Empty Nest – Helping Downsize our clients

The McKinley’s are one of the sweetest couples I know. They’ve been married nearly 50 years and still treat one another as if they were on their honeymoon. They’re retired and have become world class travelers and wine connoisseurs. As a matter of fact, many of their most recent international travels have centered around the world’s popular wine regions such as France, Argentina and Australia. To call them bon vivants would be an understatement. They truly know how to enjoy themselves; they’re always laughing, cracking jokes and telling great stories.

Recently, they concluded that it was time to make a change in their living arrangement. They’d been living in their large five-bedroom family home (which they bought in the mid 80’s)- and both of their adult children live out of state with no prospect of returning to San Diego. As I mentioned, Dan and Artie love to travel; and when they do- they go for weeks on end, having to leave their huge empty nest unoccupied.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the home sits on a half-acre lot with lush tropical landscape and a pool. It’s a lot of house for just two persons. They realized that although it would be difficult to part with all the memories, nostalgia and emotional attachment; it was time to downsize their home. Their new retired lifestyle required that they buy something smaller, with less maintenance. But, they also wanted to be near entertainment, restaurants and the airport (of course).

After exploring some options, we concluded that a downtown San Diego condo would be the best fit, specifically the Little Italy neighborhood. We found a large 2-bedroom condo in the heart of Little Italy. The 2nd bedroom would allow them the flexibility to host guests, as they often have friends stay with them. The large living room affords them the possibility to host “Wine Night.” The Best part though, is that their complex is smack dab in the middle of Little Italy and they can walk to many of the newest and hippest restaurants in San Diego. And, the bonus? They’re a short Uber ride to the airport!

One of the major objections and concerns many empty nesters have about selling their large home and downsizing is the impact on property taxes. In California, property taxes are reassessed at purchase (per prop 13) and property taxes increase according to the newly assessed value which typically fall in line with market values. So many individuals shy away from selling because of potential for a substantial increase in annual cost in taxes – letting their equity sit.

What many don’t know, is that in California we have Propositions 60 and 90 which allow persons 55 years of age or older to be able to sell their current primary residence, purchase a new primary residence (of equal or lesser value) and take their current tax assessment with them – allowing them to keep the same tax base and save $$$$! Prop 60 allows individuals to transfer their tax assessment within their same county and Prop 90 allows for inter-county transfers of tax assessment (note: not all California counties participate and approval of the transfer by participating counties is at the county’s discretion). These propositions are a great benefit for seniors to take advantage of to help aid in a downsizing move and enhance their lifestyles.

The McKinley’s took advantage of proposition 60. I sold their huge suburban home in the high $500k’s and they bought their luxury downtown condo in the mid $550ks. Had they NOT utilized the benefit of Prop 60, their annual property taxes would be hovering in the $7,000 range – instead, they were able to transfer their tax assessment and their property taxes are in the $3,000 range! That’s a huge savings, not to mention the money and time they’re saving not having to water and maintain a large yard, servicing the pool and general maintenance of a huge home. It was a win-win on all fronts.

This type of move is not for everyone, but I highly recommend using the benefits of props 60 or 90 for seniors who find themselves in a huge empty nest that has become a burden to maintain. It’s also been of benefit for clients of mine who have moved to or from San Diego to be closer to adult children and grandchildren – enhancing their lifestyle and increasing their happiness! Are you ready to make the move?

If you have any questions about Prop 60/90 and to see if you can take advantage contact us today!

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