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Relocating after Retirement
Old 06-15-2011, 10:42 AM   #1
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Relocating after Retirement

If you moved, or plan to move after you retire, how long did it take, or how long do you expect it to take, to find a new place to live? Did you start looking before you actually retired?

My target date is a little under two years from now and I suspect it may take me that long to find a suitable property. If I did find the perfect place before I retire I'd either have to borrow against my retirement plan at work or take out a HELOC to pay for it. But if I wait until after I retire and sell my current house, so I can pay cash for the new property, I'll need somewhere to live while I'm looking, and my post-retirement budget doesn't include any money for rent, it assumes my home will be paid off.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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We plan to move. I am retired, but my DW is continuing to work part-time from home until our boys are out of high school in 5 years. We have already begun to look. On a trip to Myrtle Beach SC last fall we checked out a 55+ community and the general area. We will do that same as we travel over the next five years.

However, we plan to live in an RV for a while after the kids are on their own. Part of the purpose is to see the country, but part is to check out potential places to live. It's fairly cheap living, especially if you're going to see the country anyway. Beats paying a mortgage or rent for a place you're only living in part-time due to your travels.

Chances are though that we will stay in Nevada. We love it here overall, good climate, low taxes, close to a lot of places we like over in California. We've both agreed that we'd have to find someplace pretty special to get us to move, but it's not out of the question.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:16 AM   #3
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I started looking for a place I wanted to retire long before I actually retired. It's best to spend as much time as possible in the area you want to retire before making the move, take vacations there if possible. Assuming there are no major changes in the housing market over the next 2 years you should have no problem finding a place to buy fairly quickly. The problem will be trying to predict how long it will take to sell your existing home. I would wait until my existing home is sold before making a firm commitment on a new one.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:39 AM   #4
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We are starting to look now with retirement 7-9 years out. This spring we vacationed in TN to get a feel for the area. Our intent would be to buy vacant land for now to keep taxes low, and build either a year prior to retirement or AT retirement.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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When we were thinking of moving to Springfield, we vacationed there at every opportunity, went to open houses, and talked to a few realtors. Each time we visited we found truly wonderful homes that we would have bought in a heartbeat, had we been ready to do so. There were a plethora of beautiful homes available at very low prices.

Have you tried taking a vacation in your chosen retirement location, and going to open houses? We found that realtors at open houses were mostly pretty bored and they were happy to talk to us about real estate even though we were honest about not being ready to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinger1457
I would wait until my existing home is sold before making a firm commitment on a new one.
I second the above comment.
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:09 PM   #6
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I would wait until my existing home is sold before making a firm commitment on a new one.
I agree, and you don't have to be retired to follow this advice in this market.

We have two folks in the neighborhood who want to move (one a corporate transfer, the other a retired couple, who have already purchased a home down south).

The corporate folks took an offer $200k under the price what they paid for the home (newly built, in late 2005) to sell and let them move on. I don't know if the company picked up any of the "adjustment" due to the transfer.

The retired couple has had their home on the market (built by them in 1992) for close to two years and has reduced the price over $150k. Their latest reduction is $30k, and if they can't find a buyer, they are going to have to put their retirement home up for sale (newly built, on a golf course). They won't be able to pay off their retirement home without selling the old place, and they cannot reduce the old place further. You also have to remember that they built the original house in 1992, much before the "froth" in the market occurred, so they do have a lot of equity. The problem is that they can't move without the sale.

I'm not an RE investor but I do understand the bargains out there. The problem is if you have to "transfer equity" between homes and must make a sale. For me, I would not buy unless I could sell my current home or not do so with a strong contingency (which we had when we sold our last home and needed the equity to build our current home, back in 1994).
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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We found the perfect place for us before we even thought about retiring. We lost it by staying on the fence tooooo long. It actually made us decide to retire, and did within the year. In 6 months we sold our old home and moved to where we live now.
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Old 06-15-2011, 01:53 PM   #8
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We found a place, a lot, 5 years before we retired. DW wanted Water, Trees, and Mountains, and somewhat close to the grand kids. As they live in Houston, I knew she would not get all four of her desires. I also knew we were two years ahead of the Baby Boom generation, and if at 55 we were thinking of retiring the BB's would be thinking the same thing and tree'd water lots would get expensive. We kept the lot for almost 5 years before building the house, weekended for about a year, then we both retired. To tell the truth we were both planning on w*rking longer, but this board gave us the tools and confidence to see there was no reason to wait.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:12 PM   #9
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Well we moved to the west coast from Toronto. Then we decided to expand our winter vacation from 2 months to 7 months. But we still maintain our place in Vancouver for the summers. This is a luxury because we only spend 4 months there.

I think you need to scope out any destination for more than a vacation before making the move. We had been going to PV for a few weeks, then 2 months and finally 7 months.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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I am planning on taking about 9-12 months of visiting my eventual destination, which I am very familiar with already, then moving there and finding a suitable rental while I take my time searching for a permanent place. I'm in no hurry, and don't think the US real estate market is going to go ballistic anytime soon. First things first, though - gotta wrap up work!
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
If you moved, or plan to move after you retire, how long did it take, or how long do you expect it to take, to find a new place to live? Did you start looking before you actually retired?

My target date is a little under two years from now and I suspect it may take me that long to find a suitable property. If I did find the perfect place before I retire I'd either have to borrow against my retirement plan at work or take out a HELOC to pay for it. But if I wait until after I retire and sell my current house, so I can pay cash for the new property, I'll need somewhere to live while I'm looking, and my post-retirement budget doesn't include any money for rent, it assumes my home will be paid off.
If you don't think the real estate situation is going to be a whole lot better in 2 years (not a stretch), it may be time to get the house prepped for sale and on the market. Moving into a rental (a nice problem to have because your house has sold) is a bit of a pain, but renting and not owning gives you tremendous flexibility to purchase in your final destination.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:23 PM   #12
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Thanks for posting the question and I look forward to hearing all the experiences.

DH retired just a couple weeks ago. We most definitely want to move. Our town is a nice town, but not where we ever expected to live long-term. Moved here for school 30 years ago; before we knew what was happening, our kids were in school and we stayed put so as not to uproot them. (Life happened).

We are looking at several places - a couple in Arkansas (where we are now) and Massachusetts (DH's home state and where he really hopes to retire). I like Mass., too - but there are sure lots of people up there. We will sell this home first. That is a must. Then, the PLAN is to rent in 2 or 3 of our "maybe" locations and make a decision. That means getting rid of lots and lots of accumulated stuff.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:37 PM   #13
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We vacationed in the area we wanted to move to and then rented in the area for almost a year . That really helped us select the perfect location . I do think you don't need a whole year four months should do it . We rented a small place and only unpacked essentials .This was after we had sold our other house . Of course then you have the expense of renting and the two moves .
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:50 PM   #14
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We started looking around about two years before I retired, then more intensely the year before. DW's only issue was that she wanted to be within an hour's drive of her father and brother, who has a daughter DW is close to and cares for deeply.

I just wanted out of the DC area traffic and didn't care much about anything else. A southern state such as NC or SC would have been my preference but I figured that since I was going to be retired it didn't matter if we got three feet of snow since I wasn't going out in it anyway.

In 2001 we found a nice development being built in WV that turned out to be a shorter drive to FIL's and brother's place than our old house was, and signed a contract a year before the actual settlement date. The old house was paid for, which I learned later was the only reason the builder would accept the contract. Everything worked out fairly smoothly except the final moving day was a nightmare. There was a little "bidding war" on the old house and it sold in three days for $25k more than asking price. I'm pretty sure those days are gone for the foreseeable future. Except for the actual moving day, which was a nightmare, everything went fairly smoothly.

If we had it to do over we would sell the old house first, then rent in the new location for a year before buying. We dodged a couple of bullets we didn't know existed but that was sheer luck, hence the recommendation to rent for a year first. We'd also buy the next size smaller model house and have the garage made bigger than it is but overall we're happy with the choices we made.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:26 PM   #15
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We started looking several years ago - took a variety of vacations/ househunting trips to eliminate potential areas. We finally settled on San Antonio, and have established a relationship with a realtor down there. We get automatic notifications of houses that fit our criteria. Now we just have to wait for our house to sell - we plan to pay cash for the house down there, so we need the money from our current house! It's been on the market for 7 months - the market s*cks right now.

I'm so glad that we didn't buy before we retired - you never know how long it will take to get the house sold. In the meantime, we watch the houses down there, and hope that our favorites are still on the market when we finally sell!
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Already found our retirement home
Old 06-15-2011, 09:41 PM   #16
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Already found our retirement home

We found the perfect home for our retirement 2 years ago at a very good price. Of course, the market was down and it meant selling our house at a not as good price. We went ahead and bought the "retirement home", and put our house on the market. It sold in 7 months, for 26% below initial asking price (which was perhaps a bit high to begin with).

We are now in our dream retirement home and I don't plan on moving again til I die. Now, I just need 5 more years of savings til I retire.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:52 PM   #17
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We started looking several years ago - took a variety of vacations/ househunting trips to eliminate potential areas. We finally settled on San Antonio, and have established a relationship with a realtor down there.
Were you given a copy the mandatory disclosure realtors are required to show all out-of-state prospective Texas home buyers? And are you aware of the weather forecast here for the next 5 days with highs of 100-103, the anticipated start of Stage 3 water restrictions* on Monday - and that's all before the first day of Summer!


* Landscape watering is allowed only EVERY OTHER WEEK, from 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose, and only on your designated watering day.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:12 PM   #18
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Were you given a copy the mandatory disclosure realtors are required to show all out-of-state prospective Texas home buyers? And are you aware of the weather forecast here for the next 5 days with highs of 100-103, the anticipated start of Stage 3 water restrictions* on Monday - and that's all before the first day of Summer!


* Landscape watering is allowed only EVERY OTHER WEEK, from 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose, and only on your designated watering day.
I honestly don't remember whether we got the disclosure - we had to sign lots of stuff. As far as the weather, we lived in Houston for 5 years, so San Antonio looks good compared to that! And heat doesn't bother us - we were originally planning to retire in Phoenix. As long as there's air conditioning, we're good! The property tax, now that's another discussion......
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:51 PM   #19
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We knew we wanted out of snow country after we retired for several reasons: DW has a major back problem and the cold makes it worse; I got tired of shoveling/snow blowing every other day all winter, we wanted to move to a smaller town to avoid the traffic and general stress associated with larger city living.

We started looking while on trips to various parts of the country and eventually decided to stay about half way between our kids (his and hers) and DW's very large family. We visited many areas in that geographical area and due to elevation (read that SNOW and COLD) we choose to live where we do. We made several trips in the RV to scope out the various areas around here before deciding on the final set of houses in our to 5 list. Right now this area is "On Sale" and one can get a great house for 30-40% less than 3 years ago at the peak. And they are still building new homes here. Lots of new money moving in it seems.

Like the others have said...define what you want to "go to" or "get away from" and any other criteria (family proximity, recreational ops., hobbies, etc.) and then go to these places and visit as much as possible and all during the year to see the seasons to see if it is truly a good fit.

We choose to wait out selling our house before buying another one; but we also had a RV which is really our mobile vacation home. To do it all over again we would still buy in the same area...maybe a bit smaller home but still in the same general area. After our respective families move or die off we may move again and I am sure we will downsize within the next 10 years (about the time we expect any parents to no longer be here to potentially house).

Good luck and do your home work and leg work. Know what you really want to do in ER or you may not find it where you end up. Cost of living is a major consideration so keep a close eye on that along with taxes...many states are downright hostile towards retirees so read about income and realestate taxes before you fall in love with the area.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:02 AM   #20
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Thanks for the comments so far. I should probably clarify that I'm planning an in-state move of about 100 miles, not going all the way across the country.
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