For so many of us, we look forward to keeping our home all the way into retirement, but that's something that you should think about before the time comes.
Here is a list of some considerations to look at before you retire:
- How much equity do you have in your home? If you have a decent amount of equity, you might be able to leverage that into a smaller but paid for house. If your current home is completely paid off or will be by the time you retire, you can use the equity for emergencies or a reverse mortgage. The best way to look at the situation is to consider how much home you might have if you were to sell and buy a smaller home.
- Can you afford the payments? If you'll still have mortgage payments into retirement, will you be able to afford those payments? Things might be fine now, but once your income becomes more restrictive, will your mortgage become more of a burden? You will need to calculate it in the context of your future economic situation.
- Will you be able to maintain your current home? If your home is now an entertaining and relaxing amount of work to maintain, what might it be like if you get older or get injured? Retirement will be a great time to do the things you want, but is fixing a leaky sink or mowing a huge lawn on the list of things that you want to do as you grow older?
- Will your home be the right thing as your mobility becomes more restrictive? Many older folks can't handle stairs. If you have a two or three story house, it might get difficult to get to your bedroom or even half your house. You don't want to be among those people who only live in half of their house simply because you can't use stairs. A one-story house or one with easier access might make it simpler as you and your loved ones get older.
- Is it the right location for medical care, shopping, and your support system? A home that's located a long way out of town and away from doctors, hospitals, and grocery stores can become a hassle as you age. As your eyesight changes and you're less able to move about, being far from everything you need might prove to be a hassle and might even cause you to become homebound.
- Do you have pets or plan on having pets in retirement? Renting can be a bit of hassle with pets, but it's not insurmountable. Plan ahead and you can find a place where you are allowed to have pets. You might also be able to buy a home so that you can keep your pets with you without needing anyone's permission.
- Do you have the security you need? As we get older, we often become the target of scams and break-ins. If you are not someplace where you're safe, as you get older you might find yourself having security problems. Look at living in a safer community or one where emergency help is able to reach you faster. Having neighbors in an apartment building or a condo complex can be a huge deterrent for bad guys.
The home that was perfect in your 30s, 40s and 50s might become a bit overwhelming when you're in your 60s and 70s. Consider how your current home will affect your retirement. Planning ahead for a move before retirement will be simpler than waiting until your home is a burden.