If you’re approaching retirement age, you may be thinking about relocating. There are many factors to consider before choosing a new home.
After you retire, you won’t have to be near your job. You will have the freedom to live practically anywhere you want.
Start by figuring out the general region where you would like to retire. Perhaps you want to move to a place with warmer weather or you want to be closer to your children and grandchildren.
Maybe you would like to live in an urban area with restaurants, museums, theaters and other forms of entertainment nearby. Perhaps you have spent most of your life in a large city and would like to spend your retirement in a quiet suburban or rural area.
Before you move far from your current home, think about how you would keep in touch with family and friends. Ask yourself if you would visit often, quickly make friends in your new community or perhaps be lonely.
Set a Budget
If you are or will be on a fixed income, make a list of all the expenses you will have in retirement. Include healthcare, groceries, car insurance, gas and other regular monthly costs. That can help you figure out how much you can realistically afford for mortgage payments, private mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance, repairs and utilities.
If you want to live in a place that is some distance from your family, factor in costs to visit. Those may include airfare, car rental and possibly a hotel, if your relatives don’t have a guest bedroom.
Think About Your Future Needs
Even if you and your spouse are in good health now, that may change in the future. Look for a house that is on one level and has wide doorways and hallways, as well as a wheelchair-accessible bathroom in case one or both of you has trouble getting around in the future. If the house has outdoor steps, make sure there is room to add a wheelchair ramp, if necessary.
Figure Out What Type of Community You Want
You can choose a single-family house in a neighborhood with people of different ages, a condominium or a retirement community. Before you decide to buy a single-family house, think about the amount of maintenance it would require and whether you could handle it yourself or afford to pay someone else to take care of it. You might decide that it would be better to move to a senior community or a condo and pay a monthly maintenance fee.
If so, include community fees in your budget. Make sure you understand all the rules and restrictions in a homeowners association, condominium or retirement community before you commit.
Discuss Your Priorities
Many couples think they are on the same page and then realize that they are miles apart. Don’t assume that you and your spouse have envisioned your retirement in the same way. Sit down and talk about your goals and priorities.