What factors should one consider when choosing a location for retirement property? This is a subject that we have studied extensively. We have also begun a process of experimentation with different retirement property locations. By this I mean that we bought a lake house six years ago as a potential retirement location. More recently, we have decided to explore condo living in an equestrian community. Here are some of the retirement property factors we have thought about.
Retirement Lifestyle and Amenities
Do you want to experience the cultural and educational benefits of living in a college town?
Have you always wanted to live by the water, either ocean front or lake front?
Do you like to garden or work in the yard? Or would you prefer a low maintenance townhouse or condominium?
Cost of Property Acquisition
Many baby boomers who consider purchasing retirement property in a different location are thinking about downsizing to benefit from the equity in their existing home. In other words, many folks are house rich but investment poor. Now is a good time to be looking for retirement property including pre-retirement vacation homes that you can later use for retirement. Even vacation home property has become more affordable.
A related question is whether you want to purchase a lot and build your dream retirement home or buy an existing residence. Or you could try something in-between: a prefabricated modular house.
On the other hand, for some it may make more sense to rent in retirement rather than be a property owner.
General Cost of Living
I don’t think that anyone should select a retirement property location without considering the general cost of living in the desired location. There are several ways to determine the relative costs of living in different locations. Two very important and related component of the cost of living analysis are the overall retirement tax burdens and state income taxes in general. Retirement in a foreign country often produces significant cost of living advantages.
Climate in the retirement destination is a huge issue for some people. That’s why Arizona and Florida have traditionally been such popular retirement meccas. You can’t always fully appreciate the climate differences yourself before you live there. There are sites that will provide comparative lifestyle information in different locations including typical climate data.
Proximity to Family, Healthcare and Travel
Many baby boomers and retirees end up living near extended family. In the early years, the desire to spend time with grandchildren may influence the selection of retirement property. Later in life, health issues could affect a relocation decision.
Similarly, if you are a frequent traveler or have complex health problems, a need to be near travel and healthcare infrastructure will override other considerations in choosing a location to retire.
I’m sure I’ve overlooked other important factors. What are your priorities for picking a location for your retirement property?
Photo credit: Skagman