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Isar Estate

Founder: Dipl.-Kfm. Christian Dürr

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    Real estate in old age: sell the house or keep it?

    Selling property in old age

    The feeling of being at home can mean many things. It can be associated with a person, a city or simply an apartment or a house. In any case, one's own four walls are an important place of retreat for most people and are also associated with many memories. Especially in old age, the own home becomes even more the center of life, often residents have spent most of your life here.

    However, as people age, their needs and requirements for their own homes can change dramatically. Perhaps the property is not age-appropriate. For example, the location may no longer be ideal due to a lack of infrastructure, such as no shopping facilities within walking distance, or the house may simply be too large after the children have moved out and maintenance very costly.

    Owners are then faced with the difficult and very personal decision of what to do with their home in old age. We show you when it makes sense to sell your own house or apartment in old age, what alternatives to selling are possible and how you can continue to live in your property despite selling it.

    Your property in old age: These options are available to you

    There are various options for what you can do with your property in old age. In our guide, we provide you with an overview so that you can make this difficult decision in an informed and best possible way. We present the following options:

    • Keep house and live in it yourself
    • Sell house and live in it yourself
    • Classic house sale with relocation

    Which of the options is the best for you depends on your personal needs and ideas. As real estate agents in the Munich area, we are happy to support you with professional expertise and positive energy to make the right decision for you.

    Keeping your property in old age

    It makes sense to consider keeping and living in your property as a senior citizen. There are often fond memories and profound emotions associated with owning a home. The neighborhood and surroundings are familiar and friends and possibly family live nearby. The idea of leaving the beloved home and familiar surroundings often seems unpleasant and stressful.

    In addition to the understandable emotional motivations, it is also important to make some rational considerations. These include the preparation of a detailed cost analysis. It is a financial advantage that living in one's own property does not incur any monthly rental or housing costs, such as paying for a retirement home. At the same time, however, owning your own home incurs many ongoing costs and fees. Therefore, future maintenance and repair costs should also be considered in the cost analysis. Individual tasks such as cooking, cleaning or gardening must be performed by external service providers if they can no longer be done by the homeowner. In some cases, this can mean a significant additional financial burden. Therefore, it is important to really consider all cost factors in the calculation.

    Another important point to consider early on is adapting your home to suit your age. The extent of the structural change depends on your own physical fitness. Barrier-free entrances, a stair lift or grab rails on walls may ensure that you can continue to move around your home safely and without restrictions. If you can take the above precautions, your property will ideally meet their needs even in old age.

    The sale of the house in old age with relocation

    When the home or neighborhood no longer suits one's age or personal goals, selling one's property is often a sensible step.

    Selling a house or apartment is a complex process in which all the individual procedures should be carefully thought out and coordinated. This applies to sellers of all ages. For older owners in particular, the sale is often especially emotionally stressful, since the move also means saying goodbye to a familiar environment with many memories. At the same time, however, selling for reasons of age has a liberating effect on many people and is the right decision for the future. For example, it becomes possible to use the proceeds to fulfill a long-cherished lifelong dream or to move closer to children and relatives in order to spend retirement surrounded by loved ones.

    However, another reason for selling may be that your current living space has become too large after the children have moved out and you now feel lonely in your house or apartment. A smaller property may then be the perfect solution for you. At the same time, moving to a smaller apartment or house reduces the amount of time you spend on household chores and maintenance. This gives you more free time to pursue your hobbies, relax or take care of your grandchildren.

    Also, if major renovations are coming up in the near future or the age-appropriate conversion of your property is not possible, selling it may be a viable option for you.

    As an experienced real estate agent, we will take care of all the steps necessary for the optimal sale of your house or apartment. We put your needs at the center of everything we do. To this end, we listen to you in peace and inform you about the important points to consider when selling your property and how we can support you as a strong partner with our all-round service. You can find more information about our service here:




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    For a precise assessment, we are at your disposal personally.

    Sell house in old age and live in it yourself

    Is a sale unavoidable for you, for example for financial reasons? At the same time, you can't imagine parting with your familiar surroundings? What do you do if you would like to stay in your home, but need the proceeds from the sale to maintain your standard of living in old age? There are certainly ways to sell your house or apartment and continue to live in it at the same time:

    • Right of residence
    • Reverse Mortgage
    • Life annuity
    • Usufruct

    Below we present these four options.

    House sale with right of residence

    When selling a house with a right of residence, the buyers grant you a so-called lifelong right of residence. This makes sense, for example, when selling a larger residential building with several residential units, as both parties, i.e. the seller and the new owners, can use the property at the same time. The variant of joint living in the same house is most often found when the buyer and seller are related to each other or are very close for other reasons. Also for buyers who are looking for a house or apartment as an investment, buying your property with a life-long right of residence can be quite attractive.

    However, one should be aware that a sale that is linked to the condition of a lifelong right of residence also entails disadvantages. On the one hand, the chances of a sale are reduced because there are fewer buyers who agree to the condition of a lifelong right of residence - so the target group of possible buyers is narrowed down accordingly. And the sales proceeds will also be lower than in a conventional sale, since the new owner cannot initially benefit from the property due to your right of residence. If you find a suitable buyer, your lifelong right of residence is regulated by the notarized purchase contract and entered in the second section of the land register. As the new owner, the buyer is thus legally bound to grant you the contractually agreed right of residence.

    House sale against reverse mortgage

    In the case of a reverse mortgage, you can also stay in your own home until the end of your life while receiving regular payments on your property.

    A reverse mortgage is a bank loan that is secured by your real estate. The big difference between this and a normal real estate loan is that no interest and principal payments have to be made from your current income during your lifetime.

    In contrast to the sale of a house with a right of residence, under a reverse mortgage you remain the owner of the property with a lifelong right of residence. With this option, there is no change of ownership until the end of your life. Unless otherwise contractually agreed, the previous owner continues to be responsible for the necessary renovation work. At the end of the owner's life, the loan is either repaid or the property becomes the property of the lender.

    Whether a reverse mortgage is worthwhile cannot be answered in a generalized way and depends on the individual case. If you are the owner of a largely debt-free property, have no heirs close to you, and would like to have more money at your free disposal in retirement, a reverse mortgage may be right for you. However, it should be noted that the reverse mortgage is generally a very expensive loan. This is because the bank includes large discounts in the valuation of the home due to the risk of a longer than statistically calculated useful life, and the interest rates and fees are also significantly higher than for standard real estate financing.

    House sale against annuity

    Similar to the case of the reverse mortgage, with the annuity you can continue to live in your property. With both options, you do not have to pay rent and already receive money for your house or apartment during your lifetime. While with the reverse mortgage the payment of the loan amount is possible once or as a recurring annuity, with the life annuity it is usually a recurring payment. At the same time, however, it is also possible to agree on a one-time down payment at the beginning.

    The main difference between reverse mortgage and annuity lies in the question of ownership. Unlike with a reverse mortgage, with a life annuity there is a sale and therefore a change of ownership after the notarized purchase agreement has been signed and subsequently entered in the land register. Your rights, such as the lifelong rent-free right of residence, are secured by an entry in the land register. The purchase price for a life annuity is calculated by deducting from the market price of the property the value of the lifelong free right of residence, calculated using statistical parameters. This purchase price is then usually paid out as a regular monthly, quarterly or annual annuity.

    A life annuity makes sense above all if you want to stay in your own property in old age, preferably without debt, but at the same time there is a need for additional capital, there are no heirs and you, as the owner, want to hand over responsibility for maintaining the apartment or house.

    Sell or give away house with usufruct

    Another special form of real estate sale is usufruct. Here, too, you are entitled to a lifelong right of residence. The so-called usufructuary right must be notarized and is entered in the land register. Similar to the life annuity, the house or apartment is actually sold. In contrast to the life annuity or the sale with a lifelong right of residence, however, you as the former owner have significantly more extensive rights: Here, you are not only allowed to occupy the property yourself, but also to rent it out and keep the rental income generated.

    The sale of real estate with usufructuary rights often takes place for tax considerations as part of anticipated succession. In this way, a later inheritance tax can be reduced or even avoided in the case of larger assets. The basic idea here is to transfer ownership of the house or apartment to the heirs during their lifetime in the form of a gift and to take advantage of the gift allowances available every 10 years. At the same time, one retains the usufructuary right, i.e. the right to continue to occupy or rent out the property oneself.


    To decide on the sale of the owner-occupied property in old age, many emotional and rational factors must be considered. Whether it is worth it or not, and what other options are available for you and your property, should be thoroughly discussed. The important thing is that you ultimately feel comfortable with your choice.

    It often helps to involve an independent person. This person can look at your situation from a different point of view and, if necessary, show you new perspectives. As an experienced real estate agent, we will be happy to advise you with empathy and expertise and support you in making the best decision for you.

    Do you have questions about selling or keeping real estate in retirement?

    We will be happy to advise you!


    Despite careful research and checking of the sources, the author assumes no liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information presented. In case of unclear legal and tax questions, it is advisable to consult a lawyer and/or tax advisor for clarification.

    Author: Dipl.-Kfm. Christian Dürr

    Image credit: stock photo, 513479768, JohnnyGreig