Can You Sell Your House and Still Live in It?

Discover how to sell your home while still residing in it. Learn about innovative solutions to help navigate the process.

Home Equity
February 12, 2024
Can You Sell Your House and Still Live in It?

Selling your home can mean tapping into hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuable home equity, but it also means parting ways with a familiar, comfortable environment. For this reason, many homeowners want the best of both worlds –– they wonder if there’s a way to sell their house and still live in it. 

Rather than a traditional sale, a sale-leaseback allows homeowners to continue living in their homes after selling, paying market rent while the new owners cover the costs and responsibilities that can often take the joy out of homeownership. This alternative to selling has become an increasingly popular option for homeowners in Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and now Texas. But is it right for you? 

Below, we examine the benefits of sale-leasebacks as well as some key considerations should you choose to go down this path.   

Understanding Leaseback Agreements

A leaseback agreement, or a sale-leaseback, is a type of transaction where –– following a successful sale –– the seller of an asset becomes the lessee and the buyer becomes the lessor. This means that leasebacks have the added benefit over a traditional sale of allowing the buyer to continue to use their sold property at an agreed-upon monthly payment, rather than parting ways altogether. 

Sale-leasebacks and leaseback agreements exist in several industries. The owner of a piece of construction equipment, for example, might sell machinery to a larger company, then lease it back to reduce overhead and operation costs and free up some cash. In real estate, this type of agreement means a homeowner sells their home to a buyer who then becomes their property manager or landlord while the former owner leases the property. 

Since a house is a substantial asset, a residential sale-leaseback can help homeowners access their home equity while eliminating many of the costs of ownership. Leasebacks can be a great option for property owners who enjoy living in their existing homes, as this approach is one of the few ways to sell your home and still live in it. Plus, through this home sale, individuals no longer need to worry about the costs of homeownership, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, or major repairs. Depending on the housing market conditions, selling a property and renting it through a sale-leaseback may be more affordable than downsizing to a new home.  

Reasons to Live in Your House After Selling

Selling your house yet retaining the ability to live in it may seem counterintuitive. But once you wrap your head around this unfamiliar concept, you’ll recognize that there are many benefits to this approach. 

Primarily, a sale-leaseback provides a solution for homeowners who want (or need) to unlock the equity in their home without moving out. This can be particularly appealing for older adults looking to fund their retirement while aging in place, homeowners facing financial hardships in this difficult economy who don't want to completely uproot their lives, or anyone looking for financial freedom with some added familiarity. This option is also the ideal solution for movers asking where to live between selling and buying since you could live in your old home while looking for a new one. Or, you can use your home equity to buy another house once you’re ready. 

In many ways, living in your home after selling can mean enjoying all the best parts of homeownership without any of the downsides. While sale-leaseback arrangements will vary, Truehold’s sale-leaseback lets homeowners live in their homes for as long as they continue to pay monthly rent and comply with the lease agreement. During this time, we take care of property taxes, insurance, and major repair costs –– allowing you to enjoy the carefree lifestyle you’ve earned. 

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Legal and Financial Considerations of a Sale-Leaseback

There are many financial and legal factors to consider when selling your home, and the same is true with a sale-leaseback. Given the myriad benefits, a sale-leaseback can be an excellent way to sell your home and continue living in it –– to have your cake and eat it, too. But before you pursue this option, consider both the legal and financial aspects to ensure that it aligns with your long-term interests. 

Legal Considerations

  • Contract Specificity: Truehold’s transition team ensures homeowners know exactly what they’re signing on for, but not all sale-leasebacks will be as transparent. The leaseback agreement should explicitly state all terms, outlining the duration of the lease, rent amount, rent adjustments, maintenance responsibilities, and options for renewal. A well-defined contract will not only help prevent disputes but also ensure you know exactly what this next chapter holds.
  • Tenant Rights: As you go from being an owner to a renter, you’ll want to make sure you understand your new rights as a tenant. Ensure that the sale-leaseback agreement clearly outlines tenant rights –– including privacy, your right to renew, and the conditions under which eviction could occur. 
  • Exit Strategies: A sale-leaseback can be an excellent option for homeowners planning to move who haven’t found their next forever home yet. If this is you, you’ll want to make sure the sale-leaseback agreement outlines flexible exit strategies for both you and your lessor so you can secure the best time to move. This way, when the time comes, you’ll be able to move on to your next adventure on your own schedule. A sale-leaseback will also help make moving easier as you could avoid renting a storage container and move your belongings directly into your new home from your old one.  

Financial Considerations

  • Tax Implications: Just like selling your home, engaging in a sale-leaseback can help you capitalize on the tax benefits of buying a home. If you’ve lived in your home for a while, the value will have likely increased –– subjecting you to capital gains tax, in some cases. Alternatively, if your home has lost value, you may be eligible for a hefty deduction when it comes time to file your taxes. Explore the impact a sale-leaseback will have in the eyes of the IRS before pursuing this equity release strategy. 
  • Rent vs. the Value of Your Equity: Depending on how long you remain in your home after selling, the amount you pay in rent over the years may exceed the value of your home equity. If you’re looking for a comfortable, familiar space without the responsibilities of homeownership, this may still be the best path. However, if you’re hoping to apply your home equity toward a future purchase, remaining as a renter in your home for too long may go against your goal. 
  • Impact on Estate Planning: When you sell your home and continue living in it, the property is no longer an asset. This means that it can’t be passed down to future generations. So, if you have plans to leave your home to your heirs, consider the impact a sale-leaseback will have on your estate planning.

The Role of Real Estate Professionals

Sale-leasebacks are uncharted territory for many homeowners. Skilled real estate professionals can act as both navigators and translators, helping anyone contemplating this path better understand the complex legal and financial landscape. 

Choosing the Right Agent for a Sale-Leaseback Transaction

Some real estate agents may be as unfamiliar with leaseback agreements as you, so finding an agent who knows the ins and outs of sale-leasebacks will be helpful. A knowledgeable agent can provide invaluable assistance through every step of the process, from setting a fair market price for the sale to negotiating lease terms that safeguard your interests. We at Truehold understand the important role local real estate agents play in the sale-leaseback process and have therefore built a national network of agents to support our homeowners. If you have a real estate agent who isn’t a Truehold partner, we are happy to discuss your sale-leaseback options with them.

How Legal and Financial Advisors Can Help

In addition to real estate experts, legal and financial advisors can be instrumental in entering a leaseback agreement that fits your needs. A lawyer, on the one hand, can help review and negotiate the leaseback agreement, making sure it aligns with your interests while keeping you up to speed. Meanwhile, a financial advisor can offer advice on the tax implications of the sale and help you understand how it fits into your broader financial planning picture. Together with a real estate expert, these professionals can make you feel fully confident in your sale-leaseback decision. 

Alternatives to Sale-Leaseback Agreements

A sale-leaseback is the only common way to outright sell your home and then stay in it without debt, but some options offer some of the same benefits. If a sale-leaseback agreement doesn't yet seem like the right fit, consider these alternatives: 

Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages allow homeowners 62 and older to convert part of their home equity into cash while they continue living in the home. When the home is sold, or when the homeowner passes away, any money borrowed is due with interest, making reverse mortgages a potentially costly way to access home equity.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

Like a reverse mortgage, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) lets homeowners borrow from the equity they have accrued. HELOCs, however, function more like a credit card than a reverse mortgage –– homeowners “draw” from their home equity during a given period, then pay it back when this period ends. During the draw period, you generally only pay the interest accrued on your equity. But when this period ends, you’re on the hook for the principal amount plus interest (at a variable interest rate, no less).

Cash-Out Refinance

In a cash-out refinance, homeowners replace their current mortgage with a new, larger one, pocketing the difference in cash. Some of this cash may be absorbed by closing costs, however, and cash-out refinances also generally come with higher interest rates –– compared to a regular refinance, a cash-out refinance could saddle you with a worse rate than before. By comparison, Truehold’s sale-leaseback has only one fee: a 5.5 percent real estate commission. 

Each of these options allows you to access your home equity while still living in your home. But given the risks of reverse mortgages, the unpredictability of HELOCs, and the added expenses of a cash-out refinance, a sale-leaseback is still your best path forward when it comes to flexibility, predictability, and cost. 

Preparing Your Home for Sale While Living in It

Let’s say you’ve seen the alternatives and found that, for your needs, a sale-leaseback is the best way to sell your house and still live in it. While a traditional sale can mean jumping through some serious hoops in preparation, selling your home with a leaseback agreement is a far less laborious process. For one, there’s no need to stage and list your home, which can be costly, time-consuming, and get in the way of everyday comfort. You can tackle a remodel to make your living space more comfortable, but you don’t need to –– the real estate experts at Truehold will use the home’s appraisal and inspection to determine a price and identify any necessary repairs. 

In addition to avoiding the stresses of a traditional sale, our streamlined sale process means you can tap into your home’s value quicker –– and begin to leverage your home equity however you see fit. 

Sell Your Home and Still Live in It with Truehold’s Sale-Leaseback

Selling your home and continuing to live in it can make for a more comfortable retirement, an independent aging-in-place arrangement, a flexible move, or financially free day-to-day. No matter your motivation, Truehold’s sale-leaseback makes it easy to get the most out of your home. 

If you’re ready to get the process started, connect with one of our Truehold advisors today –– you’ll get a cash offer on your home within 48 hours, your home equity in as little as 30 days, and a familiar, flexible living situation for as long as you need. 


1. Investopedia. Leaseback (or Sale-Leaseback): Definition, Benefits, and Examples. 

2. Exeter Trust Company. Sales and Leasebacks in the Context of the 1031 Exchange. 

3. Federal Trade Commission. Reverse Mortgages. 

4. Nerdwallet. What Is a Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC? 

4. Bankrate. Are cash-out refinance rates higher? How to get the best rate.

Lucas Grohn headshot
Written by
Lucas Grohn
Senior Manager of Sales at Truehold - A Thought-Leader in Real Estate
Lucas Grohn brings over a decade of real estate expertise to his role, where he guides a team dedicated to innovative sales strategies. Known for his thought leadership and diverse experience, from managing brokerage operations to training agents at top firms, Lucas covers a broad span of real estate content for Truehold.
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Truehold's blog is committed to delivering timely and pertinent insights in real estate and finance, purely for educational and informational purposes. Crafted by experts, our content is thoroughly reviewed to guarantee its accuracy and dependability. Although designed to enlighten and engage, our articles are not intended as financial advice and should not be the sole basis for financial decisions. Our stringent editorial practices ensure the integrity of our content, empowering our readers with valuable knowledge.

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