Aug. 2, 2018
Retirement can be both an exciting and anxious time. And leaving your job behind for good means making some important decisions that will impact both your lifestyle and your finances. As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become an important topic. Aging in place has become a hot button with healthcare professionals stating it can be a major factor in both long-term health and happiness. One of the biggest questions for many people considering retirement is where they want to retire and buying a retirement home is a major financial decision that you can’t afford to make lightly. Whether you're considering downsizing in your current area or picking up stakes and heading someplace new, it makes sense to evaluate your home's ability to adapt to your needs in as you age.
According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.1
“It may be easy enough to afford your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.”
This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to pay particular attention to what your retirement cash-flow will look like. Just because you retire, doesn't mean you stop taking trips, visiting family, eating out. All those things in addition to taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance will play a big part in your retirement budgeting. And while it's tempting to put a big down payment into your retirement home, or even pay cash, you want to have enough cash on hand to pay for issues that might arise. Being house rich but cash poor may not be the best plan for managing your retirement finances.
“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”
Thankfully, home values have recovered in recent years and your equity right now is likely better than it has been for a while. This may be the perfect time to cash out and purchase your "forever" home.
“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”
Will HOA fees actually end up being cheaper than having to hire all the contractors necessary to keep up with home repairs, lawncare, etc? Of course, condos cover many of these items but there are also an abundance of 55-plus communities that offer single family homes and also manage these tasks.
“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”
Be selective about the neighborhood and areas you are looking to move to. Whether you're living close to family or farther away, it's always nice to have extra people looking out for you and someone close you can call in an emergency.
“Renting won't do if the dog can't come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”
People are realizing how important pets are to us and they are becoming more and more acceptable even in rental situations...but its not always the case. You'll still need to check with condos and managed communities to be sure that your furry friend will be welcome, if there are additional fees involved, is there adequate outdoor space, and veterinarian care.
“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”
They say 60 is the new 40! People are definitely living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home and neighborhood to be more accessible. Pay attention to the feasibility of updating your home for accessibility if it isn't already done. Additionally, check to be sure your neighborhood amenities have accessibility upgrades. Swimming pools and fitness centers that are adaptive can be great benefits in your long-term health care.
“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”
How close are you to family? How often will you get to see your grandchildren? Are you close to stores and restaurants? Does your community offer some transportation? One of the harder things to keep in mind is that as you age, issues can arise that keep you from driving and require some assistance in other forms. There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about where you're forever home should be.
The bottom line is this, when it comes to your forever home, evaluating your options for the ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. Myrtle Beach is a popular destination for retirement with an abundance of options for condos and neighborhoods that fit every retirement style
Take a look at the many options currently available in 55-Plus communities along the Grand Strand and Contact us if you're ready to learn more about your retirement options!