Whether you’re 55 or 70, retirement is an exciting prospect. You’ve spend the last 30 years of your life working to provide for yourself and your family, and now it’s time to hang your hat and do something just for you.
Most retirees like to stay in their own homes for as long as they can. Eventually, they might move to a smaller place, but it’s understandable for someone to prefer to stay where they’ve spent a large chunk of their lives.
If you do move, however, it might be the best decision you’ve ever made. Research shows that moving tends to improve the mental well-being of retirees. It gives them something to look forward to during this confusing next step.
If sticking around isn’t for you, you might be a little unsure how to proceed. Whether you’re moving across town to a smaller place or you’re moving across the country to be with family, here are a few things to do as you go.
- Choose Your Next Place to Live
First and foremost, don’t try to uproot your life without a solid plan. Start by choosing your next home destination.
Will you be staying in the same town or moving to a different state? Your situation with family and friends as well as your community involvement will likely influence this factor. You’ll want to be close to all the people and things that make you happy, especially now that you need to find things stay busy.
Many people choose to retire overseas because it’s more affordable and because they’ve always wanted to travel. Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Portugal, and Nicaragua are all popular retirement destinations. Not all areas in these countries are safe or retirement-friendly, though, so look for a community of other retirees to find an ideal place to settle.
Next, decide if you’re going to buy, rent, or build a house. Most people moving for retirement prefer to downsize from their large family home to a more manageable property. They’ll either buy a home or rent one that’s a more suitable size.
Some rent a duplex or an apartment. There are many communities of this nature with plenty of retirees that could be appealing to you. You’ll have a good social life and a network to reach out to if you want to volunteer or participate in hobbies. A great deal of retirees also choose to build their home. After working hard for decades, they’re ready for their dream space. If that’s for you, contact reputable home builders in your area and start drawing up plans. Nothing makes the move from working to retirement easier than something like a brand new house to look forward to.
- Get Your Home Ready to Sell
After you’ve set up your next living situation, it’s time to get rid of your old one. The housing market is doing pretty well, so if your house is in good shape, it shouldn’t be too difficult to sell.
Evaluate your home from the outside in. Consider replacing cracked and damaged siding or adding a fresh coat of paint if it’s peeling. Landscape your yard and research concrete repair in your area to fix up the sidewalk and driveway, should they need improvements.
Next, take a critical eye to your interior. Start by focusing on necessary repairs such as holes in the wall, low water pressure, ripped carpet, and a broken garbage disposal.
After you’ve taken care of the serious issues, focus on the cosmetics. Peeling paint, cracked floor tiles, and seriously outdated fixtures can drive down the price of your home and make it harder to find a buyer.
If you’re handy, you can probably handle a lot of these repairs and updates yourself. Find local hardware and home centers in your area. If you’re not familiar with the best home improvement stores, simply Google something like “home center in Easton, PA,” and you should find a reputable store to help you with your repairs.
Don’t feel like you have to fix every little thing. Just focus on the big stuff, and give potential buyers something to look forward to updating themselves.
- Find a Great Realtor
While you’re making the repairs and necessary upgrades to your house, shop around for a great realtor. This person will handle all the negotiations, contracts, liaisons, and paperwork for your property. You’re trusting them with one of the biggest investments of your life, so choose a good one.
A great realtor will have a positive reputation around town. They’ll probably work for a credible broker and have plenty of sales under their belt. Ask around for good recommendations.
You can also check online reviews. Remember to look at the number of reviews given, not just the stars next to their name. A realtor with 50 reviews and four and a half stars will almost always be better than a realtor with five stars and two reviewers.
When you’ve narrowed your realtors down to just a few, interview them. Ask a series of questions to make sure they have your best interest in mind and that you have the same expectations for the property. This is also a good time to negotiate. You might be able to find a realtor who’s willing to reduce their commission rate and save you a few thousand dollars!
- Close the Deal
When you’ve chosen a good realtor, closing the deal is usually pretty simple. They’ll handle the paperwork and attorneys so all you have to do is sign your name and be on your way to retirement.
However, home closings don’t always go smoothly. You might not like the people your realtor has chosen, or maybe you prefer to go with companies you trust.
Research a local conveyance solicitor, attorney, and financial advisor if you’d rather go with your own people. You know the drill. Just Google something like “Brisbane conveyancing solicitors” to get great local results for your home closing needs.
- Pack Up and Move on With Your Life
Once you sign the final paperwork on your home closing, it’s time to pack up and move onto the next chapter of your life! Packing the house is often one of the most difficult challenges in the entire home sales process. That’s why many people prefer to hire a moving service to do it for them.
However, if you’d prefer to handle the task yourself, research some simple packing tips to make it go more smoothly.
- Label your boxes by room so the movers know where to put them.
- Use Ziplock bags and plastic wrap to secure your small belongings.
- Schedule a free donation pickup for all the things you’re getting rid of.
- Get moving boxes from liquor stores and grocery stores rather than buying them.
- Try to use original boxes for electronics, if possible.
- Keep a box of packing and moving supplies accessible, such as pliers, zip ties, tape, light bulbs, extension cords, putty, etc.
- Pack a special bag with a few days worth of clothing, toiletries, and medication so you have the necessities when you first move in.
- Secure paintings and fragile items with puppy pads.
After you’ve landed in your new place, the worst is over, and you’re ready to be retired! Now, your life will involve volunteering, enjoying your favorite hobbies, and relaxing. Congratulations on your achievement!