Where You Can (and Can’t) Pay for Senior Living by Selling a Home

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There comes a time in many older Americans’ lives when living independently – without help from a nurse or caretaker – is no longer an option. At that point, many choose to sell their homes and move into assisted living communities. For some seniors, the sale of their home will provide enough funds to pay for the extra care, but for others it will only scratch the surface.

To find out where you can afford the most (and least) amount of years of senior care by selling a home, Redfin teamed up with A Place for Mom, the nation’s largest senior living referral service, to compare home prices to the annual cost of various types of senior care, including assisted living, independent living and memory care. Redfin used data from more than 160 cities to see what the median annual cost of senior living looks like and paired that with the average median sale price of a home in each city. Then, Redfin calculated the number of years of assisted living and memory care you would be able to afford if you were to sell a home in that city. Included on the list are cities where you could afford the most and the least number of years of senior living if you financed it with the sale of a home.

“The costs of senior housing and care don’t vary as much geographically as home prices,” says Ben Hanowell, data scientist at A Place for Mom. “That benefits seniors in cities with high home prices like San Francisco, but a home sale won’t fund many years of care in a less affluent city like Hartford.”

The average annual cost of assisted living amounts to a little more than $45,000, and more than $58,000 for specialized memory care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. On average, a home sale could pay for nearly five years of assisted living and nearly four years of memory care.

Half of new assisted living residents are 85 or older and can expect to live another seven years or fewer, Hanowell says, citing life expectancy statistics from the Social Security Administration. This means a home sale could fund about half of their stay, barring medical complications that could send them to a more costly skilled nursing facility.

The two tables below show that the sale of your home will go further in cities with higher median sale price. For example, selling your home in San Francisco could pay for 22 years of independent living, even with 3 percent annual growth in senior living costs. Selling your home in Hartford, Connecticut, however, will pay for less than a year of independent living.

10 Cities Where the Sale of a Home Finances the Most Years of Senior Living

10 Cities Where Sale of a Home Finances the Least Years of Senior Living


If you are interested in selling a home to finance senior living for a loved one, contact a Redfin real estate agent today. If you are looking for senior living options, talk to a  Senior Living Advisor at A Place for Mom to kick start your research.


  • Sale prices are provided at the city level and assume a five-percent selling cost for each city
  • Because many senior living consumers end up moving to suburban areas where there is more senior housing supply, senior living costs are provided at the metropolitan area level
  • Senior living costs are based on the Senior Living Cost Index published by A Place for Mom; read a technical description of its methods here


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Alanna is the celebrity real estate expert at Redfin and oversees the Fun & Fabulous content for the Redfin Real-Time blog. Before coming to Redfin, Alanna was a local TV news producer and dabbled in the world of reality TV production. Her dream home would be a duplex in NYC with a balcony, washer/dryer and a dishwasher. Redfin is a full-service real estate brokerage that uses modern technology to make clients smarter and faster. For more information about working with a Redfin real estate agent to buy or sell a home, visit our Why Redfin page.

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