The best advice you can get when it comes to finding Your Retirement Life forever home, is to spend time in the area you think you’ll like. Take our cabin in New Hampshire, for example. I knew the area like the back of my hand having spent a season as a ski instructor after Babson and then going up on weekends after my parents bought a house there. Over time it became obvious to me that we, as a family, were going to be spending a lot more time in New Hampshire and it felt right. That wouldn’t have happened over a weekend. It took years.
From Beth DeCarbo in the WSJ:
To Rick Brown and Jeanne Brown, finding a forever home has seemingly taken forever.
In just five years, the couple—he’s 71 and she’s 72—bought or built two different houses that they planned to live in for the rest of their lives. But their tastes changed—so they decided to pick up stakes both times. Now they have settled on a third home that seems to be their final choice.
If there is one takeaway, Mr. Brown says, never use the words “forever home.”
Like the Browns, many couples near or in retirement embark on a quest to find the perfect place to spend their twilight years. Soon, however, some people realize that what’s perfect now may be less than ideal later. Poor health and dwindling finances are obvious reasons some seniors choose to move. Other retirees retool their priorities when they realize how much they miss the grandchildren or hate their new neighborhood.
In truth, most home buyers don’t stay in their homes as long as they think they will, says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights with the National Association of Realtors, a trade group. “People may not want to move,” she says, “but they may decide to because life happens.”
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The association released the results of a survey earlier this year in which recent home buyers were asked to list factors that would compel them to move. “Life changes,” such as a marriage, birth or retirement, was cited as the top reason by 25% of the respondents aged 56 to 65 and 16% of respondents 66 to 74. The second-most common reason was a household member’s health, cited by 14% of respondents 56 to 65 and 25% of those 66 to 74. The third top reason, for both age groups, was downsizing to a smaller house.
But moving multiple times carries a big price tag. Forever homes are often cheaper than current homes, because the couples are downsizing. But, like any other sellers, retirees may face losses on their current properties because of the fluctuating market—losses that can pile up with each move. And, of course, every move brings more expenses—closing costs, commissions, moving charges and more.
Action Line: Sure, you can find something quickly, but you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to sell to a buyer at low price and essentially reduce Your Retirement Life savings.