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Finding Your Retirement Dream Home

Local realtor Peggy Patenaude explains what to consider when buying a home for retirement.

Lucky you! You've put in your years of hard work and service. You've dealt with long work days, deadlines, "crunch time," you name it. But now … congratulations! Your workplace days are over.

So what does retirement mean for you? Maybe it means the luxury of time to travel or pursue a hobby that's been simmering on the back burner for too long. Perhaps it means more time with the grandchildren, or days spent in the comfort of old friends. Possibly you're now able to follow your passion for making a difference by volunteering in the service of your choice. And just maybe it means changing your residence to reflect your new situation.

There are many considerations when choosing the best home for your stage in life. Fortunately, retirement living offers seemingly unlimited options for your lifestyle – and potential future care needs. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before looking for a new home:

• How active am I? If you're the type of person who likes to get out and move, living in a condominium or retirement community with access to fitness facilities, a swimming pool, or exercise classes might be right for you. Or perhaps you're more of an outdoorsy person. Retiring on a lake or near hiking and biking trails might be best for your lifestyle.

• Am I a social butterfly? Deciding whether to live in a community or on your own might be as easy as determining how much you enjoy the company of others. There are countless communities that suit older adults with active social lives. But if you prefer more solitary pursuits, maybe a more private apartment or condo is more suitable for you.

• Do I want to be close to family? Determining the location of your new home can depend largely on ties you have to people in your current community or how close you'd like to live to your family. If being near your grandchildren holds a lot of appeal, you might want to shop around for a home or condo in a neighborhood or town near them – but only if you're fairly sure they aren't planning on going anywhere soon!

• How frequently do I travel? A lot of retirees find themselves finally in the position to be able to travel the world and go places they haven't had the time or money to visit before. If you're planning on being on the go a lot – whether on a cruise, spending time exploring the country in an RV, visiting exotic foreign destinations – or even becoming a "snowbird" with multiple seasonal residences, you might want to buy something smaller for when you are at home. No point in wasting space, money, and resources on a place where you only spend a fraction of your time!

• What's my price range? The good news is that there is something out there for everyone, whether you've retired with a healthy stock portfolio, or whether you're on a fixed income. An experienced Realtor can help you find the right space for your budget.

• What is my plan for future health contingencies? It's hard to imagine what the future will bring in terms of our health, but some people find it's best to be prepared. Retirement is a natural juncture to think about what the future might bring and to prepare for the possibilities. Many retirement communities offer a "safety net" of assisted living and continuing care options for those who buy condos aimed at an independent lifestyle. It's worth it to look into your options if you're considering your health down the line.Lo

If you think of your retirement as a world of opportunity, it's reassuring to know that there are living options to match any sort of opportunity you to choose to pursue. Prioritize your lifestyle choices and research the home buying options that work best for you. You've earned the peace of mind that comes with a new home that is just right for you!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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