Don't Go Unprotected
Buying a new home is a big deal at any age, but picking a retirement home is a major decision. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that always knew where you wanted to spend time when you had the time. You planned ahead and purchased a second home as soon as you could. As you approached retirement, maybe you did some remodeling or upgraded by selling one home and purchasing another in the same general area. But you always knew that one day you would make your home in Rehoboth or Lewes or somewhere in Florida, Arizona or the Carolinas.
For a lot of people, busy working and raising a family, retirement catches them unprepared and undecided about where they would like to live and how. It reminds me of how I felt when I first struck out on my own, I had no idea what I wanted to be, but I knew for sure what I did not want to be.
For example, there are lots of people in New Jersey who have decided they do not want to stay in New Jersey when they retire. Why? The obvious reason – high taxes getting higher. Delaware looks like an attractive state to them because they’ve heard about our low property taxes, lack of sales tax and lower cost of living. But that’s all they really know about Delaware. A first meeting makes me feel more like a Tour Guide pointing out all the other great reasons to retire to Delaware. There’s more to choosing a place to live for the rest of your life than low taxes; you have to like the location and the lifestyle. You can’t return a house if you change your mind in 6 months.
A quick decision or yielding to family pressures to stay close to home is not always the right answer for you. One couple from New Jersey chose to move to Coastal Florida. They found a beautiful home with a pool, a lanai and all the amenities in a great community. Then they experienced their first summer, and it was hot and humid for months. They hated it and missed their children back home. For them, Delaware became the perfect choice and they purchased their dream home. But selling their home in Florida after only one year was stressful and costly.
In another example, the perfect retirement home seemed to be a smaller home in a community where all exterior maintenance was included in the homeowners’ fee. It was close to everything, a well-built beautiful home with great neighbors and community amenities. But most of the neighbors were part timers and the lack of yard for gardening and playing with the grandkids when they came to visit became a problem. This couple ended up selling within a year and buying a larger home on a larger lot in a more traditional community.
Now is a great time for Buyers and there are many choices. When you think you have found your perfect retirement home, ask yourself this question – “Can I see myself living happily in this home in this community 5 years from now?”