My husband and I are both nearing our 60s and are looking to make some changes to our home, or to move to a different house. Our youngest child re-cently graduated from college and moved out, and we think now is a good time to do it. We are also looking to explore some different design options that can make the house a safer and easier place to grow old in. Where can we get some help with our homestead planning?
Alone At Last
Deciding whether to remodel or move is a big decision that can cost big bucks, so take your time and do your homework before you jump into anything.
Ready for Change?
There are lots of things to consider when planning your ideal retirement home - whether it’s to remodel or move. Here are few basic questions to ask yourself to help you figure out what’s best for you.
• Are the kids really gone? They’re known as “boomerang kids,” young adults, who move out of their parents’ house, to go to college, get married or just strut their independence, but later return. It’s estimated that roughly one in 10 adults in the United States, ages 25 — 34 are living with their parents. So, before you decide to convert your child’s bedroom into a home office or retire to a smaller home in another state, ask yourself if they’re really gone.
• Do you like your neighborhood? It may be that you chose your current home mainly because of its school district. But now that schools are no longer a factor, maybe you’re itching to leave the suburbs and settle downtown, or in a mountain cabin, or a seaside cottage. On the other hand, if you really love your neighborhood, you have a strong reason to stay put. A great neighborhood is hard to replicate. Remodel-ing is a way to keep what you already love and make it even better.
• Will your home be senior- friendly? Today there are dozens of home modifications and assistive devices (also known as universal design) that can help make a home - whether you’re remodeling or building a new house - safer and more user-friendly as you age. The North Carolina State Center for Universal Design provides great information and inexpensive publications that can help you learn more. Visit www.centerforuniversaldesign.org or call 800-647-677
• What will it cost? Both choices - remodeling and moving - can be expensive. For some, educed by the glamour of a whirlpool tub or extravagant new kit-chen, a remodeling project can quickly become a money pit. On the other hand, moving can be costly too when you consider possible expenses like getting your home ready for sale, real estate sales commission, closing costs, moving expenses, and the cost of decorating your new home.
Remodel or Move?
To help you sort through the pros and cons and expenses of remodeling or moving is an organization called “Remodel or Move.” An independent resource that offers a free online calculator at www.remodelormove.com, or worksheet sent by mail or e-mail (to receive a free copy call 888-825-4169), can help you determine what’s financially best for you by calculating the cost of your hypothetical remodeling project versus the cost to move. It also taps into your emotions by asking questions about how your feel about your neighborhood, your floor plan and the remodeling process, and makes a recommendation geared to your specific needs and lifestyle. Also available is their handy new book, “Remodel or Move? Make the Right Decision” ($15,95), written by Dan Fritschen. It’s available online and in bookstores nationwide.
Send your senior question to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org.