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Moving to an apartment in retirement
Old 05-12-2021, 04:13 AM   #1
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Moving to an apartment in retirement

Hi all. So we sold our home in Michigan and are currently searching for an apartment in the Maryland area around Clarksburg /Frederick. We were planning on moving to Bucks County Pennsylvania but this will be closer to one of our daughters for now.

For those who moved from a house to an apartment... Was it a hard adjustment? We are planning to eventually buy a house but took the advice of members here and will rent for a year. It seems like it will be a very strange experience. DW is not comfortable with it but feels she will adjust. Real estate is just too weird right now. Living in an apartment in this area is expensive so I have a hard time with that. It feels like I am throwing my money away.

Anyway just blathering now.... Any perspective from others? I build furniture so my entire shop is in storage now.. Also a waste of money.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:23 AM   #2
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I have a full house and a separate full barn. I dread the downsize that is coming.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:24 AM   #3
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We sold our 1700 sq foot, 3BR/2Bath home, car and bid adieu to nearly the entirety of our possessions in April and have moved into a furnished, 1 BR apartment in Oaxaca, Mexico. It's a nice feeling to have someone else take responsibility for the costs and general responsibilities that we used to assume as former homeowners. So far, we've adjusted very well. It's a bonus that Oaxaca is a very walkable locale with plenty of public transit available further alleviating us of the previous expenses involved in owning an automobile.

You mentioned that the Maryland area where you are renting is expensive. How expensive is it compared to your previous costs of home ownership considering property taxes, maintenance, etc? I share your concerns about the current housing market around many areas of the U.S. and would not want to jump in as a buyer until it stabilizes.
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I agree...
Old 05-12-2021, 06:08 AM   #4
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I agree...

Quote:
Originally Posted by candrew View Post
We sold our 1700 sq foot, 3BR/2Bath home, car and bid adieu to nearly the entirety of our possessions in April and have moved into a furnished, 1 BR apartment in Oaxaca, Mexico. It's a nice feeling to have someone else take responsibility for the costs and general responsibilities that we used to assume as former homeowners. So far, we've adjusted very well. It's a bonus that Oaxaca is a very walkable locale with plenty of public transit available further alleviating us of the previous expenses involved in owning an automobile.

You mentioned that the Maryland area where you are renting is expensive. How expensive is it compared to your previous costs of home ownership considering property taxes, maintenance, etc? I share your concerns about the current housing market around many areas of the U.S. and would not want to jump in as a buyer until it stabilizes.
We like having a house and will find apartment life a bit of a shock but hopefully we will be gone exploring enough to make it seem bearable.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:13 AM   #5
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I could easily adjust to apartment life....I think. I have a 900 sq ft vacation condo and I find it plenty comfortable. I have thought about selling my primary home and living there full time. But for now I like my setup. I play a lot of golf and enjoy playing with friends in MS. Plus I live right on the golf course so not ready to give it up. But if I'm lucky enough to live into my mid 70's(66 now), I will probably sell both and rent an apartment near the eastern shore of Mobile, AL.... close to family. I've told my nephew that I'm going to need him to drop by everyday to help change my adult diapers.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:03 AM   #6
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+1 We have a 1450sf condo and a 2,400sf home. I much prefer the condo... plenaty of room for two and much less work.

We just got back to the home and there is much to do... put in the docks, jet-ski lift, sailboat lift, clean the pontoon and put it in, put in the jet ski.... clean and restain the deck and much more.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:08 AM   #7
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For us size wasn’t an issue. Noise was. In Germany the people above us had small children that would constantly be jumping and running on the wood floor. I couldn’t really say anything during winter but they did it all year.
We got a brand new upscale apartment on the top floor temporarily in California to eliminate the last problem. The people who moved in around us were on free housing programs so we were paying $3000 a month and theirs was free. Since none of them worked they were up and around all day and night with doors slamming and parties every night.
No community housing for us unless it’s an air B&B for a few nights.
My wife was talking to a friend that moved to Indianapolis about a year ago and downsized to a condo. She sleeps with earplugs because the neighbors are loud.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:46 AM   #8
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We had a large family home 3700 sq feet pre retirement. Just us. We decided to see after retirement. We did. Rather than by something else we decided to downsize, store whatever was left in container. and travel for at least six month. We intended to buy a condo in an apt. like building when we returned

We did travel for seven months, then did another three months in a small furnished apartment. After that, a six month rental in a condo beside a golf course. It turned into a four year rental. We liked it.

Travel for seven months, and the rentals changed our minds on what we wanted. We eventually bought an open plan 1500 sq. foot single level duplex in a small HOA complex. We do not do any snow removal or gardening.

No pets, no plants. Pre covid we were traveling internationally twice a year for two months at a time. Our wonderful neighbors keep an eye on our home. The area of town where we bought was not originally on our list.

So...we ended up in accommodation that we did not expect, in a part of the city where we did not think we wanted to be. We love it.

If you are not certain...try before you buy-rent for a while. We enjoyed renting. Fridge packed it in, called the owner, and a new one was delivered the following day. Same with an heating issue.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:52 PM   #9
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been there, done that. no, thanks!
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:53 PM   #10
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Just did it. Post divorce, downsized from a single-family home to a rental apartment of little more than 400 square feet. Although I had been trimming possessions for years, it still turned out to be a huge undertaking that I spread out over a lot of months. In the end, though, it was liberating to unload everything and condense down to my favorite stuff.

That said, it's an odd feeling, renting again after being a homeowner for decades. The good: don't have to deal with any maintenance and associated costs, no property tax, no house insurance, etc. The bad: neighbors above with heavy feet.

Is this permanent? Don't know. If the housing market keeps skyrocketing like this, then maybe so. Condo HOAs are so high now too (in this city, at least).
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:11 PM   #11
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Not a possibility for me. I can barely stand sharing walls in a townhouse. I lived in apartments all my life growing up, and would only do it again for a short time while looking for a SFH. My biggest fear is that a neighbor would have kids like me and my brother were.
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:41 AM   #12
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Within the space of 3 years we moved from 2700SF Tri-level to a 1400SF "apartment" to 1200 SF apartment to 1100SF apartment. Long story - mostly told before.

Size was never really an issue for 2 people. We can "get away" from each other even in 1100SF. We can have a guest room w/bath for visitors. We've cut way down on "stuff" and want to cut down MORE on stuff.

Only thing I missed upon moving from the 2700SF house was my OWN attached garage. Had assigned lot parking in 1200SF, assigned parking in parking structure in current 1100SF apartment and plenty of street parking - or long term parking in back at 1400SF homestead. So, no place for extra stuff after the ti-level. But we've always had reasonably safe car parking of one form or another.

Only issue now is noise (mostly street noise as it goes "up" in a high rise) as someone else pointed out. Oddly, when we visit the 1400 SF apartment where we live/lived on and off over 40 years (the old homestead) it's "too quiet" for a while. You adjust after a while to either too noisy or too quiet though YMMV.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:38 AM   #13
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Living in a ultra LCOL place, we've always had large homes by any standards. But when we moved from our 5200 sq. ft. home with 3 garages to 3900 sq. ft. last year we just had so much furniture, etc.

We would have great difficulties scaling down to an apartment. And paying $1,500 a month for a minimum space would hurt when everything today is paid for.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:19 AM   #14
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I could do it, with some conditions:

Good amenities in/near the building (gym, pool, etc?)
Corner/end/top floor if possible (the less adjoined walls with others, the better, and yes I know it costs more)
Well lit and well maintained halls and common areas
Sheltered from street traffic or main entry/exits of the development
A balcony with some sort of view - not a parking lot
Decent size kitchen
Visit the development a few times - including weekends at night
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:22 AM   #15
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The problem we are encountering is that apartments are also being booked at breakneck speed. We were unable to secure two that we were interested in. In six weeks we will be without a place to live. This is not going well as of today. Of course there are no houses either ��
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:52 AM   #16
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I rent an apartment by choice and much prefer it to owning. It was an adjustment, but there are pros and cons both ways. While the noise can be annoying, so can noise in an owned house -- neighbors' lawn tools, vehicles, parties, BNB rental traffic, etc. I owned two homes in two rural areas for many years, and that's actually where the noise was the worst.

For me, renting is not throwing money away -- at all. It's a service I'm paying for, and it's worth it. It frees me from the chores of a home, and it buys me freedom to move at any time without the hassles of selling. Not saying I'll never buy again, but it would have to be a pretty great deal to beat the perks of renting in a nice building or complex.

Check out the 55+ options too. They aren't silent, but you'll get less family noise. Also consider other locations. Maybe an extra hour's drive is worth it if the market isn't so tight there. Oh, and look for cottage communities too -- one level and no shared walls.
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:03 AM   #17
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We downsized to an apartment from a 3,500 sq ft house and it was very liberating. The apartment had a front door at ground level plus a double car garage with access to apartment from the garage.

Our main goal was to be able to “lock and leave” during our planned long vacations. It worked out great for us, we loved it.

When we moved back to England some years later we rented a house in the small town we wanted to move to and within a year had bought a house and moved in. Renting the house first was a good move as it was in an area we really liked and could easily have bought there. However we found that we really wanted to be much closer to the town center as we like to walk whenever we can.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:21 PM   #18
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These kinds of conversations always remind me of this post from a very kind person who is gone to soon.



imoldernu

Perhaps the most important part of this thread on retirement, is the matter of protecting one's assets... and even more important, thinking ahead to protect the assets of a spouse, when health requires extraordinary expenses.

Since we, and our spouses will always be healthy, we don't think about what could happen. We just assume we'll both die at the same time.

Statistically that ain't gonna happen. If you already have a net worth of 2 Million dollars, don't read the rest... It doesn't apply to you.

Current medicaid law allows for payment of nursing home expenses under certain conditions. If you understand those conditions, you could save hundreds of thousands of dollars for yourself, your spouse, or your estate... (your kids).

Here are the things you should know about:

Current nursing home costs average from $75,000 to $90,000/yr. A friend on Long Island is currently paying over $135,000/yr. for just basic care.

The state (medicaid) does not automatically pay for this.

You should understand "exclusions".

Know that the "look back period" is now 5 years.

...........................................
As long as a married couple have assets, if one spouse should have to go into a nursing home, the couple's assets will be used to pay for the medical care until the assets go below a certain level, at which time, the state medicaid program will pay for the nursing home care. The asset level varies by state.
............................................

Here's an example that happened to friend, that points up the importance of planning ahead. Bob retired with his wife May, to Florida from Maine. He sold his Maine house for $280,000 and planned to use this as his nest egg during his retirement. He bought a mobile home..(downsized)for $35,000. Shortly after retiring, May began a long slide into Alzheimers, and after three years has to go into a nursing home. (at the time $65,000/yr.) She lived there for 5 years before passing away. Because Bob and May had assets from the sale of their house, medicaid would not pay, and The nest egg was gone.
..............................................
Now, here's what happens....
1. In counting assets, Bob is allowed certain exclusions. In General, the exclusions in his case, were... His house @ $35,000, His car $20,000, Cash (then, $40,000) and some smaller amounts like burial plot and non cash life insurance.
2. The logical thing to have done would be to give away the money in the nest egg, so the state wouldn't take it. That's where the lookback comes in. If he had given away the money to his kids, the state would not have taken the money... but... to prevent this from happening, the state will "look back" five years and deny medicaid payment,if this 'gift" transaction had taken place.

As it happened, May died, an Bob had nothing but his Social Security left to live on.
.................................................

Here's what I took from this...
Nine years ago, we owned a*mobile home, and a park model trailer in a campground. Understanding Bob's situation, we took some of our savings, and purchased a home outright. This took the money out of our assets and put it into the house "exclusion". Now, if one of us shold have to go into a nursing home, the state may take from our savings account, but they will not take the house... Essentially this means that one of us will still be able to keep some substantial assets, hopefully enough to stay above the poverty level.
.............................................

This is just one of many, many reasons to look ahead to the future.
See the link to Elder Law on Exclusions. (website)

This is not a pleasant, nor a fun post. Most of you probably have some understanding of the laws, but the matter of elderlaw is extremely complex.

IMHO, when a case involving medical expense, or the legal position of any older relative, the very first thing to do is to contact an geriatric or eldercare lawyer. Not just any lawyer, but one who is deeply involved in elderlaw.
Bookmark the site on Elderlaw. There is a series of Q and A's bout real life situations, that should shed much light on a difficult subject. I thought I was relatively knowledgeable but found that in more cases than not, I had no idea of how the law treats estates and legal matters involving older people.


I have more nighmare stories about friends or neighbors who lost literal fortunes because of small errors in handling legal matters, either because of mistake in timing, or failure to obtain proper legal permissions. Anyone who has dealt with estate administration will understand what I'm talking about.

FWIW, I don't pretend to be a legal reference, and so some of the above may be wrong. Feel free to correct errors.

Just to point up the dangers involved in ignorance of the law. Back to the long Island situation, which involved a very good friend who has since passed away.

When Jim's wife showed early signs of Alzheimers, he sought advice from his children, who were lawyers, but not versed in elderlaw. They suggested that he "gift" to his 8 grandchildren to lower his liquid assets by $200,000, which might later be required to pay for his wife's coming nursing home costs. The gifting was legal. Two years later his wife went into a nursing home. When he declared his assets, he made no mention of the "gifts". After paying for two years of care, he had depleted what was left in his bank account, and the transfer of costs for the nursing home care went to the state. His wife lived in the nursing home for three more years.
As the state went over the accounting, they reviewed the "lookback" period, and found that the "gifting" had been omitted from the application. My friend was charged with medicaid fraud, and found guilty, and sentenced to a jail term. His children hired a criminal lawyer, who, for a considerable payment $150,000, managed to get the sentence revoked. Unfortunately, the interim years of stress took its' toll, and led to his early death... aged 78, but probably unnecessary.

A lesson in crime and punishment, but my point is that the law is involved, and has to be respected. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Thus the suggestion for the Elderlaw Lawyer.

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Old 05-13-2021, 11:54 PM   #19
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apologies in advance for what may appear to be a thread hijack but I did want to comment on JD's post.

my mother-in-law, a widow who lived alone, suffered a bad fall at home in '06 and, after spending a few weeks in the hospital recovering it was time to move her to a rehab nursing home. my wife and I must've visited 10 or 12 nursing homes all of which had one thing in common. the "good" ones did not accept medicaid patients and those that did were...how should i phrase this....they were simply unsuitable.

her late husband was frugal and wise and had built up a substantial nest egg for her benefit in a trust and appointed my wife as the first successor trustee. the trust was more than able to pay her rehab expenses and her 10-years in assisted living. my point is this. had she not had the nest egg once her assets were depeleted she would have had to move from the "good" nursing home we found into one that was little more than a warehouse.

my personal belief is that if one has the assets available to pay for independent living, assisted living and/or skilled nursing care then those funds should be set aside for that purpose and not manipulated in order to pass the cost to the government , i.e. the taxpayer. employing a strategy to pass that baton may very well result in the loved one being forced to live out their days in a less than desireable place. all the more reason to build wealth with a long term strategy.
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Old 05-14-2021, 04:32 AM   #20
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Update

So after a blistering experience trying to secure an apartment in Maryland and Pennsylvania ( so we could be close to our grandkids) we have come up short. I guess our Midwestern needs are what have brought us to the consensus that those areas are much too busy for our lifestyle. We have (hopefully) secured an apartment in Michigan across town and will be moving starting next week. Then DW and I can re-evaluate where we want to land in the coming months. Covid has just made everything weird. Homes are more expensive and good apartments are hard to find. We are so blessed to have our health and each other so we will make this work. Once it gets less weird it will be easy to jump on a plane in Detroit and go visit family. But for now we are taking a breath and trying to figure this all out.
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