BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Homeowners closing in on retirement and workers who have already finished their careers have a lot of housing options. Houlihan Lawrence realtor Susan Code said the first step is determining your home’s value.
“Once you determine the home’s value, then you have to determine what your money will buy in this area versus another area which may have more desirable weather, taxes, values, be closer to family, et cetera,’’ said Code, who will speak at a forum on homes and retirement on Thursday, April 16, at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor. The forum will be presented by Merrill Lynch and begins at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 8:00 p.m.
In a recent study Merrill Lynch found that retirees have more freedom and options now when choosing how they want to live in retirement. During the next decade, the “Baby Boomer” generation will account for nearly all household growth, according to Merrill Lynch’s study, and many will be moving into their retirement years. “How and where older adults choose to live will have widespread implications for the different ways homes might be designed, what resources will be needed and how communities nationwide should prepare for an aging population,'' the report said.
Code said homeowners who plan to retire should evaluate their needs. “Maybe they want a home with fewer steps, or a first floor master bedroom,’’ she said. “They also have to think about downsizing their possessions. It’s hard to give up things you collect. There are experts that help people downsize so they can fit into a smaller home.”
The Merrill Lynch study found that 66 percent of retirees move at least once during retirement. Surprisingly, some of them opt for larger homes. “Pre-retirees who expect to downsize when they retire may be surprised to learn that half (49 percent) of retirees didn’t downsize in their last move. In fact, three in 10 upsized into a larger home,’’ the report said.
“If you’re retiring, you have to evaluate whether you should rent or buy,’’ Code said. “You don’t want to move again. But if you choose to rent, you may have to adjust to the idea that it may not be permanent.”
Code also feels homeowners who are considering selling need a fair sense of value. “They often think this is what I need out of my house to retire,’’ Code said. “Sometimes I’ll have sellers tell me, ‘My best friend sold 10 years ago for more,’ or ‘My kids told me the home must be worth $1 million,’ and things like that that. People get emotionally attached.”
People who are considering putting their home on the market can increase interest with updates. The Merrill Lynch report found 80 percent of retirees are interested in new technologies to reduce home expenses, such as smart thermostats or apps to control appliances.
Code said that home upgrades are important for today’s homebuyers. “They want homes that are fresh and updated,’’ she said. “They'll need to get rid of the 1980s choices and make some improvements or remove wallpaper and paint more neutral colors. Some changes might be in order to help it sell at a maximum price.” In fact, these same sellers, may then be the ones looking for updated homes in retirement. The Merrill Lynch report found 80 percent of retirees are interested in new technologies to reduce home expenses, such as smart thermostats or apps to control appliances.
If interested in attending, please call to confirm: Lynn M. Wagner, CFP Senior Vice President-Wealth Management Wealth Management Advisor Wagner/Skelly Team Merrill Lynch , Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. 360 Hamilton Avenue, 8th Floor (800) 937-0434 (914) 290-6654 FAX firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to view the Merrill Lynch report on home ownership and retirement. For buying or selling your home, contact Code at 914-715-4121, 914-762-7200, or via email at email@example.com. Her listings are also available online .