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Do you own your principal residence and are you retired or due to retire soon? In this article, I look at the issues facing retired homeowners and how they can prepare for the new situation.

Calculating income

It's worth looking at your financial situation when you retire. Calculate the various sources of income, such as rentV pensions, 2nd pillar pensions and investment income such as dividends, interest or rent. Supplementary rent benefits may be granted if certain conditions are met, including for homeowners. The value of the property you live in is not taken into account when calculating your assets. You can find all the information you need on the State of Geneva website:Supplementary AVS benefits, Geneva

Contributions from the 3rd pillar and personal savings may also be taken into account. If you have one or more 3rd pillar accounts, it's a good idea to have the assets paid over several tax years to reduce the tax increase.

Cost-of-living budget

Next, draw up a living costs budget that includes food, clothing, transport costs, insurance premiums, health costs, leisure activities, etc.

Investment requirements

Evaluate the investments required. Until 2050, oil and gas heating systems will have to be replaced. In the coming years, some houses will have to be adapted to comply with the new energy law. You may be required to install photovoltaic panels, insulate the house and fit a heat pump. The deadlines for the work to be carried out and the exceptions are set out in the Energy Act and the cantonal regulations.

Technical adaptation of the house

To ensure that you can live in your house or flat for as long as possible, you may need to make some technical adaptations. Obstacles need to be removed, for example by replacing the bath with a shower, adding light fittings, and installing grab rails and ramps.Adapt the interior too: fix electrical cables and wires to the walls, fit non-slip strips under carpets and in the shower, bath and on stair treads.Think about maintenance and gardening too. If you lost your independence, could you afford to hire a cleaner and gardener? If you own a large plot of land in a residential area, you might consider dividing it up and selling the new plot.


If you're a couple, you may need to protect each other so that each other so that you can stay in the house if one of you dies. If you are married and have joint children, you can enter into an inheritance agreement and allocate to each other all of the acquests. You can also change your matrimonial property regime and sign a marriage contract to change from the ordinary regime of joint ownership of  acquests to community of property. These marriage contracts must be drawn up by a notary and concluded in the form of an authenticated deed.

A house that's too big and too expensive

If your house has become too big for you, you can evaluate several solutions:  

  • You look into the possibility of converting your house into several flats. You keep one flat for yourself and rent out the others to generate rental income.
  • You give your house to your child and keep the right to live in it or the right of usufruct.
  • If you own a second home, such as a flat, you rent or sell your house and move into the flat.
  • You sell your house to rent or buy a flat

Staying in the same house or moving out?

Define your housing needs. Do you want to stay in your current home or are you planning to move to a smaller place? Compare the maintenance and financial charges for your home with the rent you would pay if you moved.Charges or rent should not exceed one third of your income. If you can afford it, you may be able to pay off part or all of the mortgage to reduce the mortgage interest. In this case, calculate the impact on tax, because the rental value remains a notional income on which you pay tax.


The new home must be adapted to your needs. Moving house is more stressful for an older person than for a younger one. You should also think about your social life and look for accommodation close to your nearest and dearest, friends and family, to avoid loneliness. Find out about home help and care services.


© Author Esther Lauber, Real Estate Trustee with Advanced Federal Diploma of Professional Education and Training, real estate agent, property broker and manager in Carouge Geneva, Geneva, speaks German, French and English
Translated with DeepL and correction by Esther Lauber. In case of doubt, the French version applies to translations.