March 31, 2013

That told me they were serious. But could I help?

danBy Dan Dolan
Dan Dolan Homes

As the couple drove up to my open house I could see they were carrying a notebook. That told me they were serious. But could I help? This is what I told them.

The woman greeted me first and indicated they wanted to downsize their living space with everything on one floor to eliminate stairs. They also now wanted to find housing that would not require a monthly outlay of cash, except for the usual taxes, utilities, insurance, etc. “What can you suggest?” they asked. I had some ideas.

The couple indicated they were planning on selling their current two-story home in Bettendorf worth about $160,000 and finding a new home that would leave them with some money left over “for a rainy day.” I asked if they had been reading my advertising about Reverse Mortgages for Purchase. They had, and they had some questions. They were both over age 64 – age 76, in fact.

I described one of our new homes under construction at Stone Gate East just off Eastern Avenue in East Davenport. Two bedrooms, two baths, two car garage, full basement, three-season room overlooking the back yard with stairs and a small concrete pad. A great back yard for the bird feeders, with an easy access to refill them. Main floor laundry, walk-in shower, no-step entry, high efficiency cooling and heating and the exclusive Dan Dolan insulated concrete “silent wall” between units. Over 1,400 sq.ft. of finished living space, plus the three-season room and unfinished basement. $249,900. What did they think, I asked. They thought about it and concluded the home met their needs well, especially since it was just off 53rd Street and convenient to medical, banking and shopping. “We’ll even save on transportation,” they added.

As one financing possibility, given their respective ages, I indicated that with a reverse mortgage for purchase, they could move into this brand new home for a one-time payment of $90,000 or so, with no further mortgage payments ever. With the $160,000 estimated proceeds from the sale of their existing home, they could make the one-time down payment and have some $70,000 left over for investment, savings or for gifting to the family. They liked that idea.

The pleasant surprise: The Davenport Now Tax Incentive Program would further rebate them around $6,000 up front, to help them make a few payments on the new GM Volt they were considering or maybe pay for the next vacation cruise that was being offered by the local Plus-60 group.

I reiterated the fact that now is the best time to make their buying decision. For instance, my building materials supplier recently told me prices are NOT dropping any further, and there’s evidence of increases in the offing. My suppliers of electrical, concrete, heating and related services have indicated they are at rock-bottom pricing now, but not for long.

And when last I looked, land prices are not declining either. On the contrary, the prices of quality, buildable lots in desirable and convenient locations are edging up, with strong suggestions of rising further.

Mortgage rates? They are still at historically low levels, but have also been edging up slightly in recent weeks. And the signs are for steady increases for as long as the eye can see. Even for seniors not planning to finance their own homes, buyers of their current home may be looking to finance and the lower the mortgage rates the greater the number of potential buyers who can qualify to buy their existing home. Moreover, the local real estate market is very strong and some of my buyers have sold their existing homes in less than a month. Again, sooner is better than later.

The senior couple said they had considered one of the attractive new independent living facilities in the area but with monthly costs of around $3,000 and the fact that those costs seem to keep rising, they could easily see how they would run out of money in just a few years. More traditional housing like ours, that was geared to senior needs, seemed to be the preferred solution they thought.

The decision to move from a home of some 20 years or more to a new home is not to be taken lightly. But at Dan Dolan Homes, we have worked with dozens of seniors who have made that transition and now remain more convinced than ever that it was the right thing to do. And we can help there, too.

We are about half sold out at Stone Gate East but we have wonderful home sites remaining. Our model home is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., and our Realtor staff will be happy to help you with your site and home selection. If you have any questions, call me at (563) 570-1460 or call Don Gibeault at (563) 650-8007. Come out and visit with us this weekend.