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Old 01-23-2012, 08:25 AM   #21
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......One thing they missed in their renovations was how use of the place changes if mobility becomes an issue. They could have incorporated more mobility accommodations: larger hallways and adequate door widths, easy to use handles, planning for usage patterns that avoid stairs, accessible bathrooms, and the like at the time of their original renovations very easily. Instead they went through several additional projects as these became more important to them.
When we rebuilt our home we purposefully made the stairway and hallways wide to accommodate a stair elevator and wheelchairs should the need arise. We also have the master bedroom suite, kitchen, dining area and living area on one floor that is accessible from the outside via a few stairs, but we have room to add a ramp if needed. and lever door handles.

We considered a wheelchair accessible shower base, but ultimately went with a conventional shower base but the lip is only about 3". I figure that I can always replace the shower base when the time comes.

It is important to think ahead for those things when remodeling and rebuilding.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:41 AM   #22
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I second the recommendation to rent first unless you are already familiar with the area you are moving to. Particularly in built up areas, different blocks can feel quite different. Living in the area gives you an understanding you just can't get with a brief visit.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:14 AM   #23
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I want to be able to travel a couple of months at a time and do not want to worry about my property, so renting will work for me. An urban area is important so I can bike/walk for errands. We will only have one car and I would prefer to put no more then 4,000 miles per year. An active urban community where my volunteer activities will have a positive affect on my immediate neighbors. The urban location needs to offer easy access to low traffic bicycle riding ( a mile or two outside of town). Mild winters that make it easy for going outdoors. Finally, I am looking at something around 1500 SF and am willing to put up with the crowds that may occur for a short period at holiday times.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:17 AM   #24
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I want to be able to travel a couple of months at a time and do not want to worry about my property, so renting will work for me. An urban area is important so I can bike/walk for errands. We will only have one car and I would prefer to put no more then 4,000 miles per year. An active urban community where my volunteer activities will have a positive affect on my immediate neighbors. The urban location needs to offer easy access to low traffic bicycle riding ( a mile or two outside of town). Mild winters that make it easy for going outdoors. Finally, I am looking at something around 1500 SF and am willing to put up with the crowds that may occur for a short period at holiday times.
Pretty much what I want, let me know if you find it at an average or lower low cost of living.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:37 AM   #25
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+1. My answers probably wouldn't apply to anyone else, these are all questions we have to answer for ourselves.
  • We haven't lived near family in over 30 years, though an understandable priority for most,
  • we've had new and used homes, both were fine though building was a PITA (not a given though),
  • have 2300 sf, next house closer to 1500 sf but high quality finishes/details,
  • had a pool, never again,
  • always lived in suburbs, want more urban (will probably rent to confirm before buying),
  • small lot, .25 acres or less (want some garden, not grass so much),
  • $250-$350K, lowish property taxes,
  • we will plan for future mobility, 1 story most likely, doors, flow, etc.

This is pretty much what I have right now - - 1600 square feet on a 50'x100' lot, used home, no pool, in an older inner suburb that is more urban than most suburbs, $895 property tax, house worth about $100K less than your price range, though. 1 story, no steps, wide/double doors, lever handles. I am convenient to everything imaginable (within a mile or two), although walking is not always an option due to freeways and bridges. I like the fact that it doesn't require much money or time to maintain, and that my neighborhood is very quiet and peaceful.

As a house it is working out pretty well for me in retirement. We love the area and climate but have some reservations concerning crime here, and to a lesser extent, hurricanes.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:26 AM   #26
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Our first retirement home was ADA accessable except for the shower lip another mentioned. Our current home would have an issue in the bathroom but I notice that other residents have remodeled theirs to fix that. We would need to remove a bookcase we placed in the our hallway but that not a big deal.

It is true that children can move, a factor always to be considered.

In NW Portland I noticed several live-work condos with large multi-use spaces on the ground floor. We weren't looking for such a space but when I walked past them I thought that accessability to the upper floors would be an issue late in life.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #27
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It is true that children can move, a factor always to be considered.
When we were younger, DW always expected to "move back home to New England when we retired to be near family again." It wasn't until many years later when I pointed out that 4 of her 5 siblings plus most of her friends and relatives had already moved away, and her parents would likely have passed on, that she finally decided there was no reason to move back "home"...life goes on bra.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:44 AM   #28
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If you are open to buying an already-built home, we found that you could buy one with a pool for the same price as without.
I am certain I want a pool, and equally certain I do not want the maintenance (time or cost). If I can get one from free, that may make me willing to overlook the maintenance.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:47 AM   #29
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We thought so as well. Jan 2010 we ER'ed and moved to Texas, same town as DS and 3 hrs drive from DD. Last year we went to England on vacation and while we there DD moved to Seattle.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted....
This is what worries me. We are 100% certain my SIL will stay in the area (this is my DWs only family), but my 18 yo son starting college in the fall, who knows? He claims he want to live here forever (he loves the hunting and fishing), but things change, especially when women and real jobs enter the picture :-). I know these things moved me.

My brother is nearby (in Austin), but he is always trying to convince his wife to move to another state.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #30
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We like Fort Bend County but there is not much that is pet friendly and it tends to be more expensive. Montgomery County and Waller County remain on the short list. Tomball is possible as well.
We are currently in Fort Bend and would like to stay there, but we note there are a lot more properties fitting our current criteria in Montgomery and Waller County, especially around Tomball.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:58 AM   #31
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Our basic location criteria (other than internet) is it must have a convenience store, gas station within 6 minutes, a grocery store within 15 min and a hospital within 30 minutes. This mostly leads to west of I 45 although the Lake Houston area is nice but houses on the east side of the lake fail the grocery store criteria.
I want to be within 20 minutes of a home depot (or lowes), a super walmart, HEB and an academy. 15 minutes would be better.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:00 PM   #32
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Another thing about moving to where one's children are - - - don't forget that in retirement, one has a lot more free time than the kids have. If they are in their 20's they are still working overtime, going to school, trying to find Mr./Ms. Right, and all those things that kept us from sleeping enough when we were younger. So, as much as you love them and they love you, it is at least remotely possible that they aren't going to have the time to sit around and chat very much. It would probably help to keep your expectations low in that department. And then, as pointed out by Alan in his post that I copied below, they may move and you may be away traveling. People are so mobile these days.

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We thought so as well. Jan 2010 we ER'ed and moved to Texas, same town as DS and 3 hrs drive from DD. Last year we went to England on vacation and while we there DD moved to Seattle.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted....
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #33
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A bit smaller home next time. This one is not grossly over sized but we don't use much of the space. We'd be just as happy with a smaller place with a similar layout.
I have tried to convince the wife that a smaller house is good. We currently have a 2500 SF 4 bedroom house and do not use three of the rooms (two spare bedrooms get used 6-9 weekends a year, and the dining room get used 2-3 times a year). When my son moves out we will have four rooms we do not use.

My wife wants a larger house with fewer but larger rooms. She also wants a dedicated media room which we currently do not have. I suspect we will end up going her way. She is pretty convincing as she regularly reminds me most of our friends are on house 3 or 4, and she is only on number 1.
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:30 PM   #34
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I second the recommendation to rent first unless you are already familiar with the area you are moving to. Particularly in built up areas, different blocks can feel quite different. Living in the area gives you an understanding you just can't get with a brief visit.
I agree with the 100%. Currently we are only looking withing 10-15 miles of where we currently live. If we decide to move elsewhere, I intend to rent for at least a year. My wife currently want to buy/build immediately even if we decide to move elsewhere, but I think I can convince her I am right.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:30 PM   #35
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If there is a next time we will buy an existing home. In the end it worked out fine, but the builder's delays were more than I'm willing to put up with again.
I work a lot on residential construction and I have no interest in building a house. I have seen what a nightmare it can be. However, to get the features we want, we may have to go this route.

Most people I know who build a custom home are not interested in doing it again.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:47 PM   #36
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For our soon-to-be retirement home, we're looking to purchase a new (building's not out of the question) or nearly-new home in the 2000 sf range + or-, maybe 1/2 acre or so (would like to be able to drive into the back yard & hook/unhook the boat) and maybe grow a few tomatoes. Our kids are split between LA & NC. We'd love to live near them all, but it's not possible, so most likely we'll retire in NW Louisiana, near Bossier City area. Oldest DW & family live in nearby Shreveport. Our target price range for this home is $200k-$250k-ish. Louisiana property taxes are fairly low. Our home will be 3 bdrm, 2 + baths, 2 car garage attached and another garage in the back (for the boat). A pool would be nice, but only if somebody else does the work, and I'm not gonna pay them to do it!
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:59 PM   #37
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When the kids form families they have less time for their parents but most have children and, let me assure you, the availability of grandparents to engage those precious creatures is important to them. A week ago we got a call: "Hey mom, do you have power? Ours is out, can we bring the kids over?" Of course! Then there was the scramble to child proof our home and make a quick run to the grocery for kid food.

When we are in our 80s and beyond we may need the kids to make sure we are well cared for. It is very difficult to do from a distance.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:40 PM   #38
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You guys are making me feel inadequate with my 450sf “cottage”!
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:49 PM   #39
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You guys are making me feel inadequate with my 450sf “cottage”!
Our next house will be the smallest I can talk DW into, her lower threshold seems to be about 1300 sf. Location and quality are way more important to me than square feet. YMMV
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:56 PM   #40
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Size is overrated.
I'm eager to see what the ladies have to say about this...
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