Like most Americans, as you grow older, you probably want to stay in your home for as long as you can. And living the good life here in beautiful Bluffton, you might never want to leave.

However, as life flies by, it might become harder to do all the house chores on your own. Or, the costs to hire help might become too expensive.

Older Americans often think of their home as a nest egg. They may decide to use their home equity to get some extra cash. Home equity is the difference between what your home will sell for and what you owe on any mortgages.

Did you know that a reverse mortgage is one way that you can convert a portion of your home equity into cash and continue to live in your home for as long as you want, with no monthly payments required?

However, is that the best way to use the equity in your home? It might be, but it is a decision that you should consider carefully. For more information, talk to your attorney, accountant, or meet with a local reverse mortgage expert.

Maybe it’s better to “right size,” which means selling your current, often larger, home and buying a home that is better suited to your specific needs. Or maybe it is time to think about an independent or assisted living home option.

If you are planning to remain in your home, as abilities diminish as part of the aging process, assistance and/or changes might be needed to maintain your independence and safety at home. You might want to consider consulting with an occupational therapist to obtain recommendations that are specific to your needs, skills, environment and budget.

On the other hand, if you are thinking about right-sizing, there are a number of local real estate agents who are very familiar with all the home ownership options that are available here in our Lowcountry paradise. Some of these agents have special designations and valuable experience in working with seniors.

A great resource of information is the National Council on Aging ncoa.org. Others include: eldercare.acl.gov, benefitscheckup.org, homemods.org, caregiver.org, and reversemortgage.org.

Larry Stoller is a broker and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com, RealEstateFive.com, SunCityOpenHouses247.com