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Your Retirement: Restore Your Existing Home or Move to a Senior Community

You’re approaching your retirement age and now you face the decision of remaining in your existing home or moving to a senior community. Both are appealing options but may not be right for every circumstance. Here are a few pros and cons of each choice to help you decide. 

Mortgage-Free 

If your home is mortgage-free, you can live pretty well in your existing residence with only homeowner’s insurance and property taxes to pay out annually. On the other hand, moving, even with the sale of your existing home, may still make you liable for a small payment monthly. 

Repairs 

While you may not have a mortgage on your existing home, you will need to make repairs and do basic maintenance as required on an older home. Some items you will want to consider for long-term benefits that make a lasting impact would be roof replacement or foundation repair.  Along with all of the normal maintenance of lawn care, and up-keep. With a new home, you can expect a different type of investment, like decorating with window blinds and shades and maybe some new furniture.

Annual Expenses 

Depending on what state you live in, your property taxes can run into the tens of thousands annually. They can be just like having a second mortgage. And, in retirement, you’re basically living off your savings. Paying these high costs annually may be something that’s no longer affordable. In addition, some older homes have drafts and poor insulation that can cause higher than normal heating and cooling bills. 

Bring in Extra Cash 

Not everyone has substantial savings or a retirement account to live on during their golden years. If you need extra money to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, selling your home may prove beneficial. 

Down-Sizing 

Taking care of a large older home is a labor of love, but the maintenance and chore list can pretty much consume your day. Down-sizing and buying a smaller home, condo, or even moving to a retirement community will reduce the amount of work on your “honey-do” list. This frees up your time for more fun things like travel and pursuing hobbies. 

Will Your Home Sell 

If your home is in need of many updates, selling it may yield a return that’s far less than you anticipated. The cost of making the necessary changes can cost you a lot of your tucked away savings. Carefully weigh the cost of repairs vs. the return you might get when you sell. Typically you do not recoup your investment in your home dollar-for-dollar at sale time.

Single Level 

As you grow older darting up and down the stairs as you did when you were younger can cause you discomfort. Selling your large multilevel house and replacing it with a single level home or apartment will eliminate the need for climbing the stairs repeatedly. 

Familiar/New

There’s something comforting about living in the same home for many years. You raised children and had many social gatherings over the years. It’s also a place that your children love to stay when they come to visit you during the holidays. A new house doesn’t have any past history, however, you can create new memories in your retirement. 

Amenities for You 

A retirement community caters to older adults. Many communities have various amenities such as a weight room, swimming pool, clubhouse and a host of activities that can vary throughout the week. There’s activities, a beauty parlor, wellness centers and spas. Be sure to research each one carefully before selecting your favorite. Remaining in your home, you would have to drive to different locations in order to enjoy these same types of amenities. 

People Your Age 

When you move into a retirement community after you retire, you’re surrounded by people of a similar age. This means that you grew up in the same era, listening to the same music and basically lived a similar lifestyle. This sense of community is often lost when living in a single-family home in a neighborhood where you may be the oldest residents.

There are pros and cons to both selling your home or remaining in it through retirement. Weigh them carefully to see which one works best for you.