For older homeowners, renting might be better than downsized condo

Posted: July 16, 2012

DEAR HARRY: My wife and I are in our early 80s. So far, we are blessed with good health. We hope to wear out, not rust out. We are both employed with pleasant part-time jobs. Our home has long been paid for and is worth about $250,000. We are seriously considering your statement that it is sometimes better to rent than to own. We have seriously considered downsizing to an apartment, but we always looked at condos. Can you elaborate on why a rental might be better?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Regardless of the size of the rental, that $250,000 will go a long way to paying it. The interest (even at today's minute rates) will also help. In a condo, you will have condo fees and taxes in addition to your investment. If you were younger, the answer would probably be the reverse. There is another consideration for you: a retirement community. These organizations offer an apartment with all kinds of amenities suited for older people. Some even have full lifetime-care options. Before you make your decision, visit several of these places to see what they're like. Don't consider one that is too far away from where you're now living so your adaptation will be easier. If you are able to find a place where you already have some friends, that can be a solid plus . Good luck!

Email Harry Gross at harrygross@phillynews.com or write to him at Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, PO Box 8263 Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood — contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

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