Boomers…I am right there with you. I live in a house that is too big for my wife and I, it’s too much to care for and the Grandbabies don’t come that often. We are thinking of downsizing. There are so many decisions to make when arriving at the next phase of our lives. Some of us may just want something smaller and some of us may require some assistance in our daily living activities. We may even require on site medical care. I will explore some of those options and provide you with access to information that will assist you in the decision-making process.
Our Home is the center of our world, our world is changing
We enjoyed friends and family in our home, it houses memories and treasures as well. It’s so much more than a piece of real estate. When we decide to make a life change involving a physical move, our home is a huge consideration. For me, it not only contains memories, treasures and part of me, it holds financial equity, a good portion of my financial assets. I realize that I will need those assets to move on.
If you find yourself in that position let’s make a plan that works for you. Everyone’s needs and wants are different, yet there are similarities in the decision process. If you need to change your living situation but are struggling with “what is right for me?” it’s time for some soul-searching. Lists are great; make a list to stay focused and help with the decision process.
You may be in a big house that isn’t Boomer friendly. It may need too much attention, care, has high utility bills and doesn’t meet your current physical or emotional needs. So you start thinking ahead, retirement is coming or partial retirement is on the horizon. Maybe the kids are gone and you don’t want them back, a smaller home solves that issue, “sorry kids, no room.” You may be alone now and want to live near like-minded Boomers. There are many reasons we Boomers want to change our living situation. Let’s start planning the next move.
You could make changes to your current home enabling you more simplicity, easier access and comfort in the future. This may require some remodeling, changing bedrooms and baths, converting a main level room to a master suite, adding a full bath on the main level and or taking in a friend or roommate to offset expenses and help with the upkeep. So make a list, what are your challenges? Is it financial, physical, personal safety or all the above? Is staying where you are even an option? Consider these questions carefully before making the next step. If you need cash to support your existing living situation, consider a reverse mortgage to raise necessary funds.
Boomer+ Communities (some call them 55+ or active adult communities)
Heritage Harbour is a great example of just such a community. Heritage Harbour and many age-restricted communities offer a social or community center where you find classes, woodshops, dances, parties, games, pools, golf and much more. You don’t have to travel far to find things to do with like-minded Boomers. If you feel you’re not ready for something this structured, you have the choice to be as involved in the community as you want to be. As you age, you may find these amenities comforting, planning ahead is a key element to a move during the Boomer stage of your life.
Many Boomer communities have a variety of housing situations available.
You can find that one-level single-family detached home that is smaller, cost effective, utility efficient and easier to maintain. In some, you can find attached, duplex-style homes that are smaller, less expensive with less maintenance; therefore, more cost effective to own. If you don’t want to have any exterior yard or maintenance you could look at condominiums. Some have security, garages, and balconies. Condominiums are nice size and well appointed in these communities. I like the Piney Orchard Roaming Ridge community. I recently sold a condominium there and was very impressed with the size, style and layout.
Assisted Living Options
What if you can’t handle all the activities of daily living? You’re tired, can’t do for yourself the way you used to and don’t want to rely on family and friends. You still want independence, privacy and your own space. We are all heading to a point in life when this will become true. These communities are designed with you in mind.
You want to live in a social environment with few required responsibilities but yet, where care is easily accessible. Many offer meals, transportation, recreation, exercise facilities and organized activities. Many offer medical care and daily assistance as well. You can maintain your own private apartment and find help just outside your door. See some of your options at Senior Living or Senior Housing.
What does assisted living cost?
Many people in the industry feel that the costs are not much more than maintaining your current home and lifestyle. When calculating you’re current expenses to compare to an assisted living community; remember to include all of the following: Current rent or mortgage expense, real estate taxes, property insurance, utility fees, security expense, three meals each day, home repairs, trash removal, auto maintenance, health aid visits, lawn care, snow removal and the like. Then consider the cost of worry, stress and physical exertion to maintain your current situation? Some assisted living communities require you to “buy in” to an apartment unit. In addition to that “buy in” you have monthly fees based on your needs and wants. That model might be more like Ginger Cove, a continued care facility in Annapolis.
There are Assisted Living Communities that offer month-to-month rentals
These assisted living communities may have a moderate, one time administration fee. Then they have a menu of monthly rental options depending on your needs level and size of apartment. I like this care model because, if you change you’re mind you can pack up and do something else without leaving your assets behind. Brightview Senior Living is a rental community in our area. They offer independent living, assisted living and Alzheimer’s care.
Helpful websites for us Boomers
Discuss your needs and concerns with family and friends. If you feel you want an objective opinion, consult with an attorney who specializes in elder law. Interview several community managers at various communities to determine what feels right for your situation.
Once you have decided to move, how do you get started?
Making the physical and financial move can seem overwhelming. If you break the process down into parts, it’s much easier to deal with. You have reached a decision, you made lists, you consulted with friends and professionals, don’t second-guess yourself now. Start taking action.
Financial decisions regarding your move
Know the numbers. How are you going to pay for this change? Do you need a short-term loan to make the move? Do you need money to make repairs to your existing home in order to sell it for top dollar? Will you’re current income and equity from your home be enough to keep you comfortable for years to come? Community counselors, financial planners and a knowledgeable real estate agents can help you as well.
Home Preparation and Selling in today’s real estate market
See my article on preparing your home to sell or listen view my video on how to prepare your home to sell. I break down the steps of home preparation into manageable parts. Stay focused and keep moving forward. A quality, trustworthy real estate agent who holds the SRES® (Senior Real Estate Specialist) designation may have experience and knowledge to help you step by step through the process. They should have contacts in the industry to help you declutter, pack, store, repair and market your current home.
It’s an adventure, not the end of the road
My dad used to tell me, “Nothing is forever” so don’t look at this next move as negative or some sort of defeat. It’s an adventure in life, you have experience, you have made good decisions thus far and you can always change a living situation. For now, you have made a decision, follow through on it and get some help along the way.