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  • Jackie Mayo

Six Options to Pay for a Home Modification to Age in Place

Homeowners often get stuck in the mindset that they can't afford to do any home modification which will allow them to age in place safely. Delaying some modifications could lead to higher costs in the short term and could actually add to significant household costs over the long term. Let's look at six possible options to pay for home modifications.

  1. Personal Savings

  2. Home Equity Line of Credit

  3. Refinance an existing mortgage

  4. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage - called HECM

  5. Family Resources

  6. Local nonprofit or other charitable resources usually reserved for low-income households


Personal savings are often the quickest way to pay for a home modification. Yes, it is often hard to part ways with hard earned and saved money. Isn't your safety important? Those savings spent on your aging in place plan could actually save you dollars because you created a safer home environment and potentially lessened your risk of becoming injured and needing medical care. What if you have knee or hip replacement and could come home to a zero step entrance, wider doorways and walk in shower instead of having to go to a rehab facility for an extended period of time? Your savings used in this way can actually save you money and allow you to be at home where you like to be. A home equity line of credit, refinancing an existing mortgage, and a home equity conversion mortgage (a reverse mortgage) are loans that will require you to have existing equity in your home. There are a costs to these loans, but these loans could open up greater possibilities for your home modification needs. A HECM requires housing counseling because of the cost to originate the loan, but for someone who has a lot of equity in their home, a small monthly income and doesn't want to pay for a mortgage, this might be a good solution to learn more about.

A family member or members may opt to provide the resources to assist with some or all of the modifications. Have a discussion with your family about your long term plans and desires about aging in place. Work together as a team to come up with the best solutions that fit your needs now and in the later years.

In some communities there are nonprofits that may be able to assist with some modifications. These programs are often targeted to low-income seniors and can help with things like building a ramp or doing small repairs that will increase the safety of the home. Check with your local HUD Housing Counseling agency for referral resources or your local United Way Agency to see if they can recommend a resource for assistance.

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