As you approach retirement, you may be thinking about changing your living situation as you enter this new chapter in your life. There are many great reasons to buy a different home when you retire. It could be to downsize, a wish to live in a more temperate climate or simply a desire to start a new phase in a new place.
If this describes you, it’s a good idea to spend a little time now planning your purchase and move before you take action. Here are five steps to take for success.
Know Your Needs
Many people approaching retirement automatically assume that they will want to move to a better area or downsize because these are popular options. But that may not be the right option for you. Moving to a distant city or state could mean losing your network of friends, family or services.
Since retirement is already a big change in life, you may not want to make another large adjustment by leaving behind everything you know.
Developing a plan for what you want to do and how you want to spend your time after retirement will help you decide on the best location and size home to purchase. If you’re part of a couple, it’s also important that both partners be on the same page with these goals.
Understand Financial Options
Seniors have access to many different funding options, and it can be a little confusing. Before you decide on a house budget, you may want to talk with a real estate professional or mortgage broker about alternatives like adjustable rate mortgages, reverse mortgages, Veterans Affairs loans and paying larger down payments.
In addition to the costs of buying the home, there are still day-to-day costs to think about. Be sure not to stretch your monthly budget too thin. Investing all your liquid assets into a house could leave you vulnerable to emergencies and day-to-day cost of living increases.
Check it Out
Even if you’ve visited or vacationed in the town you’d like to move to, it’s probably a good idea to spend more time assessing its suitability for your needs. Try visiting the area in different seasons or spending a month or more in the area. This gives you time to understand the ups and downs of tourism, seasonal population changes and getting around in any harsh weather.
As you check out potential new living situations make a list of things you regularly use in your current home and community. This could include things like accessible doctors, groups with your shared interests and city services like libraries and public parks.
Depending on the new area, you may also want to learn about snow removal plans, long distance transportation options, grocery prices, if gardening is similar to what you’re used to and the walkability of the area.
Plan for the Future
While most people don’t like to think about aging, it should be a consideration when buying a retirement home. Planning for the future as a retiree often means thinking about main-floor living, public or senior transportation options, access to quality doctors and hospitals and distance from relatives.
By considering these concerns before they are an issue and buying a house that accommodates for them, you can save yourself time and money later. A local real estate agent like Jeff Glover & Associates Realtors can help steer you toward the right neighborhoods and floor plans.
Research the Fine Print
As with any move, it’s important to do plenty of research into the not-so-fun aspects of the purchase. This could include determining the costs of property taxes, learning HOA rules, confirming city zoning regulations and buying additional insurance you may need, such as flood insurance if you’re moving to Michigan.
Starting a new life in retirement is a chance to find new adventures and get to know yourself in all new ways. If you follow these steps before buying your new retirement house, you’ll be in the best position to have more fun and less stress.