May 8, 2023

Moving After Retirement: 5 Questions You Should Ask Before Selling

Retirement is a major life-changing event. So, it’s quite normal to have a lot of questions about income, lifestyle, health issues, etc. One of the more important questions is: “Should I stay as long as possible in my current home or move to a smaller place?” In this article, we explore five factors to take into consideration to help you in making a choice best suited to your new way of life. Whatever your decision, it should ideally take into account your needs, your objectives and your budget.

1. Should I move to a smaller home?

If you are still living in the home where your children grew up, chances are, now that they have left the nest, your house seems too big. And if you take into account the cost and maintenance it requires ... perhaps you should consider selling it to live in a more suitable space. Condo, tiny house, apartment or multigenerational house: you have quite a few downsizing options.

Living in a condo

One of the most popular options for retirees selling their home is tobuy a condo. In this way, you still own your home and, at the same time, create capital you can use at the time of resale. Of course, the work required for maintenance will be reduced.  Nevertheless, condominium fees can sometimes be quite high, as Marc-Étienne Salvail, financial planner and financial security advisor, points out.[1] Moreover, when you live in a condo, you might have to make some compromises that you may not have had to as the owner of a single-family home. It’s something to think about carefully.

How about a tiny house?

Tiny houses are increasingly popular with buyers. If you want to keep your freedom while reducing your living space, this could be a great solution. Bonus point: a tiny house on wheels is ideal if you want to experience a more nomadic lifestyle without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Rent an apartment

Perhaps you no longer want the responsibility of owning a home. In this case, renting an apartment could be an interesting option. This does not necessarily mean having to live in a private seniors’ residence (PSR). Take into account your monthly budget and the current price of rents when choosing the right type of apartment for you. Many complexes for seniors offer amenities and safe spaces designed specifically for those aged 55 and over.

Live in a multi-generational home

Multigenerational living is gaining in popularity. It allows you to live close to family members, without the need to sacrifice your autonomy. In addition to sharing the financial and maintenance responsibilities, you will significantly reduce your expenses.

2. Is my income sufficient to cover the costs of my house?

At retirement, many people see their income decrease and must rely on savings accumulated over the years. There are many expenses involved in owning a single-family home, including unforeseen ones which could cause significant financial stress. While the situation is less critical when the mortgage is fully paid off, the other costs do not disappear.

3. Am I able to take care of the maintenance?

If you enjoyed gardening or mowing your lawn in the past, but now consider them a real chore, it is probably a sign that maintaining your property has become too much to manage. Don’t forget the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

To help you, the Financial Assistance Program for Domestic Help Services is available from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). Some of the services offered are:

  • Light housekeeping work such as vacuuming, cleaning, dusting, etc.
  • Heavy housekeeping work such as washing windows, clearing the main entrance, raking leaves, etc.
  • Clothes upkeep such as washing and ironing.
  • Meal preparation (excluding special diets).
  • Running errands to the pharmacy, grocery store, bank, etc.

With this in mind, Marc-Étienne Salvail mentions that it is sometimes better to keep your house and get support to help you keep it in good condition rather than selling it right away. In other words, the longer you wait to sell your home, the more it will increase in value while your mortgage balance decreases.[2]

4. Will I get a good return on investment when it comes time to sell my house?

If your property has been well maintained over the years, chances are that it has increased in value. “Of course, the real estate market has its ups and downs, but owning brick and mortar is something tangible,”[3] says Marc-Étienne Salvail. Your house could therefore provide you with an attractive capital gain when it is sold. And this is all the more true if the mortgage has been repaid in full.

5. What lifestyle would I like to have in retirement?

For many, retirement is synonymous with freedom. If you plan to travel frequently or even live in Florida for several months each year, then maintaining a large living space may not be necessary. Who knows, maybe a nice apartment in the suburbs would be more suitable for your new way of life?

Moving after retirement is something almost every homeowner will face. This is not a problem if you are currently in good health and can do all the maintenance work. But it’s another matter if something unexpected happens in your life. No matter your situation at this important stage in your life, a real estate broker can help you plan the sale or purchase of a home.


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