While the benefits of downsizing may be clear — less stuff and less stress — deciding on a plan of action may be a challenge. For seniors opting to downsize, navigating what to do with your existing home is often the most crucial decision.

Should You Sell Your Home to Downsize?

For many seniors, downsizing becomes a financial necessity. However, if you decide not to sell your existing home yet move elsewhere, figuring out what you can afford is a priority.

Calculate both your monthly income and expenses and plan to spend no more than 28 percent of your gross income on a mortgage payment, NBC News’ expert recommends. Setting a budget and tracking incoming and outgoing amounts can help you spend wisely. With those figures in mind, you’re less likely to feel tempted by homes outside your means.

Also, consider how much you’ll need for a down payment — a conventional mortgage requires 20 percent or more down. Alternative mortgage programs like USDA or FHA loans can lower the up-front expense, but you still need cash reserves for closing fees and moving costs.

Pros and Cons of Selling a House in Order to Downsize

The benefits of selling your home when downsizing include perks like having the cash to put down on a new house. Plus, depending on the type of property you purchase, you could reduce home maintenance expenses, which average about $1 per square foot per year. Energy bills could be lower, too, if you move to a smaller or more energy-efficient home.

Of course, there are drawbacks to selling your house, such as the emotional turmoil involved with leaving memories behind. Local market trends can also impact your bottom line and complicate finances, especially if you still owe on a mortgage.

Appraisal via comparable properties is standard in real estate, and comparable factors cover location, economic, legal, and physical aspects. Essentially, your listing price depends on what other homes in the neighborhood offer and the sales price they net.

Selling (or Buying) with Pocket Listings

Not sure you want to list your home for sale publicly — and deal with strangers traipsing through to view it? A pocket listing might be a perfect solution; it allows you to put your home up for sale more privately than in a widely published MLS listing. You can also use a pocket listing service such as HomeQT to search for a new home.

Pros & Cons of Renting Out Your Home to Downsize

One benefit of renting your existing home is that you will have a steady source of income, even in retirement. You also have the option to sell the house later or pass it on to family, if you change your mind. In short, renting isn’t a permanent decision, so it is a less emotional one to make. While rental income typically does not affect your social security earnings, SF Gate notes that the amount of rent you collect monthly can impact your overall income, thereby influencing your Social Security benefit. This is one potential con to becoming a landlord during retirement.

Other negatives include landlord responsibilities like pest removal, ensuring that the plumbing remains functional, and performing other maintenance tasks. Of course, you can hire a property manager, but you’ll be giving them a portion of each month’s rent to handle your renters.

Pros and Cons of Passing Your Home to Family

Instead of renting, you may decide to give your home to your family. For many older adults, knowing their children or grandchildren will benefit makes this a less emotionally tricky decision.

However, financial complications can make the transition stressful. Depending on how you transfer the home to loved ones, you or they may wind up paying hefty taxes afterward. The famous one-dollar sale is also not a good idea, as it costs you in gift tax and your family member in capital gains tax if they sell the property.

Deciding whether to sell, rent, or keep your home in the family can be challenging. But the benefits of downsizing are clear and a significant motivation toward making this tough choice.

Contributed by Jim Vogel of elderaction.org

Open the Door to Pocket Listings

HomeQT Pocket listings are homes that are for sale, but not publicly listed in the multiple listing service or real estate portals. Usually a real estate agent knows an owner is willing to sell, but who is unwilling to have it publicly listed for sale.  The hard part is finding pocket listings, and that is what HomeQT makes easy.  Instead of searching through a database of homes that are listed for sale that everybody knows about already, home buyers simply describe exactly what they want in “natural language” as shown here, then HomeQT starts delivering matching homes right to the buyers’ inbox.

Find Pocket Listings for Free

Local area agents are made aware that there is a buyer with certain requirements looking for a home. The buyer’s name and contact information are not disclosed by HomeQT until the buyer chooses to learn more about a certain home. Then they are free to contact the agent at no cost.HomeQT Show Hide Keyboard HomeQT does not charge the buyer any per house fees nor take any referral fee from the agent or broker. Using HomeQT to find private listings gives you, the home buyer, a leg up on others looking to buy that perfect home. While others are using the same tools as everybody else, you have the key to the secret pocket listings.

Using HomeQT gives home buyers an advantage. Agents will often know of a few pocket listings themselves, but most don’t know about all the other agent’s pocket listings. By using HomeQT, the buyer gets access to all the agents pocket listings. Thus, they have a greater likelihood of finding their home, and the seller has a chance to privately find the right buyer.

Get Started Today

Sign-up for free today to start taking advantage of the power of HomeQT to find those secret hip pocket listings.

  • Tell HomeQT what you are looking for, look at some of the examples on our site. Describe it in "Natural Language" - like you would if you were telling a friend what your perfect home would be.
  • Area of Interest. Please enter the closest: State, County, City or Town, and Zip Code(s) of area you are interested in purchasing a home. * = Required


The importance of using HomeQT.com in the Starter Home Market.

Affordability in the starter home market continues to tighten dramatically.  Starter home prices have risen 9.6% in the last year. In fact, for the bottom third of the market, starter homes in San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles now require OVER 100% of income!

House in cloud

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Starter home inventory in Los Angeles, CA is down 9.8% year over year according to Trulia’s Inventory and Price Watch data. [Download Data]

Given the tight inventory, it makes sense for all home buyers to use www.HomeQT.com to find out about pocket listings, coming soon listings, whisper listings, etc.  Home Buyers must know about every home on the market, and the simple fact is that not all homes are listed in the multiple listing service (MLS). And, those that are listed are seen by everybody.  HomeQT gives home buyers an advantage in finding the home they want.

HomeQT Cost

Most importantly, HomeQT.com is free for Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and REALTORS™ interested in pocket listings.

Pocket Listing Price Ranges

Pocket Listings cover all price ranges. There is a misconception that pocket listings are only for the ultra-high-end homes sold and bought by celebrities and billionaires. The reality is much different. Home sellers at all levels use pocket listings to sell a home. Realtors may want to see what the market interest is before putting it in the MLS (not to mention, they may earn the full commission instead of splitting it with another Realtor).  If the right offer comes in, the house is sold and was never listed.  Buyers that only use the MLS to find homes are at a big disadvantage to the smart home buyers who registered with HomeQT.com for free to find their next home.

How to Find a Pocket Listing

Young Couple searching for homes on web

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home buyers have a choice. They can have their Realtor ask around to their circle of agents they work with about what pocket listings they have or know about. Or, the home buyer can try contacting all the agents in the area themselves, which at best will result in much wasted time for both the buyers and Realtors. The home buyer’s best choice is to use www.HomeQT.com for free and tell virtually all the Realtors in the area what they are looking for in a home, and have the Realtors that know of suitable pocket listings, coming soon, and other off market homes for sale respond to them.  It’s a win-win-win for the Home Buyer, the Home Seller, and the Realtor.

Pocket Listing Request

In reviewing requests from Home Buyers looking for pocket listings, we see the importance of a detailed description.

For example, HomeQT.com recently received a Home Buyer request.

Here is the exact request for a pocket listing in Silicon Valley:
“I am looking for a single family home less than $900,000 In Milpitas, San Jose (Berryessa neighborhood), Newark, Milpitas in California.” Read more

Tanza Loudenback, BusinessInsider.com
Oct. 16, 2017

HomeQT – The best way to search for homes.

The average first-time homebuyer spends 40% of their income on housing. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

It’s house-hunting season.

Between October and December each year, starter home inventory in the US gets a 7% boost, according to new data from Trulia.

In 70 of the 100 largest US metros, the number of starter homes on the market reaches its annual peak during this time, meaning those looking to buy their first home will have more to choose from this time of year.

Trulia defines a starter home as any listing priced below $232,751, based on weighted averages from the 100 largest metro areas in the US. In the third quarter of 2017, the median listing price of a starter home was $171,624.

The next tier, trade-up homes, are categorized as any listing priced between $232,752 and $360,469. A listing above that threshold is considered a premium home.

The number of homes available for first-time buyers the US tends to fall between July and September, when trade-up and premium home inventory is at its peak.

Since 2012, starter home inventories in the summer months have declined by as much as 20.4%, driving prices up and rendering homeownership unattainable for many young Americans.

Starter home inventory peaks in fall, but the best time to buy a home is winter.

Though starter home listings begin to increase and reach a peak during the fall, buyers looking for their first home will find better deals by waiting to make an offer until after the holidays. By the time January rolls around, according to Trulia, prices for all categories of homes drop to their lowest prices.

Think of it as shopping the sale rack — swimsuits are moved to the clearance rack when stores need to make room for winter coats. Homeowners who have had their house on the market since summer or fall will be extra motivated to sell during winter, even if that means accepting a lower price.

According to Trulia, the average first-time homebuyer has to put nearly 40% of their income toward their mortgage payments — 2.3% more than last year. That’s a far cry from the standard measure of housing affordability, which says Americans should spend 30% or less of their pre-tax income on housing.

For first-time homebuyers in particular, house hunting during peak inventory season — but waiting to buy — could pay off. You’ll be able to explore what’s out there and refine your list of “wants” and “needs” before you have to act fast when prices are low after the holidays.

Read the original article on BusinessInsider.com. Copyright 2017. Follow BusinessInsider.com on Twitter

Forbes Article about selling a mid-level priced home through a pocket listing

Zac Posen sold his Manhattan home for $1,150,000 through an off-market pocket listing, sometimes referred to as a whisper listing. Troy McMullen’s Forbes article about the sale describes the advantages of a pocket listing, and the mis-conception that pocket listings are limited to homes priced over $10,000,000.

The rise in popularity comes as the number of listings at lower price points continues to shrink.

At HomeQT, everyday home buyers are registering to find homes priced in all range of prices.  Yes, we do have buyers looking for multi-million dollar priced dream homes.  We also have buyers searching for homes priced in the $300,000 and more range. Read more

A Pocket Listing in the Historic Hancock Park Area of Los Angeles

was the key to Mindy Kaling’s dream home.

“I was specific about Hancock Park,” she says, adding that finding her dream house wasn’t as easy as she had hoped. “It’s one of these places that no one ever leaves. I fell in love with three houses, but I kept losing to these Chinese billionaires who were paying in all cash. I wish I were an Indian billionaire. Finally, I found a house that wasn’t listed—a pocket listing—and I came in over asking.”

Read the full article about how Mindy Kaling found and renovated her Hancock Park home in Architectural Digest 

If you have a specific neighborhood you would like to live in, but cannot seem to find the right home listed for sale. It may be for sale, but not listed.  Use HomeQT.com to describe to local Realtors exactly what you are looking for in the neighborhood, and they will you let you know about the unlisted homes for sale.

2017 NAR HOME Survey GraphAccording to the 2017 NAR HOME Survey from the first quarter of 2017, 72 percent of people believe that now is a good time to buy a home.

Home buyers looking for the right house in the Spring of 2017 find many resources available on the internet.  It is easy to find every MLS listed house on multiple websites, and there are thousands of buyers looking at those same listings, hoping they are accurate, up to date, and available. Buyers and their REALTORS should definitely search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to see if the right home is available. If it is, then make an offer and hopefully end up with a great house!

However, it is important to not overlook a large source of available homes that, up to now, have not been as easy to find as a quick MLS search.  HomeQT provides Real Estate Pocket Listings to buyers and their REALTORS.  Read more

Some interesting takeaways from a new Luxury Portfolio Report on Wealthy Homebuyers.

  • Quality is not a differentiator – it’s expected.
  • Homebuyers will see many great properties – SHOW ME THE SPECIAL PROPERTY!!!
    • Privacy
    • Luxury Bathroom
    • Open Floor Plan
    • Outdoor Living & Entertaining Areas

$1 Million to $2 Million Buyer


$2 Million to $5 Million Buyer


$5 Million & Above Buyer

At HomeQT all buyers, including affluent buyers, can find local pocket listings of unlisted homes for sale.

To our Home Buyers, Home Sellers, and Real Estate Professionals who celebrate Christmas, we at HomeQT wish you a very merry Christmas with peace and goodwill to all. Read more

Pocket Listings and Time

time-managementIn today’s world, buyers and sellers of homes are looking for services that help protect one of their most important assets – TIME.

When homes are listed on the MLS, sellers can expect that they will get that call from a REALTOR® telling them they have a possible buyer interested in viewing their home, and requesting to show it as soon as possible. The seller then spends time straightening-up, turning on lights, airing out the house, and other activities to make sure their home is presented in its best light. Read more

A HomeQT.com pocket listing is a great way to find serious home buyers, while keeping out the lookie loos.

These Real-Life Ghostbusters Will Help Sell Your Haunted House
Who you gonna call? Some psychics and paranormal investigators charge hundreds of dollars to clear homes of unwanted spirits


Lots of things can thwart a home sale—ugly décor, a bad location or an unrealistic price. But some homeowners and real-estate agents cite another reason: ghosts.

For help, there’s a cottage industry of people who advertise themselves as psychics, ghostbusters and paranormal investigators. Some charge hundreds of dollars to visit “haunted” properties—either in person, or via astral travel—and “clear” them of unwanted spirits. Others are volunteer ghostbusters who comb homes with high-tech gear to suss out paranormal activity.

Jane Phillips, a paranormal investigator and self-described clearer in Santa Fe, N.M., markets her services to real-estate agents because “it’s easier to get them to pay for something if it gets their houses sold.” Ms. Phillips, 65, was a mortgage banker for 30 years in Minneapolis, before moving to New Mexico in 2008, she said. Since then she has worked on hundreds of homes, mostly locally, charging about $350 to $400.

Jobs require her to remove “energetic things,” that can include ghosts but can also be portals—energetic holes connected to planets—as well as what she calls dark energies, which are “energies from other dimensions,” she said. The work mostly occurs “in my imagination—but my imagination is real,” said Ms. Phillips.

Suzanne Taylor, the broker/owner of Taylor Properties in Santa Fe, hired Ms. Phillips for six of her home listings, paying between $500 and $750 for services. She recently brought her in on a house listed for about $300,000 in Santa Fe. Ms. Phillips came into the house carrying “dowsing rods,” crooked rods that are traditionally used as divination tools for finding buried treasure or water.

“She holds them and walks around the house and the rods move on their own,” said Ms. Taylor. At the end of the process, Ms. Phillips said she created a “white blanket of light” in her mind to “lift out any stray energies.”

Shortly thereafter, “I got an offer and closed it,” Ms. Taylor said.