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Finding a House After Retirement

Monday, April 10, 2023

Retirees usually decide to move house for financial reasons, to be closer to family, or in search of a temperate climate.  

There are other points to consider when looking for a suitable house after retirement. The needs of people over 50 differ from those of younger homebuyers, with accessibility, location, and maintenance being key factors. 

Choosing where to live is one of the biggest decisions you'll make when you retire. Whether you are looking to downsize or relocate to your dream place, read on to find out more about your options when it comes to finding a home to buy or rent after retiring. 

A retired couple on the porch of their new home drinking tea while watching their new garden

How to Find a House After Retirement

Your budget and your needs will determine where to live after retiring. 

Your budget comprises your retirement income, savings, and any other sources of income you may have.

Your needs include factors such as the location, size of the home, number of bedrooms, and any other features you value. For example, you may want a one-floor living space without stairs. It is also important to consider access to medical care, shops, and favorite activities. 

Once you’ve established what you want and how much you can pay, it is time to research the internet to find your dream home. If possible, attend open house tours. A real estate agent can be a valuable resource whether you are looking to rent or buy a house or apartment.

How to Rent a House In Retirement

You may decide that renting a home fits your budget and lifestyle better than buying. Renting a house or apartment in retirement lets you downsize and simplify your living arrangements. Plus, it gives you more flexibility and frees you from dealing with maintenance issues. 

However, renting does not provide the stability of owning your home. Your landlord may raise the rent or ask you to vacate the premises. A long-term lease will lessen the uncertainty.

How to Buy a House In Retirement

You can get a mortgage after you retire if you qualify. You must have a good credit rating, a low debt-to-income ratio, and - most importantly - a steady income. Most lenders will let you use the income from social security, trust distributions, and other assets. You may want to find a lender who has experience working with retirees because they will understand your situation better and will be able to advise you about the best options.

Retirees usually buy a new house because old houses may require expensive maintenance. 

If you already own a home, you can sell it and use the money to buy something smaller and less expensive.

A gray house surrounded by greenery in a peaceful neighborhood

What Else to Consider when Buying a House After Retirement

You may want to know the history and previous owners of the house you want to buy. Also, be ready to research the house’s value, review the building permit data, and arrange a home inspection.  

How to Find the History of the House

Your real estate agent will be able to tell you whether the house you want to buy is in a designated historic district. Living in a historic house brings some restrictions, for example, regarding changes to the exterior.

If you want to see how the house looked several years ago, enter the address on Google Maps. Go to street view and click on “see more dates”. If you are lucky, you will see how the house looked in 2007. That's how far back the Google Maps timeline goes.

Of course, you can always chat with your prospective neighbors. More likely than not, they will be happy to tell you all they know about the house and the neighborhood.

How to Find out the Owner of the House

You need to verify the ownership information before making an offer on the house to ensure you're dealing with the rightful owner. Visit your county or city's property records office or website, or search online property databases such as Zillow, Redfin, and Alternatively, hire a title company. A title company will give you the ownership information and reveal any liens or encumbrances on the property.

If you are working with a real estate agent, they can help you find who owns the house you're interested in buying. 

Once you find who the owner is, try to connect with them. They could provide some useful information.      

How to Find Home’s Value

You can estimate the value of a house by using an online valuation tool, but you will get more accurate results if you hire an appraiser or work with a real estate agent. 

If you apply for a mortgage, your lender will ask a third-party home appraiser to evaluate the property.

 A retired couple carrying boxes into their new home as they’re moving into retirement home

How to Find Permits Pulled on a House  

Building permit data provides valuable information about any construction or renovation work on the property. It also lets you ensure that there aren’t any outstanding fees associated with the construction project. 

You can find building permits in the city’s online public records or by visiting the local Building Permits Department. You may also ask your real estate agent to get them.

If a seller has made any significant changes to the property without obtaining the necessary building permits, they should disclose this information. Buying a house with unpermitted work can affect the financing and insurance of the property.

How to Find a Home Inspector

Before buying a home, arrange an inspection. A home inspector will assess the property to ensure it's safe and without any hidden issues. 

Ask your friends and family to recommend a home inspector. You can also look at the reviews and referrals at websites such as Houzz, Angie's List, Home Advisor, Yelp, Thumbtack, and NextDoor.

You can entrust the job to the home inspector your real estate agent recommends. If you want to find your own, look for certified home inspectors and ask several of them for a sample copy of their previous home inspection. That way, you can check whether their reports are detailed. 

Can I Buy a House Without a Realtor?

You don’t have to work with a real estate agent or realtor when buying a house in retirement, but using their expertise is highly recommended. They can help you find properties that meet your needs, negotiate with sellers on your behalf, and guide you through the complex paperwork involved in buying a home.

Additionally, real estate agents and realtors are legally obligated to act in their client's best interests, which can provide added peace of mind. If you’ve decided to buy a home without an agent, hire a real estate attorney to help you with the complex parts of the transaction.

A retired man discussing his home buying options with a realtor

How to Find a Home Builder

Are you thinking of building a custom home after retirement? That is a great opportunity to get the home that suits you. 

Make sure to work with reputable builders. Ask your friends and family for referrals, search local builders online, and look at the homes they recently completed. Ensure the home builders are licensed, insured, and have a good reputation in the industry. Choose the home builder that you feel comfortable working with and who offers the best value for your money.

Consider a Retirement Community

Retirement communities can be the best option for retirees looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle. You can rent a place or buy it. You can opt for a community that offers independent living or one catering to retirees who need assistance.

Some active-living retirement communities are like holiday resorts, with amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, exercise room, tennis courts, walking trails, and more. Assisted living communities are for retirees who can maintain an independent lifestyle but need help with meal preparation and housekeeping. Nursing homes provide around-the-clock care for residents and help with daily activities such as bathing and dressing.

A retired lady at a family and friends gathering after moving home

Let Shyft Move You to Your Dream Retirement Home

Finding a house after retirement is a complex and lengthy procedure. Fortunately, moving to the house of your dreams is a much easier affair when you let Shyft organize your move.

Shyft representatives understand the challenges and concerns you face as you are about to start a new chapter of your life.  

Shyft uses state-of-the-art technology to make your moving experience smooth and simple. With a network of hundreds of verified moving companies, Shyft can connect you with a mover that fits your needs and budget. On top of that, you will get a dedicated Move Coach who will guide the entire process and safeguard your interests. Whichever company handles your move, Shyft ensures the same quality standards. 

Your experience with the Shyft relocation process starts with a video call. The call is conducted through a proprietary Shyft Next app for iPhone or Android devices. Download the app and schedule a video call with a Shyft representative online or by phone at 1-888-501-3181.

During the video call, which lasts about 30 minutes, your Shyft Move Coach will ask you to walk around your home and point the camera on your device at the items you want to move. That is all your Move Coach needs to create a moving inventory list without ever stepping into your home.

While your Move Coach is busy taking inventory, feel free to ask questions and let them know whether you need a packing service or packing materials, what kind of moving insurance you require, whether you have any pets, and so on. If you remember any additional details later, Shyft is there for you seven days a week.

Soon after the video call, your Move Coach will send you the inventory list, which is typically 95% accurate. You can add or remove items to make it 100% accurate.

When you are satisfied with your inventory list, send it to your Move Coach with your approval. The Move Coach then starts sourcing a moving company for you by posting the details, such as the weight and volume of your belongings and the distance of the move, on Shyft’s Moveboard. This is where the moving companies in Shyft’s extensive network will bid for your business. The bidding approach ensures that you get quotes with competitive pricing. 

You will receive at least three top quotes. When you select a quote, the price is locked and cannot be changed. There are no hidden costs. 

However, your moving quote has an expiry date. If it expires and you still wish to move, Shyft will repeat the process for you, but the new prices may differ.

AARP members can get a discount of up to $250 every time they move.

Once you've settled into your new home, take time to enjoy your retirement and your new surroundings. Get to know your neighbors and explore your new community. In short, have a great life!

Book your move now with Shyft and claim your AARP member discount!

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