As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.
According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.
“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.”
Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?
“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”
The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.
“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”
As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?
“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”
As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.
“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”
Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?
“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”
Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.
“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”
How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.
When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!
This Sunday at 2 a.m., your clocks will jump ahead one hour, the start of more evening sunlight for months to come.
To many a minor annoyance or a bit of relief, Daylight Saving Time reminds us of the sun's daily effect on our lives and tells us spring is on its way. If only we could save ourselves from the seasonal allergies.
But no matter what the time change tells you, Daylight Saving Time is implemented for a reason. The tradition of springing forward and falling back is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation and is rooted in saving energy.
The agency boasts people tend to spend more time outside during Daylight Saving Time, meaning they tend to run household appliances and lights less during the nearly 8-month period. Also, it prevents traffic incidents because people are driving around more during the light hours. It also is a crime deterrent, DOT claims, because people are out during the daylight and not at night, "when more crime occurs," the agency states.
Daylight Saving Time was first used in World War I and World War II. But the U.S. didn't implement a nationwide Daylight Saving Time standard, the U.S. Department of Energy said, until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966. In 2007, the federal government expanded Daylight Saving Time, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in order to reduce energy consumption. Daylight Saving Time now accounts for about 65 percent of the year.
However, not everyone agrees it offers energy saving benefits. Some studies claim the time switch saves energy on lighting but is surpassed by usage increases for heating and air-conditioning.
States are able to exempt themselves. Hawaii and most of Arizona don't take part in Daylight Saving Time. Arizona gets plenty of sunlight and in 1968, decided to opt out of the time change. However, certain Native American reservations in Arizona still participate. Other non-observers are the American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
For a convenient worksheet, go to pueblo.gsa.gov.
Your credit report affects a lender’s willingness to give you a loan, and if there’s a mistake that negatively impacts you, you can try to correct it.
Real estate agents and lenders can help with this, or use one of the mortgage calculators on the Web (such as on bloomberg.com).
Look for the best rates and terms and a good-faith estimate of closing costs.
You won’t waste time looking at houses you can’t afford. Plus, a preapproval letter will demonstrate your viability as a buyer (a good edge, when you bid on a house, if there are multiple offers), and you’ll save time once a bid is accepted.
An agent, who will be paid by the seller, can do a lot of the legwork for you. To find an agent, ask friends and family, interview several candidates (make sure they’re licensed and have access to Multiple Listing Service). Decide who you’re most comfortable with, and contact references if possible.
Investigate issues like crime rate, schools, local services, proximity to museums or other institutions that are important to you, commuting distance, ethnic diversity, and property taxes.
Divide it into must-haves and like-to-haves.
Read the newspaper real-estate section, check out online sources (like realtor.com), go to open houses, and use your agent. Print out a checklist of things to look for in each home you tour at hud.gov.
But it should be contingent on the results of a home inspection and your ability to secure a mortgage.
To find a qualified inspector, ask for recommendations, or search for a certified inspector at nachi.org. Ask for and check references.
Once the sale is final, use the Moving Checklist to help you hire movers, order supplies, and pack up your belongings.
1. Check your hot water heater's thermostat. You might want to set it to 120 degrees, suggests Andy Farmer, education resources manager for Virginia Energy Sense, a statewide initiative developed to encourage electric energy efficiency and conservation in Virginia. "The default manufacturer setting for many water heaters is 140 degrees Fahrenheit," Farmer says. "However, 120 degrees is typically sufficient for your water heating needs all year round, according to the Department of Energy."
[See: 8 Energy-Efficient Home Improvements That Save Money.]
But then again, you may not want to set it there. Many dishwashers – especially the newer models – need 140 degree water, so before you do anything, check the manual. If it indicates that the appliance needs 140 degrees, the next time you buy a dishwasher, you could get one with a booster heater – and then lower your hot water heater's thermostat to the 120 degree setting.
It might be worth the hassle. Farmer says the lower temperature should save homeowners an estimated 6 to 10 percent on their utility bill, which could be significant. "On average, water heating is the second-largest energy expense in homes, accounting for about 18 percent of your utility bill," he says.
2. Look for – and fix – leaks. Repair leaking faucets, toilets and pipe; a leaking roof is a good idea to check out, too. An easy way to check for leaks – aside from eyeballing your sink – is to check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used, says Mark LeChevallier, director of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship at American Water, a public utility company that serves 30 states and parts of Canada. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak somewhere.
3. Cook with something smaller than the oven. You bought your stove for a reason. Still, it's probably not a bad thing to be aware that any time you use a toaster oven, electric skillet, slow cooker or microwave, you use less energy.
4. Run your appliances in the evening. Especially if it's a brutally hot day. Why? "Because these appliances produce heat, it will cause your air conditioning to work harder," says Farmer, adding that holding off in the evening helps your neighbors, too. "It can also reduce any potential strains on the grid." Of course, if you really want to save money on your electric bill, Farmer points out that you could wash your dishes by hand.
5. Replace your filters. You hopefully are doing this anyway, since clogged air filters often lead to air-conditioning units and other items breaking down. Even if that weren't the case, an unchanged air filter means the air-conditioning unit, dryer or what have you will work harder or run longer, and – you guessed it – use more energy.
[See: 10 Ways to Live Green On a Budget.]
6. Turn off the ceiling fan. That is, when you aren't home. "Ceiling fans don't actually cool your home; they only circulate air to make you feel cooler," says Kathy Lyford, vice president of New England Operations at the National Grid, an international electric and gas company servicing the northeastern United States and England. So when you're at home, by all means, let your fans whirl away. But to let the blades spin for hours on end when you're gone – that just adds to your electric bill.
7. Use electric fans. Instead of constantly running the air conditioner, try an electric fan. Even if they're on continuously, they use little electricity compared to an air conditioner, Lyford says.