Use your real estate to pay for retirement

If you or your parents own a house or condo and don’tconsider it to be a “money machine,” you probably haven’t read”Retire on the House” by Gillette Edmunds and Jim Keene. As theauthors emphasize, most homeowners look at their residences only as places tolive. But in recent years, a few wise homeowners have switched their viewpointsto understand their residences are their most profitable investments.

This amazing book reveals virtually every possible way toconvert your residence into a profit-producer, even if you don’t sell it. Thefirst chapter’s title, “Live 30 Years on Your Home Equity,” says itall. It includes a checklist of almost every method to stay in your home (ifyou want to) and use it to produce the income needed for retirement. Or you cansell and enjoy the profit benefits.

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Co-author Gillette Edmunds is retired and, according to thebook cover, “has more than tripled his net worth during retirement.”Jim Keene, presumably younger, is a regional manager for Wells Fargo PrivateClient Services with more than 25 years experience in real estate and otherinvestments. They make an admirable team that has created a superb detailedbook about how typical homes can provide for their owner’s retirement.

The alternatives listed in the book seem endless. Frankly,I’m not too excited about several suggestions, such as converting my residenceinto a boarding house to produce extra income from renters. This is definitelynot a one-size-fits-all book, but it offers many choices to retirees who own ahome but need extra retirement income.

This is the ideal book for current and future retirees whodiscover they don’t have enough income for a comfortable retirement. However,the innovative authors show many different ways to use your home to create thenecessary income.

For example, if you didn’t like the idea of converting yourhouse into rentals or a boarding house (I didn’t), Edmunds and Keene explainmany other choices, such as keeping the house and refinancing with manychoices, selling and moving to a less expensive home, moving to a seniorcommunity, and investing home-sale proceeds for high yields.

By far, the book’s best chapter objectively explains reversemortgages. Having studied reverse mortgages for many years, and read virtuallyall the books and other materials available, I can objectively say this is thebest explanation of the pros and cons of this reverse mortgage income I haveever read.

The authors present the reverse-mortgage facts ineasy-to-understand charts that clearly show the best alternatives for varioussituations. Every homeowner age 62 or older and their adult children shouldstudy this important chapter to understand the often-misunderstood benefits ofreverse mortgages.

The only chapter of the book that I didn’t really understandis the last chapter titled “Never Run Out of Money.” That title suregot my attention. Perhaps it was just too technical for me since I am realestate oriented and the chapter is mostly about investing in mutual funds,stocks, and other non-real estate investments.

Chapter topics include: “Live 30 Years on Your HomeEquity”; “Sell High, Buy Low”; “What is Your HouseWorth?” “Keep the House, Add Tenants”; “Keep the House,Convert into Units”; “Keep the House, Reduce Expenses”;”Keep the House, Refinance”; “Sell and Move On”; “Selland Move to a Senior Community or Second Home”; “High Returns, LowVolatility”; and “Never Run Out of Money.”

This book can be heavy reading, so not more than a chapteror two should be tackled at one sitting. But its content is so valuable everysenior-citizen homeowner should be required to study it. Even if you read onlythe chapter on reverse mortgage benefits, the book is worth many times itsinexpensive price. On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding book rates anoff-the-chart 12.

“Retired on the House,” by Gillette Edmunds andJim Keene (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, NJ), 2006, $18.95, 267 pages;available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries,and

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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