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Moving in Retirement: What Do You Need to Know

Moving in Retirement: What Do You Need to Know

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Teresa Greenhill

According to data from AARP, most older adults would prefer to stay in their current home while they age. But since few Americans live in accessible homes, most retirees will have no choice but to move if they hope to avoid senior living facilities. While the idea of relocating is intimidating when you’ve lived in the same house for decades, moving to a more senior-friendly home can drastically improve your retirement years. This information about buying, selling, and moving will help you take the first steps.

Looking for a New Home

The needs of senior homebuyers are different than those of younger families, but unfortunately, the market hasn’t quite caught up to that fact. It’s important to know exactly what you need out of your next home so you can communicate it to your realtor. In some markets, you may have to look beyond single-family homes and into condos and townhomes. Since many of these units are newer, they’re more likely to have the accessibility features seniors need.
A senior-friendly home doesn’t just mean handrails in the bathroom. Seniors should consider all the ways their needs could change in the future, including the possibility of a temporary or permanent disability. If you want this to be the last home you buy, look for a house that offers accessible features such as:

? A step-free entryway
? Single-floor living
? Wide doorways and hallways
? Hard flooring or low-pile carpeting
? Higher electrical outlets
? Front-control appliances
? Lever door handles

HowStuffWorks offers further advice on what makes a house handicap accessible.

Selling Your House

If you’ve lived in your home for many years, it may be outdated and not in the best shape. Even if you took impeccable care of your house, age takes its toll. If you sell as-is, you may not get the price you’re hoping for. On the other hand, remodeling your home before you move may not be a task or expense you’re up for.

There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of whether seniors should sell their homes asis or fix them up first. As you decide, consider your financial needs, your timeline, and the scope of repairs or updates that would be necessary to increase your home’s value. You can also use this free tool to get an idea of what your home is worth, which will help you decide what updates or repairs are worth putting money into.

Hiring Movers

In your later years, packing up a box truck and moving yourself stops being an option. On top of the hassle, the risk of injury is simply too high to be worth it. Senior citizens are best served by hiring full-service movers who will pack, load, and transport items to the new house. That way, the professionals handle all the heavy lifting while you’re only responsible for unpacking.

While a full-service move is convenient, it can also be expensive. To save money on your move, downsize before moving, pack light items yourself, and schedule your move for a less busy day of the week. In Portland, Oregon, the busiest moving days are Friday and Saturday. By scheduling during the middle of the week instead, you may get a lower quote, not to mention a more well-rested crew.

To find trustworthy movers, read online reviews and get estimates from multiple companies to find the best deal. Be sure to show the estimator every area of your home to get an accurate quote. Finally, make sure any prospective movers have the proper licensing and insurance so you know they’re a legitimate business.

There’s a lot to accomplish between deciding to move and settling into a new home. You should start the process early in your retirement years so you have plenty of time to find the right home and coordinate the move. By relocating now rather than when an unexpected life change forces you to, you gain the reassurance of knowing you’ll be able to age at home.

Image via Unsplash

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Jamohl DeWald

One of my greatest joys as a real estate professional is handing over the keys of ownership to a first-time home buyer. As an experienced agent, I understand that preparation is important to avoid missteps with that first home purchase. I’m here to help with navigating the waters of those potential missteps.

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