Tag Archives: retirement

Changing Retirement Home Trends — and What They Can Mean for You

Start Planning Early

We all know that if we want the live in the home of your dreams at retirement, it’s essential to start retirement planning early.  But in many cases retirement goals and plans have changed since earlier generations, and so it’s important to think through what kind of retirement you’re actually planning for.

Former Retirement Trends

It used to be that, as soon as the kids were gone and the nest was empty, our parents traded in the larger family home for a smaller, cheaper condo in a warm-weather location like Florida or Arizona.  They would then use the difference to see them through their retirement years.  Some baby-boomers are clearly following that trend, but many are not.

Other Retirement Choices and What They Mean for You

There has been a marked increase in boomers who are planning to buy a nicer home, invest in a second home, or renovate their current home with some luxury comforts.

What does this mean?  Well, for starters, it may mean that you’ll need to plan for home expenses to take up a bigger chunk of your retirement income each month.  This requires greater savings than our parents often required.  It requires more intentional planning. And the earlier you start your retirement planning, the greater your choices for how you’d like to live when you retire.

One smart way to plan is to first consider the daily retirement lifestyle you’d like to have before deciding on what kind of home you’d like. A pros and cons list of your current living situation can also help clarify your goals. It’s important here to make sure you’re not just considering financial considerations, but personal lifestyle goals as well, since a healthy balance between both can ensure a happy, peaceful retirement.

Here is just a brief list of questions you (and your spouse or partner) should consider when it comes to lifestyle choices at retirement:

  • What kind of climate would you prefer to retire in?
  • What kind of environment would you like — the city, the suburbs, the country, a retirement community?
  • How important is your proximity to children, grandchildren, friends, and other loved ones?
  • Is it important to have room for overnight guests or long-term stays (i.e. aging parents)?
  • What kind of amenities do you want to have close-by?
  • How close do you need to live to medical facilities and community facilities, such as the library?
  • Do you need access to buses, airports, etc?
  • What kind of recreational activities would you like to have close-by?

For your finances, it’s important to consider:

  • Mortgage or rent payments, and how much you’re willing to pay in retirement
  • How much equity you have in your current home
  • Potential association, condominium, or other community related fees
  • Keeping up your intended property, from housekeeping to mowing the lawn to shoveling snow to replacing the roof
  • Utilities
  • Home improvements to accommodate your future physical needs and limitations
  • Property taxes

If you’re currently looking to retire in the Pacific Northwest, Susan Stecher and her team of real estate professionals are ready and waiting to answer any questions you have, as well as provide helpful tools for planning the Pacific Northwest retirement of your dreams. Call (360) 319-4939 or toll-free (888) 319-4939 to talk to Susan today!

Retire in Bellingham!

Award-winning Bellingham, Washington has long been recognized as a great place to live — from Outdoor Magazine’s “Top 10 Dream Towns” to CNN/Money.com’s “27th Best Place to Live,” many have recognized what people who live in Bellingham have known for a long time: this community is definitely something special.

What you may not know is that retiring in Bellingham is also becoming nationally known! AARP Magazine has listed Bellingham in it’s Best-Of retirement rankings several times, with Bellingham coming in 2nd on its list of “10 Best Dream Towns” for boomers looking to retire. Bellingham also came in on the list of “15 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life.”

And for you golfers out there — Bellingham also came in 7th in the US for golf, according to Golf Digest.

Why all the recognition? For starters, Whatcom County is home to diverse natural beauty, from Bellingham Bay, to rolling dairy farmland, to Mount Baker  . . . and all those evergreen trees in between. This close proximity to nature means that Northwest active adults and seniors can get out and enjoy the great outdoors with ease.

But Bellingham also offers the convenience of a medium-size city. You’re never far from modern conveniences, and if you really desire big-city fun, you’re located halfway between Vancouver BC and Seattle. From live music to museums to visual arts and the theater, Bellingham also offers a wide array of cultural delights!

To find your own dream retirement home in Whatcom County, or to get more information on retiring in Bellingham, give me a call at (360) 319-4939 or toll-free at (888) 319-4939!

A new economy, a new kind of retirement

833180372_e88313c291Green spaces, not green fees for new generation of retirees

Based on current recession trends all across the U.S., it appears the era of retiring to a posh home out on a golf course are over, at least for now. Recent economic woes have hit the retired and soon-to-be-retired extremely hard — taking a toll both on their nest eggs and their idea of what buying a retirement home should look like. For active adults and seniors, bike paths and wooded trails are becoming far more important than living “on the green.”

Though many families across all demographics are choosing to downsize, relocating to a smaller house is even more popular with those 55 and older — a trend that has remained fairly steady over the years. Currently, 30-40% of those 55-and-up plan to move to a new home when they retire,which is comparable to most years.

The numbers remain the same, but priorities have changed somewhat. It used to be that the most important thing to retirees was moving to a warmer climate — now home affordability is at the top of the priority list. This means that though Florida, Arizona and California remain top retirement spots, other states are drawing retirees as well… and the green natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is no exception.

What do retiring home buyers want?

Here’s a short list of amenities and home features that are important:

  • big bathrooms with helpful aids such as grab bars
  • entrances/porches without steps
  • washers/dryers in-unit
  • first-floor master bedrooms
  • convenient storage space
  • attached garages with garage-door openers
  • user-friendly heat & AC thermostats
  • outdoor maintenance & general home repair services

If you’re a senior or active adult looking for a beautiful Pacific Northwest home to retire in, I can help you find exactly what you’re looking for! Feel free to give me a call, visit my free Northwest MLS home search, or check out my helpful Pacific Northwest Seniors & Active Adults directory.