Factors to consider when choosing home during retirement

Ah, retirement! We work hard so, someday, we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and sit down, relax, and listen to the sounds of nature in our backyard. Perhaps we’ll travel the world, buy an RV and visit every place in the U.S. we’ve always heard about. Whatever you picture the perfect retirement, where to live is one of the most prominent factors in that decision. Some folks can happily stay right where they are and others are ready to move.

Here are some thoughts to consider.

There are two main factors in deciding where to live during retirement years. About 57% of retirees would like to move and, yet, the majority of those movers would like to stay close to where they currently live. Familiarity is comfortable. We know where to go to get what we need and what we like, what routes to take or avoid and, of course, our friends and family nearby.

If you’d like to move, one of your first steps will be to check your mortgage payoff and find out how much equity you have in your home. Don’t worry about the capital gains tax when selling your current home because it’s likely you are exempt. If you have lived in your home fulltime for three of the most recent five years the exemption is up to $250,000 per spouse (please check with your accountant about qualifying).

Next, do a  little house hunting with your Realtor or online to see what’s for sale and if you can afford the type of home you’d like to move to. You may find it’s better for you to stay put. The most important factor in choosing your next home is maintenance. You’ve earned the right to avoid renovations and maintenance issues, and many of us prefer new construction.

Other factors retirees are considering is size and stairs. Many homes have the washer and dryer in the basement or the master bedroom on the second floor so think about your physical needs. You’ve heard of downsizing but be prepared to trash, donate, and sell items to accommodate a smaller home. It’s not as easy as it sounds to let go of your treasures.

last, but not least, what type of lifestyle do you desire during your retirement years? You may want space to garden. About 39% of us prefer a rural setting and enjoy a neighborhood with a variety of residents, such as families and young couples. Rather than move, you may want to use the equity in your current home to purchase an RV or take a trip.

Whatever your lifestyle now that you are retired – wherever you decide to call home – you’ve earned it so be sure you get what you want.