If you are retiring soon or simply trying to plan ahead, Charleston may be your desired destination. We're not surprised. Our city combines just the right amount of culture and comfortable climate with easy access to everything to attract seniors in droves. However, these are not the only things that you will be thinking about when buying a retirement home for yourself and your spouse. Here are some of the major issues that you should address before making any final decisions:
Consider your mobility, now and in the future. You may be really active now but as you age, things that were easy to navigate may become more of a challenge. With that in mind, choose a home that will be easy to get around in once you start to slow down a bit.
This could mean buying a rancher or at least a home with a potential bedroom and full bathroom on the ground floor; it could also mean looking for a walk-in shower so that you don't have to strain yourself getting over a high tub, non-slip floors for safety, lever door handles to avoid arthritis pain, large doorways and open design in case you ever need a walker or other assistance, etc.
Also, give some thought to how you'll get around. Are there senior services or bus routes in the area that can transport you if driving becomes a problem? Make sure that your new home is either near some form of transportation or within walking distance of a number of shops, restaurants, and other locations.
Even if you are in perfect health at the moment, aging naturally involves extra medical attention. When the time comes and you need to visit a doctor, clinic or E.R. on short notice, it will be good to have some quality options in your immediate vicinity. Being closer could make a major difference in an emergency, but it will take a lot of the stress out of those regular checkups, as well.
Friendly, Safe Neighborhoods
Finding a friendly, safe neighborhood is a big part of ensuring a happy, healthy retirement. As you become older, choosing a new community carefully, with safety in mind, will not only protect you from most threats, it will offer you peace of mind. And while, at Carolina One, we're proud to say that our city is a very safe one in general, no place is perfect. When looking for real estate in or around Charleston, SC, visit the districts you are considering and talk to your potential neighbors. They will give you a good indication of the general vibe of an area and how approachable and caring everyone is.
It's important to calculate your post-retirement budget very carefully before you start to look at homes. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will you be selling your current home, handing it over to your children, or keeping it to live in for some of the year?
- How much should you factor in for unforeseen expenses, like medical bills and repairs?
- What will the new cost of living be like in your new location? For instance, are groceries and gas more or less expensive where you will be?
- Does the home you are looking at have an updated heating system, or will you need to fix it? This applies to the roof, the electric, etc.
- Will the home be paid off by the time you actually hit retirement?
The answers to all of these questions, along with an estimated future income, will help you to determine your buying power, as well as how much cushion you'll have after retirement. Talk to a financial planner about your possible plans – they can help you to determine a budget based on all of these factors and more.
If you're settling on Charleston in the first place, presumably you are doing so with family in mind. If your children and grandkids have a home nearby, that's great! On the other hand, maybe you picked Charleston more for your own convenience and your children are a bit further afield. Or perhaps they are scattered and you're picking a convenient midway point. No matter what the case, you'll need to decide whether or not you'll be hosting them overnight when choosing a home. They may not want or be able to pay for a hotel every time they visit. Decide how much space you and they will need, how long they would be likely to stay, and whether or not you can afford the extra square footage in the first place.
One of the major problems that people have when they retire is finding things to do. Many seniors will tell you that after working a 9-5 job for 40+ years, doing nothing makes them stir crazy. Because of this, it's crucial that your new home offers some kind of outlet for your energies. This can be something like a large yard with a lot of space for planting a garden or perhaps a work shed in which you or your spouse can take up woodworking, sculpting or painting.
In addition to space for at-home hobbies, your neighborhood should provide easy access to other activities. For instance, look for places with bike paths and parks in the near vicinity, beach access, or perhaps a gym or yoga class that you can walk to. A local art gallery or movie theatre will give you a way to get out and enjoy the arts, or perhaps you can find a nearby bar or restaurant that features live musical acts every week. Look for a location that will keep you engaged with life!
Retirement is complicated, but living in Charleston provides enough rewards to be worth the effort. Contact us at Carolina One Real Estate to start your search!