Once the children have all graduated from high school and seem to be moving on, you might be looking at that ballooning mortgage and wondering if you want to keep going. If you simply do not feel the need to keep paying for a house that has essentially lost its purpose (i.e., a familiar place for children to grow up), you do have options. These options go beyond just selling the house.
Handing the House off to the Kids and Leaving Town
What parent does not fantasize about traveling the globe once the kids are grown? Maybe you just want to travel all over the U.S. Either way, being tied down to a home mortgage and monthly payments does not mesh with your travel plans. No problem--just sign the house off to the kids and go. The kids were likely to inherit the house anyway, so all you have to do is sign a quit claim deed with the kids, and then create a living trust that gives them the house. Just make sure the kids want it and want to take over the mortgage payments first. (With their clean, fresh credit, they could even refinance the house in their names, removing you from the responsibility entirely.)
A reverse mortgage allows you to take all of the equity in your home and pocket it as cash. As long as you retain ownership rights (even if you are not residing in it full-time) you do not have to pay this back. A lot of older people really enjoy this option because it means that they can let the kids come and go from the house while the parents travel until the money runs out. It also temporarily stops mortgage payments, giving you some time to think about what is next in life.
Turn the Property into a Rental
If you do not mind continuing the mortgage payments, but you absolutely do not want to live in the house anymore, you can turn your house into a rental. There is a lot of house-swapping and house renting going on right now, and you could easily make the mortgage payments by booking a few days to a few weeks every month. This may be an especially good idea if you live really close to major tourist attractions and you now want to be very far away from them. Check with your city's zoning codes to make sure you can do this before you begin booking rental guests for your house.