Choosing a place in retirement to call home is not a search to take lightly. Not only is it possible to end up in a place that is a poor fit for your lifestyle and personality, you can easily spend too much, go with the wrong financing alternative, or neglect to plan for the long term. Whether you hope to live in a retirement home or in a house that you buy, it’s important to head in with a plan, vetted by a personal finance adviser. Before you do any of this, though, you should look at kind of mistakes that others have made before you. You need to be careful to not repeat them.
Whether you believe your home in retirement should be your own or like the idea of a managed retirement center, you can’t make informed decisions without experience. Buying without trying, however, is a common mistake.
Move to each location for a week to give it a test drive. There are all kinds of things that you can discover this way — that you don’t like the people, that you can’t stand being far from your friends and family, or that poor availability of public transportation makes your life more difficult. It’s even possible to find a location irksome for unpleasant noise levels or smells. It’s never a good idea to skip the trial part.
If your friends have bought homes in retirement, you may decide that it’s the right choice for you, too. If you keep hearing all the time that West Somerset, Dorset, North Norfolk and other such places are the best for life in retirement, you may decide that there’s nothing left to do but to go to one of these places, yourself.
This is hardly the right way to go about building a life that makes you happy, however. Everyone has unique preferences, and you want to think about yours. While a coastal location might be very popular with some, you may personally hate windy locations, and the thought of storm floods may terrify you. Personally, you may prefer Liverpool city over West Somerset, for its Beatles connection (you can check it out online at EntwistleGreen.co.uk).
You may even decide that all your friends who have bought homes have ended up house-rich and cash-poor, and decide not to go down that path yourself. You need to exercise independent judgment every step of the way.
Don’t Underestimate Costs
Certainly, anyone would plan adequately for the initial payment up front, repairs, remodeling, maintenance, property taxes and so on. What they may forget, is how living expenses, transportation, healthcare and other expenses become more expensive each passing year. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to enlist an accountant for help finding out how much the actual costs will be over the next few decades. You will need to take these calculations into account when you plan to spend on a house. The more you need for day-to-day expenses, the smaller the home is that you will be able to afford.
Research Customer Satisfaction
Many retirement homes and communities think up innovative service offerings, and it can be easy to fall for them. Before committing to a location, however, it’s important to do considerable research talking to residents, looking online for complaints or lawsuits, and simply waiting to see how things develop. You don’t need to have your home waiting the very day that you retire, after all. Being an early adopter is never a good idea for a place that you need to go home in your golden years. If you are unsatisfied at some point down the line, it can be hard to find the energy to sell and move all over again.
Plan Ahead for Driving
Some retirement destinations provide easy access to public transportation, and others don’t — residents need to be able to drive themselves. Seniors can feel stuck in such locations, especially when they are no longer drive. It can also be a major source of annoyance to have no such easy access to important places nearby — stores, entertainment venues, places of worship so on. It’s always a good idea to be close to the places that you need to go to.
Britain has many retirement villages — brand-new townships with every facility needed to be built right outside. It is one of the most important positives of these villages, that they also put hundreds of fellow residents within easy reach. Friends tend to be easy to make. Such villages are a viable and alternative to traditional retirement homes or flats where one is required to live one’s own. It’s important to investigate every alternative available.
Louise Fletcher has had a career in real estate ever since leaving school. Working in various positions, and niche’s over the years she has a lot of valued information to offer her readers.