Small Nest Egg? How To Buy Your Retirement Home

couple, home, house,

Planning for retirement means making a lot of decisions, including when you’ll stop working, how much you’ll withdraw from your savings each year, and where you’ll live.

Many Americans view retirement as an opportunity to move into a house they’ll love and live in for all their golden years. In fact, 64 percent of retirees either have moved or plan to move, according  to a Merrill Lynch survey.

Some retirees move to be closer to children or grandchildren, to downsize into a more manageable home, live in a warmer locale, or to secure a more luxurious home where they can easily age in place.

Retirement Choices

“The decision of where to live in retirement is important and can directly affect quality of life in your golden years,” said Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC. “Research by Trulia shows that in virtually all areas of the country, it makes better financial sense for retirees to buy a home, rather than rent. In fact, buying is nearly 42 percent cheaper than renting for seniors across the country.”

With offices in more countries than any other real estate brand, RE/MAX agents have helped millions, including retirees, find the home of their dreams. Lewis and the team offer some advice for buying your retirement home:

Have a Plan

Ideally, you should think about where you want to live long before retirement, but it’s never too late to think about your priorities. Do you want to be close to family or health care resources? Do you desire a home in the mountains or somewhere you’ll never see snow again?

Trulia’s research shows that some of the cities most popular for retirees are also ones where buying a home can save you the most money over renting. Desirable, warm-weather locations in Florida and Arizona offer significant value, even in regions where average home prices are higher.

Make a list of what you want in a home location so you’ll have a starting point for your search.

Don’t Delay

If possible, don’t wait until poor health or declining finances force you to move somewhere that’s not your ideal location. Move while you’re still young enough to enjoy your dream retirement home.

Get Professional Financial Advice

It’s important to protect your nest egg and keep it growing throughout retirement. A professional financial planner can help you understand what size mortgage is right for you, so your dream home doesn’t strain your finances.

Be Mindful of Amenities

When choosing a location and a home, in addition to your personal priorities, it’s important to keep in mind accessibility to amenities important to seniors. Community features such as good transportation, quality of roads, safe neighborhoods, and access to health care, socialization opportunities, shopping and cultural venues are all options to consider.

Focus on Must-Haves

Once you know where you want to be, it’s time to find a real estate agent. And, make a list of must-have features and those you would like your retirement home to have. Share the list with your agent to help him or her focus on properties that meet your criteria. Your list of must-haves and desirables will likely be very different from the list you made when you bought your first home.

Now, a single-level house with large bathrooms and a level lot may be more desirable than a two-story with lots of bedrooms and a big backyard.

Finally, said Lewis, keep in mind whether you plan to age in place. “More Americans are looking for homes that will allow them to stay independent and living on their own throughout their retirement years,” he said. “If that’s your plan, look for home features that will help facilitate that, like wider doors, few or no exterior stairs, and good lighting.” — BPT

 

Leave a Reply

Sponsor