Is your house your home?


Is your house your home?

As many people approach or enter retirement, their thoughts often turn to retirement housing options. Often, family members enter the conversation, either by invitation, or they simply gate-crash the discussion and present their own views on the subject.

For many, staying in their current home, at least for the foreseeable future, will be their preferred choice. There is nothing to suggest that just because a person is entering a new phase of their life, their choice of housing should change.

However, retirement represents a major turning point in one’s life and, for some, a change of abode is part of that transition.

Perhaps it makes sense to move to more suitable accommodation. Something more suited to aging, such a home requiring less upkeep and maintenance, improved security, or being more accessible like having a lift or being on a single level.

Everybody’s needs will be different. Retirement accommodation is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

What are the options?

When it comes to retirement housing, there are a multitude of options available including:

  • Remaining in the current home, be it owned or rented
  • Downsize to a newer free-standing home, apartment, or town house in a similar area – perhaps freeing up some home equity to support retirement living expenses
  • Moving to another city or town – experiencing a sea-change or tree-change – perhaps to be closer to facilities and family
  • Relocating to a retirement village or lifestyle resort
  • Packing up and moving into a caravan, RV, or boat and becoming a grey nomad
  • Moving in with the kids or other family members
  • Relocating to aged care accommodation when declining health suggests this is an appropriate option.

The options are many.

However, if a move is contemplated, it requires a lot of careful thought and is a decision that should not be rushed or taken lightly.

Sadly, there are many stories of people that have made decisions about their retirement living, only to regret that decision. After selling a former family home and moving, reversing the decision, and going back to the way things were is simply not likely to happen.  

Moving to another area

In this article, I want to address some of the issues that should be considered if planning to relocate to another city or town or to experience a sea-change or a tree-change.

Many people don’t have the luxury of limitless money and are therefore unable to purchase their intended retirement home while still retaining their current home.

Therefore, if the dream is to relocate in retirement, perhaps to some idealistic locale or to a place visited during holidays in earlier days, it will often involve selling the current family home to free up cash to allow the dream to come true.

It is a fact that buying and selling a home can be one of life’s more stressful events. It can also be very expensive when considering the costs associated with selling and buying a home.

This is not something that should be entered into lightly and considerable planning needs to be undertaken when embarking on such an epic process.

Often there will also be a lot of emotions caught up in the process, particularly if the home being sold has been in the family for a long time. Just the process of de-cluttering a lifetime of belongings can be both challenging and confronting.

There are many excellent YouTube channels that address decluttering, in a sensitive and sensible manner. Furthermore, decluttering should not be confused with minimalism. While they may have similar characteristics, you can declutter without having to become a minimalist.

If the intention is to relocate to another location in retirement, perhaps one of the more practical suggestions is to rent a home or apartment in your preferred location for an extended period – at least six months.

Doing so will give you time to experience the location, check out the facilities it has to offer, and generally get the “feel” of the place to help decide if that is where you really want to live.

Where the intended retirement destination is a place you experienced at another time, living there on a trial will allow you to see if the “vibe” from past memories is still alive.

If, after “test driving” your planned destination, it ticks all the boxes, steps can be taken for a more permanent relocation.

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