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Survey Results Part 2: Renting is Out and Cash Will Rule

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

July 10, 2016 — This is Part 2 of the results from last week’s “How Much Do You Expect to Receive in Retirement” survey. In this installment we will report on the questions having to do with renting, financing, 55+ design features, and general comments about finding a place to retire. Here is where you can see the results from Part 1. Here is the link to the consolidated article of all results to the survey – Members Will Retire Out of State and More. The bottom of the article contains links to all 11 of our previous survey reports on a variety of topics.

Main Conclusions
Renting is not on the table. As a group you seem to have very little interest in renting your retirement home – owning is much more popular.
Financing – many will pay cash. About half of you plan on paying cash for your next home, while the remainder will mostly be taking out a conventional mortgage.
55+ appropriate design. About half of you say your current home is not very or only slightly appropriate for your 55+ lifestyle (universal design and 1 floor living). When asked if you would be interested in purchasing a home with 55+ type accommodations, a higher proportion said yes.

Detailed Findings

Question 7. Renting vs. Owning
There is little doubt about how our members feel about renting a home in retirement – you don’t want to! Some 74% said you would be Extremely or Very Unlikely to rent, vs. 12% who indicate they would be Extremely or Very Likely to rent.

Q 8. How will you finance your retirement home?
Survey takers were evenly split between those who will pay cash (presumably from the equity in their pre-retirement home) and those who will take out some kind of mortgage, mostly conventional ones. The choice of a conventional mortgage indicates, in our opinion, that retirees haven’t given enough attention to the usefulness of reverse mortgages like the HECM product (only 1% said they would use this tool). We say that because some of our Topretirements homebuilder advertisers say that significant numbers of the buyers in their developments choose HECM mortgages, once they are acquainted with the product. Obviously, such products are not for everyone, however, and customary caution is advised as in any financial transaction

Conventional Mort.
HELOC (relocation)
HECM or Reverse


Q 9. Is your current home age appropriate?.
We were curious to see how people rate their current home for being 55+ appropriate – by which we mean single floor living, downstairs MBR, no steps, universal design (access for anyone regardless of physical condition). We included low maintenance as part of these characteristics, which we believe are important considerations for retirees to consider. The results were split – about half thought their current home is age appropriate, and half did not. Here is the breakdown:
Not at all appropriate
Slightly not approp.
Very appropriate


There were 252 additional comments made on this question. Many people commented that they were looking for a ranch style home, that their current home had too many steps and levels, and that they want to downsize from what they have now. We are happy that folks are thinking about these considerations!

Q 10. How likely are you to buy a home that is 55+ appropriate (with all of the factors discussed in previous question?
It appears that there is fairly strong interest in buying a home with 55+ friendly features. About 3/4 of respondents were at least interested in the concept, while the remaining quarter said not so much. Given this interest we are, frankly, surprised that there are any active adult community builders left who don’t make all of their homes 55+ friendly.
Extremely interested
Very interested
Slightly not interested
Not at all interested


Q 11. Is there anything else you would like to share about your thought process concerning your move to a new home in retirement?

We were pleased to see over 500 comments made in this optional section. All of them are interesting, and they cover a broad range of issues. If you have the time you might want to skim through them as they provide considerable insight and food for thought. We will provide a link where you can read all of the comments in the consolidated version of this article.

We don’t have the space to include them all here, but here is a random sampling that will give you a flavor for what was contributed (our apologies for not including yours)

It is frightening to me…I have been looking at real estate websites as well as reading a lot about living in various places…..I am having a very tough time figuring out where I will live. Right now, I am alone……so even more scary as I leave my few remaining friends, it will be like completely starting life over again.

Struggling with choice of a 55+ community or not. There are strong pluses (facilities, peers, opportunities for activities) but also strong negatives (living only with old people, HOA controls over maintenance and personalizaion; more restricted resale market if choose to move).

I presently live on a lake in New Jersey where the taxes ($13,000 a year) are horrible. I can find the same size home?(even though I don’t need the size)in the southeast (SC or TN) with taxes of approximately $1000-$1500 a year. What I pay now in a month I can pay in a year and not change my lifestyle. It’s amazing. I have my home up for sale now can’t wait to sell.

We set clear criteria:?Near major urban area with art, culture, hospitals Near the beach? Age diverse living area? Lock and leave potential After several visits, We selected Daniel Island, SC.

Hate to leave current home but unable to afford to stay here. Forced out.

Having close access to towns to socialize, near hospital if ever needing medical attention.

Right now, our move is 6-8 weeks away, and i’m scared to death. I’ve lived in this area of the country for 38 years and it’s home. Is this the right thing for me to do???

I am bored here. I miss clean streets, and quiet nights. The weather is perfect here, but I’m willing to give it up in exchange for more opportunities to be active, e.g. hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and volunteering. And to make more friends who are intellectually stimulating.

Have to be in a 55+ community and have to have numerous activities.

We are moving to be more physically comfortable. The southern heat and humidity is killing us! Since most of our family is on the east coast, we started our discussion in Florida. It gradually moved up the coast until we found a place that had the most of what we were looking for – small city with things to do, not overly taxed and cooler weather. A spreadsheet to compare places was also helpful.

The South holds no interest for either of us. It is getting more crowded here and we need some room. The West is beautiful and our savings will also go further there. Yes we will miss our family; we’ll visit. We are looking at this as a new adventure.

We wanted to be in a warmer climate during winter. Also wanted to have organized activities, walkability and trails to explore. Having all these things with the added bonus of being a part of an community.

We’ve RVed for vacations for awhile. We’ve decided there’s so much to see and do, so we are moving to our RV full-time, giving up our “sticks-and-bricks” home until we’ve either found the next place we want to call home or we can’t wander any long
Want to move to area of lower cost of living, lower property taxes & near adult children

Good airport? Good arts Wednesday, Good healthcare, Good sports

We are looking forward to the next adventure and are excited about the chance for a new beginning at that stage in our lives.

I really need to get out of Illinois.

Do it before your too old and trapped. I think a comfortable home in a stimulating area adds to longevity and quality of life!

We need to move to a smaller home that one of us could manage if the other person becomes ill or dies. We live in the NH. The winters are long and the shoveling is very difficult for us at this stage in our lives. The property taxes, vehicle registration costs, etc. are expensive in NH.

Bottom Line
Thank you to all of the Topretirements members who took the time to share – we greatly appreciate your input!

Links to Previous Surveys
Good News: Topretirements Members Very Confident About Retirement
Where to Retire Preferences
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 2013
Our Members Getting Ready for Big Retirement Moves- 2013
Retirement Living Preferences – 2013
Medicare Survey – 2012
Best and Worst Things About Your Retirement
Your Bucket Lists Are Amazing
Top Concerns about Retirement
Plans for Retirement

Comments? Please share your thoughts about these “where to retire” results in the Comments section below. Did anything surprise you or change your mind – please let us know!

Posted by Admin on July 9th, 2016

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