How To Upsize Your Retirement Plans
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How To Upsize Your Retirement Plans

Think About Your Budget and Amenities

While many seniors opt to downsize as they approach retirement, some choose to upsize instead! Buying a larger property can allow you to create a family compound where friends and relatives can gather, and it can also open the door to pursuing a hobby, homesteading, or starting a home-based business. To ensure you make the wisest financial move, it’s a good idea to think in advance about your budget and the amenities you want in a larger home, and determine how best to time selling an existing home while purchasing the new one.

The Benefits Of Going Big

If you live in a planned community, you’re probably constrained by homeowner association rules, and you may be shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors. This can limit your activities, the number of guests who can visit and stay, and how you use your property. Maybe you want to garden, have a spacious workshop, or be closer to nature. Think about how you would like to use a larger property so you can narrow your search. For example, do you want room for a chicken coop or horses? Do you want space to build a pool or a big entertaining deck?  Are you looking for a game room or multiple bedrooms for guests? Knowing how you’d like to use your space will aid your search.

What Can You Afford?

A larger space may not necessarily be more expensive than where you currently live, but your budget should be taken into consideration before you start looking. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you’ll want to check your credit score, and you’ll also need to assess how much money you have to put down, and what type of monthly payment you’ll be comfortable with. It’s also wise to consult a mortgage lending professional to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio, which can impact the type of loan products and interest rates you’ll qualify for. If you have to sell your current home before buying another, a real estate professional can help you with your timing. Depending on the market, you may be able to buy a property and ask for an extended closing while you try to sell your existing home.

You should also factor in the costs of your plans for the property. For example, if you plan on starting a home-based business, you’ll have startup costs, plus ongoing overhead associated with running your business, from payroll services to inventory costs. So, when you start your search, do a budget projection where you consider these costs. Doing so will help you find a property that will work for your future plans without busting your budget.

How To Start Looking

If you’re working with a real estate pro, they can help you identify properties that meet your criteria in terms of location, size, and price. You can also do some online sleuthing on your own using various real estate property search tools. Many of these sites feature multiple photos and videos, and typically include details related to nearby amenities, property tax rates, and even average utility rates. If you’re looking to expand a hobby into a business venture, you can also use online searches to help you determine the zoning of various areas to ensure you can operate a home-based venture. Your agent can help you tour the properties you’re interested in and serve as your advocate in terms of negotiating price and terms if you decide to make an offer.

Consider Buying Land

If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in the market, consider buying vacant land. A real estate professional can also help you with this type of acquisition. Buying land allows you to design and build a custom home that meets your exact requirements. The process will take longer, and likely cost more than if you buy a spec home or a pre-existing property, but it’s one way to ensure you have the perfect house for your needs. This can be a smart move if you’re interested in subsistence farming activities and are looking for acreage in addition to a house.

Retirement no longer means relegating yourself to golf courses and leisurely lunches. Today’s active seniors are looking at retirement as the next phase of life, complete with new career paths, new houses and bold plans!

- Alyssa Strickland, millennialparents.com, Gracefully Greying guest writer

Photo by Pixabay

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