You may have decided to relocate in retirement, which might mean crossing state lines or just downsizing from a house to an apartment in West Columbia, SC. As you’ll soon discover, such moves are more complicated than just selling one piece of real estate and renting another.
First of all, you need to choose your new home with care:
Location. Do you want to move across town or across the country? Closer to relatives–or farther away from them?
Type of home. You may be ready to move from a large house with a yard to a smaller house that needs less care. Or you may prefer an apartment, which requires even less upkeep.
Own or rent. You can buy your new home or rent an apartment. Buying may make sense if you itemize tax deductions and plan to take out a mortgage. If that’s not the case, renting gives you more flexibility.
Environment. You need to decide if your ideal retirement home is in a bustling city, a lower-key suburb, or a quiet small town. Do you prefer warm winters or snowy ski trails? A home on the water? A planned retirement community may have advantages, too, such as organized activities and custodial care facilities.
Hobbies. There will be activities you hope to engage in during retirement, and your new home should be able to provide you with easy access. You don’t want to have to spend too much time getting to them, which would discourage you from making the effort.
Transportation. In most places you’ll still need a car after you retire, so check into parking, local traffic, quality of access roads, and so on. If you’re unable or unwilling to do much driving, an apartment near public transportation is one alternative; another is to find a complex that provides local shuttle service to shops, movies, professional offices, and other popular destinations.
Whatever your choices, don’t act hastily. Do preliminary research by vacationing in a likely area, talking to the residents, and reading the local papers.