How To Retire In Place

Today we’re going to discuss how to retire in place. We’re going to focus on the value of modifying your existing home. This not only applies to baby boomers but it also applies to their kids the millennials or the x-generation, especially if you are wanting to put more than one family in a single home. We’re going to go over a few concepts of retiring in place that can be great options to consider. Just to summarize things, at Cummins Architecture & Design, we believe in family unity, shared experience, multigenerational living and asset preservation. We’re going to talk a little bit about the asset preservation and how retiring in place can save you a lot of money, lot of time, and a lot of grief.


We’re going to break this down into three bullet points and talk about each one and how they can help you retire in place:

-Divide & Conquer


 We use this term divide and conquer for you to see how you can divide your home up to create two spaces. Many baby boomers, particularly in California, have very valuable property but a lot of times the property is too large for them. They may have a two-story house and aren’t sure what to do with it because they can’t or don’t want to deal with stairs anymore. With a little bit of modification to that, you can actually take the floor plan of an existing two-story house modify it so that the second story becomes what they call an ADU or auxiliary dwelling unit, then make the modifications to the ground floor so it’s all accessible to access ramps without needing stairs. A senior couple could live in the downstairs and they could rent the upstairs out to either family members or to a third party. We’re able to do this in California now because new laws regarding ADU’s allow you to virtually sub-divide every single family resident into a two unit space. There’s lots of particulars about this but we can take a look at your property and evaluate it to give you some ideas and directions as to what you can do with your home. For example, you have a nice large home and either you want to split the house in two and make it into two units or maybe you have a freestanding three car garage that would be perfect for a separate structure that you if you’re in a retirement phase you could move into the smaller home, rent out your larger home and have the rent for the larger home pay for both. There are lots of ways to do this and we’d be happy to go over it with you. These are some ideas to help you get started and thinking about it.

-Maximize Floor Space


   The example here is if you’ve got a house that’s too large and you don’t need all that space anymore and you need to figure out what to do with it so that the house can help pay for you and bring in additional revenue so that you don’t have to pay for the entire mortgage. If this is done properly, you won’t have to move and be uprooted or have to move to a retirement center. You’re still living in the same community but you’re using your real estate differently to accommodate your needs. As we mentioned before, you can turn your garage into a rental unit. If you end up going this route, we like to design the structure in a way that’s architecturally pleasing. There are different properties that lend themselves to that. Particularly either a property where the garage is on the back of the house or the side of the house. These work really nicely for this type of unit. Or a freestanding garage that we can actually make it into a unit and still have it look architectural pleasing and not detract from the main structure.

-Modify For Ease Of Access


    Many people don’t understand that when we modify a property for example, a two-story unit with interior stairs, we can modify that in a way that the interior stairs are removed and there’s a new separate exterior stair with separate access from the exterior of the house to the second floor. We can increase the insulation between the first floor and second floor so it’s virtually sound proof and noise won’t travel from one floor to the next. It would actually become a completely separate structure by upgrading the floor system and insulation between the two.

And even though you might be renting a portion of the house out you still have privacy and you won’t have sound issues associated with that. That’s one way to modify your existing house to make it a two unit space. There are also lots of ways to modify restrooms and access to the main front door so you’re not having to deal with stairs. These kind of things all help someone who is in their senior years that wants to stay in their home. Just for comparison, if a couple needs to move to a retirement center in the Los Angeles area it’s not uncommon for it to cost around $7,000 a month just to live there. Plus the couple or senior person is uprooted from their home. And while senior facilities are nice places, it’s not the same thing as living in your own home. With modifying your house, you have an option of doing this for a fraction of the cost you would pay to live in a senior facility and you can make arrangements to have people bring you food or have home care assistance if you need. This is a great way to take care of those needs as you age without having to relocate.

If you have any questions regarding this topic or want to get a project started, set up a free consultation now!