You may have decided to relocate in retirement, which might mean crossing state lines or just downsizing. As you’ll soon discover, such moves are more complicated than just selling one piece of real estate and buying (or renting) another.
First of all, you need to choose your new home with care:
* Location. Do you want to move across town or across the country? Closer to relatives–or farther away from them?
* Dwelling type. You may be ready to move from a large house with a sizable lawn to a smaller house that needs less care. Or you may prefer an apartment, which requires even less upkeep.
* Ownership. You can buy or rent your new home or apartment. Buying may make sense if you itemize tax deductions and plan to take out a mortgage. If that’s not the case, renting gives you more flexibility. Many properties are available as rentals with an option to buy, if you decide you like it once you’re living there.
* Environment. You need to decide if your ideal retirement home is in a bustling city, a lower-key suburb, or a quiet small town. Do you prefer warm winters or snowy ski trails? A home on the water? A planned retirement community may have advantages, too, such as organized activities and custodial care facilities.
* Favored pursuits. Retirement shouldn’t mean sitting around the house all day watching TV or surfing the Net. There should be activities you hope to engage in, during retirement, and your new home should be able to provide you with easy access. If you love to garden, for example, you should move somewhere with a lawn; if a great deal of bridge is in the cards, find out if there are regular games nearby.
* Transportation. In most places you’ll still need a car or two after you retire, so check into parking, local traffic, quality of access roads, and so on. If you’re unable or unwilling to do much driving, a retirement home near big-city bus lines is one alternative; another is to find a complex that provides local shuttle service to shops, movies, professional offices, and other popular destinations.
Whatever your choices, don’t act hastily. Do a great deal of preliminary research by vacationing in a likely area, talking to the residents, and reading the local papers. Married couples should make joint decisions. If one spouse is unhappy about the choice of a retirement home it’s a virtual certainty that the other spouse will be miserable as well, a short time after moving.