The Blog ofJess Lex Homes

Buying a Home in Retirement: What to Know

Are you ready to retire? One of the top concerns among many seniors transitioning to their Golden Years is what to do with their home. Sell? Buy another home? Move into a senior living community? The choices you have may seem like both a blessing and a curse. You have the freedom to choose, but any choice you make requires a lot of work and can be overwhelming.

If you’ve landed on retiring in Madison, you’ve made a great choice. U.S. News ranks the city as #38 on its list of top places to retire in America, and it’s easy to see why. Madison, Wisconsin has that down to earth feel that is characteristic of the Midwest while still boasting modernity and excitement – fueled by its thriving music, dining and nightlife scene. It’s also a great place for retirees who want to stay active, with 5 lakes in the metropolitan area that lend themselves to great hiking trails and water activities.

If you’re ready to make a change in Madison, Wisconsin, here are a few tips to keep in mind:


1. Make a Budget and Get Financial Advice

Asking yourself if you should sell? Make sure to put together your budget for retirement and seek financial advice before making such a big decision. You’ll want to factor in transactional fees and the tax implications for selling at either a loss or a gain. This is especially important if you plan on living off of your fixed income. You’ll want to make sure any prospective house you’re looking at is truly within your means.

Homeowners in Wisconsin have a few opportunities for savings. Senior homebuyers in Madison could qualify for a property tax deferral through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Your real estate agent can help you work through your eligibility for this program. In addition, in Madison, retirees enjoy a tax friendly environment. Income from Social Security benefits are not taxed, and neither is income from a public pension. All of this means more of your money can stay in your pocket.


2. Declutter Your Home and Possessions

When faced with the prospect of selling their home and moving, seniors often realize just how many possessions they’ve amassed throughout their lifetime. The need for you to declutter and organize your home is important for two main reasons. First, moving to a home for retirement often means downsizing, which means you simply won’t have room or energy to deal with items that aren’t completely necessary. Two, you need to tidy your home for prospective buyers. They are going to want to picture their possessions – not yours – in your home. Go ahead and take the opportunity to pass off your grandmother’s old dresser to another family member, put it in storage, donate it or sell it. Regardless of what you choose – you need to simplify your life and possessions.


3. Target Homes Where You Can Age in Place

Your next home should be one that will be appropriate for you in the years to come – so you and your real estate professional will want to talk about amenities that will help you age in place. Wide hallways, bathrooms with safety features to prevent falls, no-step entryways and single story floor plans are all examples of amenities you should look for in your next home.

If you decide that owning a home outright isn’t the best choice for you, you can consider Madison’s other senior living options. Retirement communities, for example, offer the opportunity for active seniors to live independently while community management handles the more burdensome tasks of home ownership – like snow removal, roofing repair and lawn maintenance. If you think you’ll ultimately need more assistance due to changing health complications or mobility limitations, an assisted living facility could be the perfect choice. There areseveral highly-ranked assisted living facilities in the Madison area – each staffed with caring professionals that can help you with activities of daily living.


4. Connect With the Right Real Estate Professional

Having the right expert by your side is a critical key to a successful home selling and buying experience, so make sure to carefully choose your real estate professional. Need help figuring out where to start? Jess Lex Homes knows the Madison market from top to bottom. We’d love to help you find your dream home for retirement—with zero stress! Contact us today.