Many people nearing the end of their professional lives and looking forward to retirement consider moving into a smaller home. Downsizing can bring many benefits especially if you no longer have your children living in the home. By downsizing in your later years, you can help improve the quality of your daily life while saving time and money on the cheaper maintenance of a simpler home.
If you are considering moving as you prepare to retire, here are a few things you should look for in your next home:
Think about where you want to move. Do you have children nearby, or do you want to consider moving out of your current town to be closer to them? Many seniors decide to move closer to family when retirement enables them to; they tend to have more time and fewer obligations – like jobs – that keep them stuck in their current neighborhoods. They choose to spend that time with their loved ones. However, if you are active in your community, maybe you want to stick around but move closer to your activities. Some people find that they are thinking about getting rid of a vehicle; in this case, consider finding a home close to quality retail in a community that is walkable. Whatever you have imagined for retirement, move to where you can make that vision a reality.
A Smaller Home
As we mentioned, you should consider downsizing. By doing so, you will spend less time cleaning, and the cost of your bills will decline, ultimately freeing up more time and money so that you can truly enjoy your retirement.
Start by identifying how many rooms you want – do you want to have one spare bedroom for when the family visits, or do you need two? Are you still working from home? If so, you may still want an office. Maybe you would like a spare playroom for the grandkids? Think about the smallest number of rooms you can live with. Then, find a home accordingly.
A One-Story Home
For those coming to terms with aging, mobility can be a sensitive subject. Most people don’t want to admit that one day the stairs could pose a challenge. Unfortunately, it is the truth for many of us. As we age, we start to have more difficulty with mobility. Therefore, to avoid the burden of moving again when you reach a later age, consider moving into a one-story home so you never have to face this issue.
A Smart Home
Many of the homes that my clients are transitioning out of are the same homes that they have lived in for decades. However, technology has changed, improving the lifestyles of many seniors. Consider moving into a home that embraces today’s smart home technology. Digital assistants like Alexa can simplify your life and provide some serious convenience, which is increasingly valuable with age.
How do you imagine your new home being laid out? Think about the activities you will be engaging in while you are in retirement, and determine whether the potential home’s layout facilitates your goals. If you enjoy entertaining guests, find a home that has an open-concept floor plan. Try to avoid buying a home that requires a ton of renovations – although it seems like it may be a good idea at first, we have found that retirees tend to be most happy transitioning to a home that is move-in ready.
Consider The Bathrooms
Again, this one can be a sensitive subject for some people. However, it is important to approach it openly. Do you have any physical disabilities? Would a bathroom with a shower seat be a benefit to you? Be honest in your assessment of the bathroom layout, and ensure it fits your needs.
Type of Home
Now that you have pinned down some of the requirements for your next home, decide what type of home you want to live in. Are you interested in a small, single-family home, a condo, or a townhome? Would you consider moving into a retirement community or an apartment? Each one has its own pros and cons, so let’s take a look:
- Single-Family Home
- Pros: More privacy, larger yards, and better appreciation on the investment
- Cons: More space, more maintenance, and generally more expensive
- Condo and/or Townhome
- Pros: Housing association takes care of exterior, and the space is generally smaller, which requires less maintenance
- Cons: HOA fees and possibly shared walls
- Retirement Community
- Pros: Homes tend to be cheaper, and the community offers activities
- Cons: HOA fees can be high, and there is less diversity in the community
- Pros: Smaller spaces, and therefore more time to enjoy the outdoors
- Cons: Paying rent, sharing walls, and sharing community spaces
The last task to perform is an honest assessment of what your budget allows. If you are moving and you want to downsize to a home closer to the center of town, you may need to move into a condo instead of a single-family home simply because of affordability. If you are selling your home and moving to a smaller home, consult with a real estate agent to learn more about what your opportunities may be.
Although downsizing as a senior can seem like a lot of work, once the move is complete, you can truly reap the benefits of retirement. Your new home now supports the new style life you desire.