Nowadays, senior homebuyers are one of the most powerful purchasing groups in America. It’s no wonder then that realtors are falling over themselves to serve the over fifty-fives, who are perceived to have changing needs and ample wads of cash.
Right now, there are a number of great opportunities in real estate for this more mature generation to take advantage of…
If you bought your house before the price boom, you’re probably sitting on a nice lump of equity, and the simple fact is, you might be able to get better bang for your buck elsewhere in the country than where you are now.
Of course it might be emotionally hard to get rid of that house you’ve lived in and cherished for decades, but staying in the same place could be restricting your options considerably, and potentially ignoring what you might really need as you approach your senior years.
At fifty-five, you probably still have many working years ahead of you, since not everyone of course is fortunate enough to retire that early. But it’s important that you start seriously thinking about your living arrangements for when you reach retirement age.
Downsizing Is the Way to Go
Quite simply, your house might be too big for you now. Your kids have probably long since flown the nest, and now you’ve got more room than you know what to do with.
Now, many people might turn their nose up at the idea of moving to a smaller home. After all, it took years of saving and working hard to get where you are today. But do you really need those four bedrooms?
Moving to a smaller home could free up extra capital, which you can spend on whatever you like, for example, an extra vacation a year or that fancy sports car you always wanted.
It isn’t always simply a matter of choosing what luxury items to spend your extra cash on though; if you can no longer afford to stay where you are, moving may become a necessity
After all, extra care can be expensive, and if you’re determined to stay independent and in your own home, downsizing could be the best option you’ve got.
Then, once retired, there may be a small retirement income you can count on, but that’s finite and it simply has to last you. Plus, a smaller home, or one in a cheaper area, could also mean lower gas bills and taxes, and who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Of course it’s not all negative — even if you’re downsizing, you might have the freedom now to buy that nice character property that was never practical when you had a family at home. Many over fifty-five homeowners love the chance to get back into the property market and choose the perfect home they always dreamed of.
Making Sure to Get Specialized Advice
Many realtors specialize in helping over fifty-fives buy homes and have a wealth of experience in doing just that. They’ll know better than showing you a gimmicky downtown apartment (unless that’s what you really want), and they’ve got tons of properties on their books that might be just right for you.
With fine-tuned inventories and the right know-how when it comes to buying a home for approaching-retirement age, choosing the right realtor who understands your needs is a must.
How to Choose Where to Move
Okay, so you’ve now decided you want to move, but where should you go?
This is probably one of the toughest decisions you’re going to have to make, but the right choice can make all the difference to your quality of life — not to mention, your balance at the bank.
For understandable reasons, many people won’t want to go too far. After all, family and friends might live nearby. But for others, the opportunity to start fresh somewhere completely new could be just what the doctor ordered.
And whereas some might love the opportunity to live in a well-maintained retirement or semi-retirement community, which can make your life infinitely more relaxed, many understandably would prefer to completely keep their independence in their own private home. Take the time to consider: which do you prefer?
Beyond this, you might live further from your close relatives than you’d like, so you could take the opportunity to move back closer to your family and spend more quality time with your loved ones.
You certainly wouldn’t be the first — many grandparents are keen to move closer to their families so they can help out while the new parents work.
Access to Quality Healthcare
As you get older, your health becomes more important than ever — and this might be one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your new home.
Many retirement and semi-retirement communities have first rate on-site health facilities, meaning you are never far from a doctor or nurse should you need them. And some even offer comprehensive twenty-four hour care packages.
Moving closer to a major medical facility is a choice many people choose to make, be it in a community setting or a completely independent neighborhood.
Unfortunately, changes in health as you get older place extra importance on things such as hospital access. How far the nearest ER is might not have been one of your considerations when choosing your current home, but it could be a smart idea for your next one.
And if you have specific medical requirements, finding the right local support group can make a big difference to your care. The simple fact is, some areas and regions simply have more options in this regard compared to others.
For some, these are important factors to consider that can make a huge difference when choosing where to live as you get older.
Choosing the Location That Best Suits You
It’s not all about healthcare though. Quite simply, you want to live in a location where your needs and wants can be satisfied. What made you choose your current home might no longer be relevant. Tastes change, and so do your housing needs.
Simple services such as cleaners and gardeners might not have been high on the agenda when you bought your current home, but in retirement, you might want to hire extra help to make your life easier, or simply because you can now afford not to have to do it all yourself!
And if you love golf for example, you may well want to consider moving near your favorite golf course, so you can enjoy your golden years doing what you love, without a hefty drive each way.
Creating and Enjoying a Better Quality of Life
There’s one simple yet vital factor that can make a huge difference to your wellbeing — the weather.
A fantastic all-year-round climate can take years off and make your retirement so much more enjoyable. Perhaps moving south just wasn’t an option in your working years, but what if now you can?
There are plenty of good reasons as to why Florida is one of the most popular retirement destinations in America — one of them being the year-long sunshine.
Spending more time outdoors can be great for your health. Sadly, for those in the northern part of the US, there are large chunks of the year when this just isn’t particularly feasible.
In the winter you might find yourself stuck inside and reduced to traveling everywhere by car, with snow tires to boot! A warm climate can make such a huge difference to your quality of life—it’s almost easy to underestimate the difference.
And aside from better weather, there are a number of other things that can greatly benefit your quality of life. Being stuck in the city (or the suburbs) might be ok when you need to commute to work, but being in retirement opens up so many possibilities. If you love hiking or enjoy going to the beach, then move near a mountain or closer to the coast!
More and more over fifty-fives enjoy sports and other recreational activities, and many areas obviously offer better provisions for this than others.
Quite simply, now that you’re winding up at the job and your children have left home, you don’t need to be tied to the same place. You might have chosen where you live now because it was practical and made sense for bringing up a family, but now you can move to somewhere you really love! Take the opportunity to pick the ideal lifestyle to suit your tastes and needs.
One very popular retirement option as hinted at above is moving to a golf community. Normally located in the southern states, such residences offer great year-long golf, meaning you can play every day.
The Downsides of Moving to Consider
The advantages to moving can be many, but it’s not all rosy. There are a few downsides that might convince you to stay where you are. After all, moving isn’t for everyone…
The Stress of the Move
Moving can be stressful, and it can be a stress many people would rather do without. After all, you might be comfortable where you are, and many people see no reason to change this. While a move might seem advantageous, you really need to weigh up the pros and cons carefully. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Financial Viability — Can You Really Afford to Move?
While those downsizing to a cheaper area might find a great home that they can afford, many don’t. For a number of reasons, that home you really want still might be out of your price range. Then there are the exorbitant fees involved in moving — that money could be put to good use elsewhere.
If you bought your current home just before the credit crunch, you might be sitting on negative equity. This means you’re actually going to lose money on your investment if you sell your current home now — and this can be a massive factor in keeping people where they are.
After all, most people bought their house under the assumption it would go up in value over the years. While this has been true for those who might have held their house for longer, many have found themselves victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Being Close to Those Important to You
You might have found a lovely home in another part of the country, but are you still close to your loved ones? Most grandparents don’t want to miss their grandchildren growing up, and it can be a big reason why many stay put. After all, you might be able to find a nice house near the beach, but what’s the point if you can’t share it with your close family?
It’s probably the case that your children can’t move with you because they are tied to the same place by their jobs. Being close to your loved ones can be the number one reason why you might want to stay put. Of course, you could still move home but stay in the local area, but this restricts the choice you’re going to have.
Why It’s OK to Stay
You’ve worked on your family home over the years to suit you perfectly and really feel special. It might take years to get that feel again in a new home. For this reason, many over fifty-fives just can’t move away from the place they love.
Thankfully, there are still things you can do to adapt your house for your retirement. Many renovations can be done to improve your home and make your life easier as you get older, since as we’ve seen in some cases, moving can be far too expensive.
Make the Right Decision — The Wrap up
Deciding whether to move or not can be one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make, so take your time with it. Don’t jump into anything to hastily — there are many positives and negatives on both sides of the argument. But hopefully you’ve seen how moving homes can greatly improve your quality of life in your senior years and make your retirement truly more enjoyable.
This article was written by Salvatore Induisi, owner of SFI Realty, and he recommends that you consider sunrise lakes if you’re thinking of retiring in Florida.