Using a Reverse Mortgage to Fund Home Improvement Projects

Take a moment to think of your “dream home.” If you’re envisioning your current home and all of its comforts, congratulations – you’re living the dream!  

But if your mind is wandering to a new expansive kitchen, open-concept main floor, or sparkly clean bathroom straight out of your favorite HGTV show, you may find yourself yearning to make some renovations or home improvements. The good news is that you’re in great company – according to a recent report, about 95% of homeowners indicated plans to take on a major home improvement project in the next five years.1 

And while the results of a renovation or home improvement project could be exciting, there are plenty of reasons homeowners don’t follow through on their initial plans. From the disruption of construction or demolition, to finding a reputable contractor or trustworthy business, there are plenty of reasons why homeowners ultimately abandon their home improvement dreams. But above all else, perhaps the biggest reason is this – the cost. Of the 95% of homeowners who planned to take on a major home improvement project, only 50% reported that they could afford it at the moment.1 According to Architectural Digest, remodeling a bathroom could cost anywhere between $9,000-$20,000, while kitchen renovations could run you $10,000-$50,000.2 Talk about an investment! 

Is a Home Renovation or Improvement Project Right for You? 
If you’re considering a home renovation, the biggest question to ask yourself is this – how long do you plan on staying in the home? If you’re part of the 75% of people over age 50 wanting to “age in place” and stay in your home well into advanced retirement years,3 the cost associated with home projects or renovations could pay off in dividends. In addition to transforming your house into your dream home, renovation also presents the opportunity to make modifications conducive to aging needs. Just consider some of the following home improvement projects and “aging in place” modifications to make your current home your dream home not just for today, but for many years to come. 

  • Easily Maneuverable Kitchens: Let’s start by addressing the most used room in a home – the kitchen! From morning coffee or tea to meal preparation, and even entertaining loved ones, the kitchen is truly the hub of a home. As such, you’ll want your kitchen to not just be stylish but, above all else, functional. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, be sure to account for counter space adjacent to or opposite major appliances for easy maneuverability. You may also want to consider cabinets with roll out trays and lazy susans, pull-down shelving, and open shelving for your most frequently used items. And when it comes to appliances, consider a side-by-side refrigerator and freezer combination and even installing your microwave oven at counter height to avoid strenuous reaching. 
  • Accessible Bathrooms: When it comes to a bathroom remodel, taking accessibility into account is key. With this in mind, you’ll want to ensure your new and improved bathroom has ample space to move about. Ideally, you should have at least one wheelchair maneuverable bathroom on the main level of the house with an acceptable turning radius for the possibility of mobility needs down the line.  If you’re looking to update your bathroom furnishings, consider upgrading your toilet to one that is slightly higher (17-19 inches), commonly referred to as “chair height,” or one that can be height adjustable as needed. Finally, opt for a walk-in curb-less shower with slip-resistant flooring for easiest access. You may also consider installing plenty of lighting and an adjustable or handheld shower head with a 6-foot hose. 
  • Helpful Technology: With so many seniors opting to “age in place,” the innovation of smart home technology has surged to meet this shifting demographic. From smart/automated lighting solutions, to smart locks and security systems, smart video doorbells, voice-activated virtual assistants, and even automatic stove shutoff devices, today’s technology can help change the way we go about our daily lives – especially at home. In addition to the latest tech and smart devices, be sure to incorporate smart sensors to detect fire and check carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide levels into your renovation or home improvement project so your home is always a true safe haven

Funding Home Improvement Projects with Home Equity 

While home improvement projects are certainly an exciting opportunity to transform your home, as noted earlier, they have the potential to be quite costly. And if you’re striving to make “aging in place” modifications but don’t have a chunk of savings ready, the prospect of these improvements could seem daunting. Fortunately, you may have access to an additional source of cash flow right within your home –equity. Tapping into your home equity with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) – also known as a reverse mortgage, could provide an additional source of cash flow for retirement years. Money received from a reverse mortgage can be used in any way you like – such as making improvements or “aging in place” modifications to your home. Better yet, with a reverse mortgage, there are no monthly mortgage payments required as long as you keep current with your loan obligations, like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.   

Ready to Get Started? 

If you’re interested in tapping into home equity to fund your home improvement projects, the reverse mortgage professionals at Longbridge Financial can help. At Longbridge, we’re committed to responsibly helping homeowners reshape their financial future by educating them on reverse mortgages – and helping them unlock the power of their homes. Our team of consultants can answer any questions you may have and will help you determine if the reverse mortgage program is right for you. We’re also a proud partner of the National Aging in Place Council® (NAIPC) and are proud to have a Certified Gerontologist, Kelly Rogers, on staff full-time as part of our team. 

See why over 1.3 million Americans have already made a reverse mortgage part of their financial plan for retirement.4 Contact the Longbridge team today. 

1. https://www.realestatewitch.com/true-cost-homeownership-2023/ 

2. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/cost-to-renovate-a-house 

3. https://www.aarp.org/pri/topics/livable-communities/housing/2021-home-community-preferences/ 

4. https://www.nrmlaonline.org/annual-hecm-endorsement-chart 

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