What to Think About When Downsizing for Retirement
Friday, June 16, 2017
Now that the children are all grown, or you’ve started thinking about the next stage of your life, you may be considering downsizing to a smaller, more manageable space. Many people choose to do this when they are ready to retire.
Downsizing for retirement means once again diving into the world of real estate. Except this time, your needs will be very different from when you were a first time home buyer, or when you were looking for a large family home.
Here are some things you should think about when you do make the choice to downsize for retirement.
1. It’s Important to Have a Plan
Before you even start looking at the listings, you need to get a few things in place.
Downsizing for retirement means that this may be the last home you purchase, so you need to be sure of a few things, for example where, when, and why you want to move. You will also have to think about selling the home you are currently in.
Getting answers to those questions and others will formalize your plan. We offer several resources for home buyers that could help you find them.
Because you have an existing home to sell, you probably won’t have to worry about affording your new home, but costs are still an important consideration.
If you are downsizing for retirement, you most likely aren’t going to be working full time anymore. It is important that you don’t pick a home based on your current income, but on the income you will have once you do fully retire and after you sell your current home. What you can afford now may not be what you can afford later on.
Talk to a mortgage broker to ensure you are fully approved for financing and to figure out what price range you should be looking at. Then talk to a real estate agent about finding that home that will work not just for your present, but your future financial situation.
Don’t forget to factor in potential home related expenses such as maintenance and repairs. Consider all possible future scenarios, and plan for the situations that seem unlikely but still could happen. For example, you may have to start taking expensive medications due to a health issue, or have to pay out of pocket to help out a grandchild with some expenses.
3. Consider Your Location
Location is one of the most important factors when it comes to downsizing for retirement, and should play a big role in your final decision.
Look for a house that is close to all of your basic amenities, like grocery stores, pharmacies, and public transportation. As much as we don’t like to think about it, we are all getting older, and eventually you will need to take advantage of having these services close by. While there are certain things you may not need right now, in the future you will want them. For example you may want to be near a good hospital or live closer to relatives.
4. Will It Work for All Situations?
Downsizing for retirement involves finding a new, more practical home while also selling your current property. Chances are this is the last time you will go through this process, so it is important to consider home features that will work for you in the future. Your needs may change within the span of a few years, and when they do, you will want a home that is prepared to accommodate you.
There are some features you should look for when downsizing for retirement.
- A bungalow - Eventually it may become difficult for you or your partner to navigate and manage two floors. A bungalow will be more accessible and easier to take care of. The best part is you won’t have to contend with those pesky stairs.
- Condominiums also have their benefits. If you are leaning in that direction, there are some things you should look for in a condo. If you aren’t sure whether it is the right choice for you, we can walk you through your options and help you make a decision.
- Accessibility - No one knows what the future holds, and there may come a day when you or someone you know will need a walker or a wheelchair. When that happens, you will want a home that is prepared, or can be prepared for that situation. Look for wide doorways and whether or not it would be possible to install ramps.
- Everything in an easy to reach place - The last thing you want to do is stand on a rickety chair or ladder trying to reach something in the back of a cupboard. Look for easy to reach storage spaces and places to keep small appliances at a safe height.
We Can Help You Buy and Sell, Guaranteed
Downsizing for retirement is one of the biggest decisions you will make, and we don’t want you to feel like you have to do it all on your own. If you don’t know where to start, where to look, or even what you should have, ask us. That’s what we’re here for.
When you work with us, you have an entire team of professionals behind you, all working towards finding you the perfect home and selling your old one. We offer both guaranteed sales and buy back guarantees, so that no matter what happens, we’ll take care of you. We want downsizing for retirement to be a positive experience, one that provides big rewards.
You’re not just buying a home; you’re selling one too. There are plenty of things you need to think about, and just as many things to be cautious about. For example, there are some legal mistakes that every seller should steer clear of.