Qualities to Look for in a House after Retiring
If you are approaching retirement, the first thing we ought to say is congratulations. You have spent the majority of your life working hard, and it is finally time to relax! Achieving retirement is no small accomplishment, and you should take a second and give yourself a pat on the back for all of your hard work and sacrifices.
By the time most people reach retirement age, they have already purchased a house at some point in their lives. In fact, there is a good chance that the majority of people that read this post currently own a home! Luckily, this post is relevant to every retiring person that is looking to buy a home, regardless of whether or not they currently own one.
When you shop for a home to live in during your retirement years, there is a lot to consider beyond just the finances. For that reason, this post is not going to touch on the financial aspects of homebuying whatsoever. Instead, this post will dive more fully into the characteristics of the house that you should look for, so that you can wind up living in the most ideal house throughout your time as a retiree. From tangible aspects of the house itself to the location of the house within its community, this post is going to lay it all out for you so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
Should You Buy a New Home in Retirement?
Before diving into the specifics to look for in a retirement home, there is a bigger question that lingers; should you buy a new home at the beginning of retirement at all? After all, you have likely lived in your current home for a while. Is it worth the stress and time to move into a new home when you are already comfortable and established in your current house?
The answer to this question varies by person, but generally the answer is yes. It is absolutely worth the time and effort to move into a new home.
As you shift into retirement, it is likely that this is your first time without any major commitments tying you to your current home. As you no longer need to work, you no longer need to commute to an office. If you do not need to commute, you do not need to live anywhere near where your old office was! This is usually the biggest reason that people live in a particular place, and this newfound freedom may allow you to live in whatever part of the country or world that you would like.
For some people, this may make no difference. If you are content where you are, then there is no need to move. There should never be any pressure to do so. However, if you are craving warmer weather, closer proximity to family, or simply a change of pace, you now have the freedom to go get it.
If you are thinking about moving, it is worth strongly considering. The stress of moving only occurs once, and it is all over before you know it. Fearing packing things up and loading them into a truck should not be enough of a concern to deter you from moving, as you will likely be able to live in your new home for many years to come! The stress of a few months should not outweigh the joy that can be had over the course of several years, especially if that joy is found in a place that you would prefer living in over your current area.
Qualities to Look for in a House after Retiring
1. A floorplan that is appealing to you both now and in 20 years
One of the most important things to consider in a house that you buy for retirement is its floorplan. While you may or may not be experiencing any physical limitations at your current age, it is likely that you eventually will. We are only human, after all! When looking at homes, it is often a great idea to look mainly at single-story houses. Even if you have no issues with stairs now, you will likely never regret choosing a single-story house as your retirement home.
The number of floors is not the only thing to consider about the floorplan. Larger bathrooms and bedrooms and smaller living rooms are common in retirement homes, as many retirees find that these layouts best appeal to their lifestyles. Whatever your lifestyle may be, it is a good idea that you consider how it may adapt or change over the next 10-20 years and beyond.
2. A yard that provides you freedom without too much maintenance
In retirement, there is a strong chance that your lawn will provide you with some of your favorite hobbies and memories. Many retirees love to practice gardening, and if you intend to garden, you will certainly want a yard big enough to dig one. On top of that, your yard is also a place that any grandchildren you have will likely love to play, and if you have pets, this will be their favorite kingdom. It makes sense to want a nice, big yard!
With that being said, you want to make sure that your yard is manageable. Taking care of a large yard can be strenuous and expensive, and retirees often opt for smaller yards to make their lives a bit easier. Finding a house with a yard that is just big enough for your hobbies and grandchildren but not too big to take care of may sound like an ambitious goal, but it is certainly attainable. You will be grateful that you took the time to look for a smaller yard when your first summer rolls around and you are responsible for mowing the grass!
3. Proximity to your hobbies and other places that you frequent
Newsflash: when you retire, you gain a lot of free time. You probably will not have had this much free time since you were in high school or college! You will likely start investing time and resources in many of your hobbies and passions, and being located near the places that you visit often will save a lot of time and money down the line.
While you will likely develop new hobbies and passions as you get deeper into retirement, finding a home that is near some of the things and places that you love will make practicing your hobbies even easier, which is incredibly valuable as a retiree. Just because you have more time doesn’t mean it should be wasted!
4. A manageable amount of square footage
There was probably a time in your life when you dreamed of owning the biggest possible home. Who wouldn’t love the sound of a pool, a big yard with a fence, and five bedrooms? Very few peoples’ dream homes are small! However, as you shift into retirement, it may be time to look at smaller homes. There are probably no more than one or two people living in your household, and having a bunch of excess space is unnecessary once you retire.
If anything, it is just more space that you need to keep clean, pay taxes on, and furnish, and you probably will hardly use it, if at all. Opting for a smaller home enables you to live more simply and spend time doing the things you love, all while saving a nice chunk of change.
5. Whether or not the house is in a retirement community
As you probably know, there are thousands of housing developments that exist specifically for people above a certain age. This age limit usually ranges from 50 to 60, but could be lower or higher depending on the community. These communities often operate just like standard housing developments, except that all residents are in a similar chapter of life. This focus helps everyone to live a more mellow life in retirement, as there are rarely noisy neighbors and messy lawns.
Another key benefit of living in a retirement community is that these communities often host gatherings and social events for their residents. If you enjoy playing cards, bingo, or other similar games, you might enjoy the social aspects that a retirement community can offer. This can be especially useful if you are moving into a new area and do not know many people.
6. Safety of the neighborhood that the house is located in
While safety matters at all stages of life, safety is particularly important when you are a retiree. Unfortunately, retirees are often seen as some of the easiest targets for property crimes, and moving into a less safe area could put you at increased risk above many other people living there. Taking the time to thoroughly vet an area or neighborhood before buying a house in it is important at every stage of life, but it can be even more beneficial if you are searching for a retirement home.
7. Accessible features already installed in the home
When buying a home for retirement, it is wise to consider the long-term aspects of the house. While a house might fit you and your lifestyle now, you should consider what your needs will look like in the next ten, twenty, or even thirty years. Many accessible renovations can be very costly, and it is often a good idea to think about them before you buy a house to begin with.
These accessible traits that you should keep an eye out are broad reaching, but there are a few main ones to consider. Stepless entryways into the house, wide hallways and doorways, and step-in showers are several great examples!
8. Proximity to friends and family
One of the biggest factors that causes people to move when they enter retirement is proximity to friends and family. If you have any children or grandchildren, it is likely that you want to live as close to them as possible. Your job may have required you to live in a different area than your loved ones, but retirement frees you of that geographic restriction.
If you decide to move closer to family, you should talk to those relative about what your future situation should look like. Some retirees like being daily babysitters for their grandchildren, while others would prefer to see their grandchildren less frequently than that. Similarly, some adult-aged children might not want their parents living just five minutes down the road! Either way, it is a good idea to talk to your loved ones about desires and expectations before you buy a home so that everyone is on the same page.
9. A climate that favors your lifestyle
We have already mentioned a couple of times that retirement often unlocks full geographic mobility due to no longer needing to work in an office. If you are thinking of moving to a new area, it is a good idea to consider the climate before you move there. The climate is about a lot more than just how hot it gets in the summer, and you will want to think about every angle of how the new location could affect you and your lifestyle.
What do we mean by that? Well, a prime example is the difference between Florida and Arizona. Both states have very warm weather, and in that way could be seen as similar. Both states will have temperatures above 90 degrees for most of the summer. The difference, though, is that Arizona has a dry heat and very little rain while Florida has a humid heat with a lot of rain, on average. Air that contains more humidity is easier to breathe, and is usually seen as preferable to dry air for retirees. If you are an active walker, hiker, or jogger, you might want that humidity even more, as being active in the desert of Arizona can be very difficult. Similarly, if you are a gardener, you may not want to move to a state that is so hot, as your plants may do better in a state like South Carolina.
10. Proximity to parks and walking paths
This point ties in very similarly to the previous one. While you want to make sure that your house is located in a geographical area with a climate that suits your activity level, it is also a great idea to make sure that the house itself is located near convenient walking paths, parks, and other outdoor activities. Staying active through retirement is advice that pretty much every doctor gives, and this is much easier to do when you don’t need to hop into your car. Convenient access to walking paths, pickleball courts, and other outdoor spaces makes staying healthy easier, and this will likely become increasingly valuable as time goes on and you find yourself deeper in retirement.
That is all we have for you about what qualities to look for in a house after you retire. Buying a house at the start of retirement is a big decision, but it is one that most people do not regret – especially if they are able to sell their current house in order to finance the new one. There are many great reasons to move into a new home at retirement, and it is likely that you will need to move at some point, anyway, for either health or economic reasons. Getting ahead of that curve and moving at the beginning of retirement helps to eliminate the stress and time requirements later in life while also putting you in a more preferred position in the present. After all, now that you will not be working, it is really important that you enjoy the house and area that you are in. You are about to have a lot more free time! Finding a house that enables you to express yourself through your passions – whether they are fishing, tennis, playing with your grandchildren, or something else – will likely provide you with unquantifiable happiness, and this is what makes finding the right house at the beginning of retirement so important.
If you decide to visit Myrtle Beach or any other place in South Carolina and fall in love, reach out to us for help. We at The Boyd Team are always here to help you figure out whether Myrtle Beach is your next home or not, and we are committed to helping you find the right property for your needs and dreams. Any question that you have about moving to the area and finding your dream home by the beach is our pleasure to answer. Feel free to send us an email at email@example.com or text or call us at (843) 222-8566, and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Being true natives of the Grand Strand and Horry County and with over 25 years of experience in the local real estate market, whether buying or selling, we can help you make your dreams a reality.
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Written by Greg