Whom should I consult for advice on whether to sell or rent mom's house? - AgingCare.com

Whom should I consult for advice on whether to sell or rent mom's house?

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Paying for asst. living privately, no Medicaid. My mom is in Alzheimer's assisted living--very expensive. We've been paying for her care through her private funds, but long-term we need to sell or rent her house to subsidize her care. What kind of professional should I consult about the pros and cons of selling vs. renting in her situation? An elder care lawyer? A real estate professional? An accountant? No Medicaid is involved.

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Thanks to all for your helpful advice; you raised some points that I hadn't considered. I didn't know where to begin and fortunately I came across this site and thought I'd try my luck. You've helped a great deal.
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Your answer was in your question...... best to consult an Elder Law attorney.
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What is the situation on the house, like is there a good reason for keeping it? Does someone need it because they otherwise would not have a roof over their head…or is it mom's wish that the house not be sold and she wishes to return to the house….; does someone inherit the house that it will be a significant benefit to; or other reasons to keep the house. I would think about that and if it makes sense for you to do from now till whenever mom dies.

Then I would suggest you go through all the expenses on the house for the past year to see what the "nut" is to maintain the house. Then look at the "majors" on the house - roof, central AC & heat, foundation & also if the electric & plumbing is from this century. These are things you need to have hard facts on to evaluate both for rental or for a realistic sale price. I hope there is no mortgage on it because this seems to be the deal breaker on keeping a house from the get-go as it just gets too expensive to cover a mortgage and the normal expenses on a property for the possible years & year that mom is in a facility.

Now based on the "nut", what do you need to rent it for to cover all of that and extra for maintenance? Is it feasible to get this $ rent and is the neighborhood one where the renters will pay this? How do the neighbors feel about renters too - if mom has neighbors who gladly look out for mom's house as long as it is empty that could change if it's now renters and they don't want renters moving into their neighborhood. Look in the paper & on Craigslist to get comps on rents.

For selling it, having an idea on what majors might need to be repaired or replaced will give you an idea of how much you will have to come off of whatever the asking price is. Or if there are issues (like foundation problems) that will keep the house from ever being sold via FHA. Most Realtors can give you book on the property & the comps easily. To find a Realtor, drive around the neighborhood and look at the signs. There is likely going to be 3 or 4 names that show up the most. I'd call all 4 of those and they will do a work up book for you. You do want to ask them frankly what you need to do to sell the house (like have someone stage it). If it's like most old peoples homes it is filled will all sorts of stuff that needs to go (like those drapes from 1978) and has delayed maintenance or replacement on the "majors". Because of H&G TV everybody expects granite countertops, waterfall showers and energy efficient everything. Mawmaw's house probably isn't that. So again ask the Realtor just what reasonably you could get on the house and also how they approach DOM (days on market) and price reduction.

Unless mom is generationally wealthy, I do think you should not rule out needing Medicaid in the future. If they live long enough, imho they will eventually run out of money. And you will have to apply for Medicaid. So just be careful to keep all the paperwork on the house and where the rent or proceeds have gone. If you have to pay for anything on the house and will be reimbursed for it, please write the checks for the business (like Joe Garcia House Painting rather than just Joe Garcia) and have receipts so that your reimbursement cannot be viewed as gifting by Medicaid.

Most states Medicaid view rental property as a nonexempt asset, so it would have to be sold before mom would be accepted on Medicaid. Keep that in mind too. Good luck and keep a sense of humor going!
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Renting is fine if you are nearby and know how to screen tenants and you can make minor repairs as needed on short notice. If you have to hire a property management company, there is little or no profit in it. Bear in mind the property tax status will change and taxes may go up. Insurance may go up on non-owner occupation. See what nearby rents go for.
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First consult the estate attorney for moms property and find out implications to the estate, Etc. Then consult a few respected quality real estate agents in the area for appraisal for selling and rental. If you rent, are you local? Can you manage the rental long distance? Do you want to.

That's where I would start. Do you have DPOA to make financial decisions on behalf of mom?
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