For as long as most people can remember, conventional wisdom has held that when you retire and the kids are grown and gone, you downsize your home.
But that’s not always the case anymore.
According to a recent Merrill Lynch and Age Wave retirement study of more than 3,600 respondents, 49 percent of retirees didn’t downsize in their last move, and 30 percent actually ended up moving into larger homes.
The main reason retirees cited for upsizing was a desire for a home large and comfortable enough for family members to visit or even live with them.
Interestingly, one out of six retirees said they have a “boomerang” child who moved back in with them.
Nineteen percent of retirees also said they upsized in retirement in order to have a more “prestigious” home, something I see a lot of people new to Florida doing as well.
Choosing the right size home is an interesting challenge.
You may have heard me say this before, but the average home buyer in The Villages moves three times during their time there.
Villagers move for a variety of reasons, but the primary one is that they chose the wrong size home the first, or even second, time around.
How to pick the right home the first time
You should be less concerned with whether your move to Florida includes a downsize or an upsize, and focus on making it a “right size”.
How do you do that?
It boils down to giving careful thought to how you plan to spend your retirement years, and who you plan to spend them with.
Sure, things can and do change. They always do.
But if you take the time to think it through a bit more, your odds of hitting on the right size home the first time around are greatly improved.
Here are three things I like to tell people trying to choose the right sized home to do:
1. Never upsize or downsize more than 50%
Any more than a 50% difference in home size compared to what you’re used to is almost guaranteed to be a shock to your system. Avoid the temptation to sway too far in either direction.
2. List your “Must-have’s” and “Nice-to-have’s”
It may sound overly simple, but if you get out a piece of paper and create a list sorted into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” columns, you’ll be on the right track.
3. List your constraints
What do I mean by constraints?
This could be your budget.
It could be the fact that you don’t get up and down stairs too well.
It could be that you have a child or grandchild (or both) living with you in retirement.
Listing the constraints and issues preventing you from satisfying all of your “musts” and “wants” can be a big help in choosing the right size home.
You’d be surprised how many take the plunge without doing these exercise and regretting their choice of home down the road.
Take action so that you don’t fall into that trap.