Retiring? Sell that house and buy a condo

Roy Cordova
Published on December 29, 2021

Retiring? Sell that house and buy a condo

It’s wise to have a plan for that day when you say “I’m outta here!” to the work world. Your happily ever after won’t be so rosy if you’ve put off the planning.

We aren’t talking financial planning here; after all, we’re real estate agents, not financial experts.

What we’re talking about is geography–where you’ll live. The lifestyle you hope to pursue will bear on your choice of location. At least it should.

Do you plan on slowing way down or going into this phase of your life with wild abandon? If it’s anywhere near the latter, we have a suggestion for you: Downsize.

Especially if lots of travel is in your future, the last thing you need is a big house and all its accompanying maintenance to anchor you in place.

Consider selling the house and buying a condo. Read on to find out why.

You’ll lower your housing expenses

Whether you’re single or heading into retirement with a spouse or partner, ditching the family home for a condo is a sound financial decision.

First, condos typically cost less to purchase than single-family homes. For example, although condo prices have risen steadily over the past decade, the median sales price in March 2021, nationwide, was $289,000 (quickenloans.com).

During that same period, the median sales price of an existing single-family home was $334,500, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

This represents a more than 15% difference (or $45,500) in price.

Not only will you save money on the purchase of a condo rather than a single-family home, but you’ll spend less heating, cooling and maintaining a condo.

Yes, there are fees involved in condo ownership. The bonus here is that these fees help cover any major maintenance and repair costs in the community.

You’ll have fewer maintenance hassles

Although some condo communities feature homes with small yards, they pale in comparison to what you may have now. The most popular situation is a community with common areas, maintained by the homeowners association (HOA).

This means you eliminate the exterior painting, lawn mowing and snow shoveling you did when you owned a single-family home.

You’ll enjoy more amenities

Depending on the type of home you currently own, buying a condo may offer you far more amenities.

Even the smaller condo communities tend to offer swimming pools and clubhouses. A slight step-up in value and you may live in a secure community with a doorperson, concierge, fitness center and more.

Most of these goodies cost residents nothing because the fees are included in the HOA dues.

Your home may be safer and more secure

If you plan a bit of a wanderlust lifestyle when you retire, you can’t go wrong with with the home security a condo offers.

Be aware that small condo communities experience more burglaries per year than single-family homes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Condo communities that include 10 or more units, however, have lower burglary rates.

There are several reasons for this. First, larger condo communities typically offer more security features, making it tougher for the bad guys and gals to gain access to the community as well as the individual units within.

The pros at brinkshome.com offer another reason. “Single family houses are often attractive targets, as their large size promises would-be thieves greater rewards and their numerous access points make them more difficult to secure.”

Owning a condo will allow you to hit the road for as long as you want with far less worry than if you leave behind a large single-family home.

You couldn’t pick a better time to make this decision. The real estate market still favors sellers. And, the amount of equity you’ll have to work with after the sale may shock you.

Take advantage of that equity to downsize your finances and your life during retirement.

 

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