to Prepare Your Home for Retirement | Personal finance

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Likewise, investments in energy efficiency could help you avoid big bills when you are less able to pay them. Adding insulation, installing a smart thermostat, and choosing energy-efficient appliances can help. In sunnier climates, solar panels can significantly reduce your energy costs.

Also consider maintenance. You may want to replace a labor-intensive grassy yard and flower beds with less-maintenance landscaping. You can replace the siding that needs to be painted every few years with a more durable option, such as vinyl, fiber cement, or modified wood. Decluttering can make your place easier to navigate and clean.

Build your capital

You can still face big bills or struggle to make ends meet in retirement. In this case, the equity in your home could come in handy. You could access the value of your home by selling it, using a reverse mortgage, or getting a home equity line of credit.

But you can’t leverage the equity you don’t have. In 2016, 46% of homeowners aged 65 to 79 still had mortgage debt, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The median balance owed was $ 77,000.

A mortgage in retirement is not ideal for many people, say financial planners. Few people get a significant tax benefit from their mortgage, and having to make the payments can cause people to use up their retirement savings more quickly.

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