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Is It Finally the Right Time to Buy (or Sell) Your Home?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

April 24 — Oh what a contrast from 4-5 years ago. In the dark days of real estate reporting in 2008 and 2009 there was a steady drumbeat of foreclosures, short sales, record home inventory backlogs, and falling prices. There were no buyers, it seemed, and although there weren’t many sellers, it wasn’t from lack of trying.

Something to (Grouse) About
Fast forward to the March sales report from National Association of Realtors (NAR) that came out this week. Sales are up 10.3% above the year ago month, and the median price of a home, $184,300, increased 11.8% over February. But if you thought the NAR would be downright cheery about this situation – guess again. There’s a problem – not enough inventory. There is currently only a 4.7 months supply (6 months is considered healthy). That lack of supply is blamed for month to month sales slowdowns. While a drag on the market for existing homes, this has been good news for builders, who are finding a more welcome market for the new homes they are starting to build in increasing numbers. The higher end of the market is doing much better than the lower end, which appears at least partially to be related to a decline in the share of purchases from first time home buyers. Sales of existing homes dipped in the West and South, remained unchanged in the Northeast, and increased slightly in the Midwest. There were significant increases in the price of homes in all markets.

Various press accounts cite a paradox explaining the inventory slowdown. One reason for it is that the number of foreclosures is declining. Another is that many home owners have a price in their mind for what they want to get for their home. Prices haven’t yet risen to that level, so they are reluctant to put them on the market. Yet the homes that are for sale have more would-be buyers these days, so above asking price offers and bidding wars are starting to crop up in some markets.

Another factor in the housing market’s favor is near-record low mortgage rates. The average 30 year fixed mortgage is at 3.41%, just a whisker above the all time low of 3.31 in late 2012. Few people want to miss out on those rates. (Editor’s note: We bet we are not the only baby boomer who had a 16% mortgage back in 1982).

So is it time to buy yet?
In our opinion the sentiment in the market has changed. There is pent up demand, including from baby boomers who have been on the fence about buying their retirement home. Nobody wants to miss out on the low prices that have existed for the last few years. The braver folks who bought in the depths of the market look like they made good decisions – at least today. Many others also don’t want to sell their existing home at a price lower than their “target” – if that still has room to rise. And they often can’t buy a new home until they get the money from the old one.

We can’t tell you if this is a good time to buy; that is a highly personal decision. But we can tell you that the trajectory of the market seems to have changed. What do you think?

2019 Update:  According to the National Association of Realtors, the Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas was $257,600 for the U.S. in the fourth quarter of  2018, which was up 4% from  the 4th quarter of 2017.  Early 2019 mortgage rates for a fixed 30-year mortgage was closer to 4.0 % than the 3.41% offered in 2013, when the article was written.

Comments? We are very interested in your opinions – is this is a good time to buy or sell? Did we miss the window, or is there a bright future ahead? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For further reading
Home Sales See Growing Pains (Wall St. Journal)
Those Dang Boomers: They’re to Blame for Rising Urban Home Prices

Posted by Admin on April 23rd, 2013


  1. This is a difficult subject. Those sitting on their homes waiting for selling prices to rise are missing out on the lower prices currently available. I’ve had people tell me they need that extra equity out of their home sale, but in my thinking if they can buy cheaper, their monthly costs will be less and maybe that negates the need for the little bit of extra equity they will realize. My husband and I wished like crazy we could have bought when prices were rock bottom – unfortunately we were years away from retirement and relocation. By the time both of us have left our jobs (2yr) prices will most likely be significantly higher in our destination state and only moderately higher in our current market, which could lead us to rethink our plan a bit.

    by NCGenie — April 24, 2013

  2. My husband and I are currently on the road in Florida and Carolinas looking for a retirement home. The prices have definitely increased from the last few years. The inventory is also shrinking as many “phases” of the newer developments have sold out and buyers would have to wait for the next phase to be opened in the coming year or two -with higher prices of course! We have decided it is time to get off the fence and purchase now, even if we will need to rent it out for a few years until my husband retires. Another favorable option is to purchase a lot now at still reasonable prices…

    by Sandy — April 24, 2013

  3. I bought a retirement home and put a lot of money into it. This is in NE Pa. I was lucky to buy before moving, so I still live in NY for the next few years. Trouble for those selling in NY Pa is there are very low priced homes that were sold in the last year so comps are very low. As a result sellers are holding on to their homes here until prices go up (as a result of these comps getting through the system). One realtor told me it should all be good again in 10 yrs. Good thing I am not going anywhere.

    by scott cunningham — April 24, 2013

  4. Buy now, prices are going up. Assessment values are rising and your equity, if you buy now will be higher. Soon assessment and home prices will equalize, hence lower equity on your new home. :oops::grin:

    by Albert — April 24, 2013

  5. It depends on what geographical location your property (to sell) is located or where you desire to buy. Some places in America are still overburdened with foreclosures to the point many of the homes have allowed to become unlivable with mold, mildew, vermin, etc. and should be torn down. Also, what is a desirable location to some may not be the same for others. Hence, there has been a exodus of homesellers from California to places like Oregon, Washinton, Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Idaho,etc., but others choose to move to California for its weather and coastline. And, it depends on whether your personal political idologies are conservative, neo-conservative, or liberal. Birds of a feather…flock together. I know because we moved out of southern CA (even though we loved the weather, beaches, mountains, etc.) to escape the congestion, smog, and growing economic demise of the State (edited) Then we moved to what then was a conservative part of Oregon… then find ourselves being outnumbered by liberals coming into the area from… California! The “CaliforniZATION” of Oregon. So, off we go to Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming to live amongst more of our own flavor.

    by Winston — April 24, 2013

  6. My wife & I recently retired and are planning to sell our Yuma Arizona home and move to southern Tennessee, Northern Alabama or maybe Florida. Our home appraised for less than we want to sell it for so we are sitting tight for a couple of years. Arizona property is expected to appreciate for the next several years at a higher rate than Alabama or Tennessee property. Waiting two or three years should increase our equity substantially more than the price will increases in Alabama and Tennessee.

    by Gary — April 24, 2013

  7. The question for all of us considering/planning a move is……now or wait till all the markets line up correctly.
    That is an easy and simple question for me…! Very low home mortgage interest rates combined with gradually rising real estate prices provides a window that is closing. OK, I might not get the top dollar for my northern Illinois home, but it will be better than 5 years ago. It i play my “wait for a better sale price card” I could easily be priced out of the location I would like to retire in.
    So I am pulling the trigger now. There is a lot of truth to the old saying, “one in the hand is worth two in the bush”!
    No one can win on both ends.

    by Illinois David — April 24, 2013

  8. @Gary: Since I am a native from the “South” and have lived in several southern States, do consider the elevated humidity and “bugs” in the geo-areas of your interest…especially in the summertime. The winter months doesn’t bring much snow but it can bring lots of ice storms which cause physical damage to homes… and then there’s tornados which you do not have in AZ. Good luck.

    by Winston — April 24, 2013

  9. My husband and I just took our house off the market…a home we have been upgrading for 17 yrs. We live in a highly desirable area of Scottsdale AZ and our home was priced just under others like ours. We had an average of 1 ‘looker’ a day in 6 weeks and no offers (with brand new kitchen and baths). Lots of compliments from Realtors in feedback. Our house was in model condition freshly painted and personal things were filling 3 storage units nearby. What an invasion of privacy and interruption of our lives. Our concluson…houses under $300K selling quickly and anything over, ‘not’. Houses here for under $300K mostly be purchased by investors… we feel people looking for homes to live in are very hesitant or looking and looking for some great deal out there.
    All the talk about ‘Best Time to Sell’ is Realtor talk looking for listings.
    We have decided to stay in our home as we have so much convenience around us and are chalking this up to major Spring Cleaning!!!!

    by CJ — April 24, 2013

  10. I live in Phoenix, AZ and am a first time home buyer through a program in Tempe, AZ. I have always rented. My rental situation for 30 of the past 32 years was more than ideal (small 4-plex and my unit was separated from the other 3 by a corridor. Then, the owner died, property changed hands and for a number of reasons, I had to move. After being in a 200 unit complex with somebody above me, (didn’t want to deal with the stairs on this property), somebody on each side of me; I am very content that I made to decision to buy.
    I just found a home in Tempe, AZ (the city I choose to live in now) for $153,000 (3 bed, 2 bath + family room, granite counter tops, garage) that sold in 2006 for $230,000. My mortgage will be less than what I was paying for rent which just increased with the change of ownership. The program I am in is replacing the roof and a/c and fixing any electrical and plumbing that is not up to code, and my mortgage payments will still be less than my rent. (I am already paying utilities, including water and trash pickup.) I glad I took this step. With retirement I ended up with the lump sum I needed to put down and I was able to qualified for the program (was making too much when working).
    So, as you see, it depends on each person’s situation whether they should rent or buy. Current home prices in the Metro Phoenix area (which includes Tempe) and the lower interest rates and other considerations definitely moved to do this.

    by BJ — April 24, 2013

  11. My husband and I are taking the plunge and buying our retirement home now even though we can’t retire for at least three years. We live on Long Island NY and went down for a weekend to a community called Brunswick Forest in NC and loved the area and found a house. In the same weekend we found a couple who is interested in renting our house till we move in. After we retire from our jobs we will split our time between both houses our children are in college and will be still living home for a while. I loved NC when we went down there but I am not sure if it will be as much as I love Long Island time will tell!

    by Barbara — April 24, 2013

  12. after reading the comments I wonder if we should try to buy where we’d love to be in Az. and rent it out until we can make our move there. We’re both 60 and still working with insurance ( hard to find nowadays). Any suggestions?
    The only thing that’s holding us here is the insurance. I don’t want to wait too long and then the property in Az will be high again …

    by KATIE — April 24, 2013

  13. “Another favorable option is to purchase a lot now at still reasonable prices…” Excellent point Sandy! Especially in many parts of Florida (like the Treasure Coast where I own property), lot prices are just beginning to come off the bottom of the market. While condos and homes suffer from shrinking inventory driving price increases, there are still lots and lots of lots (sorry! 😀 ) for sale from about $5k (vs. $45k at the peak of the market 6-7 years ago) and up! Until local builders return to building spec homes on lots, the market for them may continue to lag. So great strategy to gain a toehold in the market.

    by Clark — April 24, 2013

  14. Another well timed article. The market appears to be all over the place – for the very reasons you noted. Northern VA is very hot right now. Where my wife and I live outside of Fredericksburg, it depends. My wife and I bought our current home in late 2004 in a gated club community – nearly at the top of the market. If we sold today, we’d likely be delivered about a $200K loss against the original purchase price. Right now there are approximately 40 homes listed here – all very nice – down from about 70 at the worst of the market. All the same, many who buy in here now are snapping up vacant lots and building.

    With downsizing in mind, we will likely be shopping for a retirement home and contemplating that we’ll lease or rent our current place until the market returns to a level less painful.

    Hope that helps.

    by Dave — April 25, 2013

  15. We live in SE Michigan where the housing market really plunged during the recession. It is much improved but it will be years before we could sell our house for what we paid for it. The good news for us was that we are not under water on our mortgage so decided to accept reality.We found a community in Summerville, SC and are having a home built. We listed our home here on a Tuesday and by Friday we had 4 offers and accepted one for more than the listing price. We are looking forward to this new phase of our lives.

    by Kathy Coaker — April 25, 2013

  16. My husband and I bought a lot in Myrtle Beach just for the many reasons listed. We saw the prices beginning to rise but were not ready to buy a house as we have two years left before we retire. We figured even if (for some reason) we change our mind on moving to Myrtle Beach, SC we probably wont lost any money if we decided to sell the lot as we already see prices rising in the area we purchased. Only thing is we live in Northern VA and in a way wish we could sell now as who really knows how long this market will continue. We bought in 2005 right before “the fall.” The only consolation we have is that we sold a home at the top of the market as well. The value of our house is close to what we paid for it so who knows, if the market continues we might even get close (lol) to what we paid for it. One thing we having going is location, location, location.

    by Barb — April 25, 2013

  17. This is a topic I write about a lot at my blog site and one I discuss often with my customers who are looking for a retirement home in the South. To be succinct, if you are planning a move from North to South, do not wait for a higher price on your primary home. As pointed out quite well by other commenters, prices for homes in the South are likely to increase at a higher rate; if you wait too long, you will either pay more or have to settle for less house. But even more important to the decision are the differences in cost of living North and South. You will save between 25% and 50% in annual expenses by making that move from most areas of the North to most areas of the South. It may seem counterintuitive , but holding out for a higher price on your primary home will eventually cost you money, not save you money.

    by LarryG — April 25, 2013

  18. Congratulations, Barbara. Brunswick Forest is a terrific community outside Wilmington, one of the most stable golf communities on the east coast (deep pockets developer) in an exciting and growing part of the South. Just yesterday, after a two-hour visit, a couple I am working with put a deposit on a golf course lot there and plan to start building their new home within a few months.

    by LarryG — April 25, 2013

  19. To Katie. I live in Phoenix-Scottsdale area, and in my neighberhood, which is a planned community and fairly new, the home prices are rising fast. The builder here is selling them like crazy! Also, I have talked to many realtors and they all say everthing pretty muich is moving… not so fast for $500,000, and above. It all depend on what area you buy, but I would suggest you do it now, there still are some good deals out there, but our ecomony here is really picking up with lots of people moving here now from California, as I did, and from the midwest. It’s a great place to live in now and say buy now!!

    by loralee — April 25, 2013

  20. We live in West Hartford, CT and at present interviewing Real Estate agents to sell our house. In this town there is only a 4 1/2 month supply of houses and there have been bidding wars on houses so we feel it is a good time to sell. We still have not decided were we are going, I prefer SC and my wife prefers FL. I have also noticed from January(when we visited SC)to now the price increases in the Myrtle Beach and Charleston areas. The areas around Columbia SC where we looked have not risen and there are a lot of affordable houses there. We looked at the Forest Acres and North Acadia lakes areas around Columbia.

    by MarkG — April 25, 2013

  21. My husband and I sold our big house with inground pool last summer in 30 days in south jersey, we received more than our asking price! We had been looking to locate in virginia beach because we liked the area after vacationing here for many years. We ended up buying a house I saw on the internet in Dec. Despite having misgivings about moveing in the winter,we were lucky and moving day it was 65 degrees. I would say that buying and selling a home depends on the individual situation. When the time is right, you will know.

    by kathy — April 25, 2013

  22. I really am not a hot weather person and have asthma and pollen allergies. I have noticed that mostly everyone is headed South or Southwest. Isn’t there anyone who may have thought about the coast of Maine or Cape Cod as a place to retire. I understand Cape Cod doesn’t normally get the snow like the other parts of the state. It has been my experience the fews times I’ve been to both places that it is laid back and peaceful yet there is plenty to do. They humidity doesn’t keep people in doors. I would rather stay inside during a bad snowstorm than be inside during the hot summer. Anyone else have some of the same thoughts?

    by Karen M — April 25, 2013

  23. Hi Barbara
    I have been to Brunswick Forest and the Wilmington NC several times last year.As far as I am concerned there was not that much to do there especially if you are single like me. The Carolinas do not offer what LI offers. Yes there are some nice place to go and see. However, it is not LI or NY by any means. There is allot more going on on the East Coast of Florida

    by GUy — April 25, 2013

  24. To Karen M
    Look into Las Vegas, Utah or Califonia, The weather there is great especially in Southern Cal!

    by Guy — April 25, 2013

  25. To Karen M – I’ve lived in Massachusetts for the last 40 years, so I can comment about “the Cape.” Also, we own a cottage near Bar Harbor and I can comment on Maine coastal living, at least the Down East area. The “Cape” is scenic especially along the bay north of Route 6 and along Route 6A. Real estate prices are high though, so be prepared to pay at least $300k+ for a condo or small house. The Cape can get a lot of snow if the storm is a coastal one. There’ve been times when they’ve gotten more snow than we have in Worcester, which is in a snow belt. I have friends who live on the Cape and they love it off season when all the tourists go home. The same can be said of the Bar Harbor area. It’s very sleepy off season but watch out from July through October. Cruise ships have found their way to the area and they have as many as 30+ cruises stopping during the peak season. During the winter many businesses close up until the spring. I did have one person tell me that the locals have tons of things to do in the winter and they’re not bored. People can hike and cross country ski in Acadia National Park during the winter too. It all depends on what you like to do. Note that Bar Harbor is on almost the same latitude as Montpelier, VT. Since Bar Harbor is on the coast though they will get more ice storms than snow though that will vary from winter to winter.

    by Carole — April 25, 2013

  26. My husband and I are planning to move to Trilogy in Orlando. We have to sell our home of 13 years just west of Washington DC before we can buy. We are ready for the weather and the downsizing. We are trying to figure out a plan to live while our home is being built. We figure this may be our last home so we want to make sure we have it built the way we want. We will have to rent with two small dogs. and store furniture

    by Denise W. — April 25, 2013

  27. Wow Guy, not seeing how you say there is not much to do in Wilmington. “Iron Man 3” is filming, the TV series “Revolution” is in production locally, there is a casting call for extras for a new movie on the Wilm on Film blog currently ( ). They don’t call it Hollywood East for nothing. True Brunswick Forest is quite a bit quieter and that’s what the new residents are apparently looking for. But it’s also in a convenient location between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington (though much closer to Wilmington) for dining, shopping, a night out, etc. Not that I’m knocking FL as I own too much property on the Treasure Coast to do that. On the shopping front, Wilmington has a Trader Joes and a Whole Foods. You won’t find a Trader Joes on the east coast of FL, and you won’t find a Whole Foods until you get down to Palm Beach Gardens. I’m confident either FL or NC are in my future. And if I play my cards right, maybe both . . . .

    by Clark — April 25, 2013

  28. Hubby and I live just outside of Houston TX in a lovely town called Katy. We stumbled upon the perfect country property only 10 miles from our home in a popular subdivision. Rather than make the choice to sell and possibly take a loss on our home to purchase the country place, we put our home up for lease. Because lease property is on high demand right now, we are able to almost cover BOTH mortgages with what we are getting in monthly rent. We were able to get owner financing on the country property, which is what made it all possible for us. It worked out perfectly, and we can hang on to our “city house” as a rental and build equity in both places.

    by Nancy A — April 26, 2013

  29. If anyone out there has any info on Summerville, Fl and the Stonecrest subdivision area,I would greatly appreciate it. I’m wondering if Stonecrest (1 1/2 miles from the villaes) is too rural for us. What about shopping, malls and anything else, except for The Villages which I’ve been told is on the high end. Any info on the area will be very helpful. We’re selling our home in Mich. which we’ve been told will sell very quickly and are starting to panic about which area of Fl to look at.Thanks in advance

    by Judy — April 27, 2013

  30. I have lived in Summerfield, FL. Stonecrest for 11 years. If you compare the area to a big city I guess you might say it is rural. It is a Town like area, we have department stores, Sams, 2 Super Walmart’s. The area is growing quite fast. We have just about anything one would would need. We also have a hospital and lots of medical. I woulden’t say the Villages is high end, There are some manufactured homes in the 80’s and regular houses from 140’s to over a million. Stonecrest is very close to the Villages, we do not have the fees that the Villages have and you get a lot more house for the money, however you pay for the lifestyle at the Villages.There are lots and lots of people here from Mich. You should come down and see for yourself. There are many other retirement communities in the area to check out, Del Webb etc.

    by Dianne — April 27, 2013

  31. Does anyone know or have an opinion on retirement in Minnesota & info. on Communities???

    by Patti Schuler — April 27, 2013

  32. Were looking at Sun City Carolina Lakes in Charlotte. The prices have recently increased by ten grand for a base price. We realize that it would be somewhat of a cookie cutter type of area, but do folks think that the amenities are worth it? Is it really easy to make friends in these large, already formed communities? Any pro/ against comments would be really appreciated. If you have visited or live in this community or in the Charlotte area, any help appreciated.

    by catz0026 — April 28, 2013

  33. Thanks Dianne

    All of your info was greatly appreciated.We’ll be making a trip down there in the next couple of weeks. My husband and I are more of the city people rather than a little more rural especially when it comes to shopping. I’m concerned with dr. and hospitals, also. Dealing with heart issues and I’ll be in need of a knee replacement soon. As far as shopping, I would like to know if there are any mall, Whole Foods, etc close by. Maybe I should be happy to be out of the winter here in Mich. We’re used to summer heat as we lived in TN for15 yrs and the summers were quite hot. Not much different than the Orlando area. Thanks so much. I reall appreciate it

    by Judy — April 28, 2013

  34. Hi Catz0026

    Please check thread I started at There are posting from people lives in SCCL. I and my husband plan to visit there in July.

    Our house is for sale now, but we may not sell it this season. The housing market around here is slow. Even though inventory is low, we may not get the price we want. We are no rush to sell, but depends on how much we get for our house, we have to decide where we are moving to. “timing” is everything, and we are hoping it will work out for us.

    by Francesca from NY — April 28, 2013

  35. Patti, bring money if you want to retire in Minnesota. Our taxes are high. I haven’t seen many retirement communities. Most people want to leave Minnesota when they retire.

    by Linda — April 28, 2013

  36. For Judy, There is Monroe hospital in Ocala they are well known and highly rated for Cardiology also the lady next door to me had a knee replacement at Monroe with good might look into Del Webb or On Top Of The World retirement comm. in Ocala, priced well. Ocala is 20 miles north of us. As far as upscale and large malls Orlando is the place that is about 3/4 to 1 hr. south of us. There are also retirement comm. down there. Del Webb ect. You can check out all the areas in about a 60 to 70 mile radius. PS Orlando has the airport, it is 60 miles from us. and 80 mi. from Ocala

    by Dianne — April 28, 2013

  37. If you like cold winters Patti Minnesota should be on your list. Having lived here all of my 63 years there are a number of favorable things people enjoy here. We are a 4 season state with cold winters but 3 others seasons that are very nice. Very good health care especially around the Twin Cities and Rochester with the Mayo Clinic. Beautiful scenery, especially as you go north with thousands upon thousands of lakes. Friendly people and expanding mass transit are a few of the other pluses we have here. Having said that I plan on spending my winters elsewhere in a few years, possibly Arizona or somewhere around that area but taxes wouldn’t be the deciding issue. Taxes are a little higher then average and if taxes are your main concern you may need to look elsewhere. I’ve found that most states will find a way to tax residents whether it is income, sales or property taxes and there are those that complain about paying taxes but want all the services they bring. I only know of one retirement community, 4 Seasons at Rush Creek, and it is located in Maple Grove. I’ve checked it out and it is a little on the high side but it is definitely on my list. Hope this helps, Lefty.

    by Lefty Omalley — April 28, 2013

  38. Bought our retirement home in summer of 2010 to be completed March 2011. Retirement date is summer 2015. Been tough on the budget to make two house payments but felt prices would be heading up after 2007 collapse around 2012. One effect of the housing bubble is less supply out there as many are still under water so they can’t put their home up for sale. That will hold true for another few years causing home prices to continue to rise at a higher percentage over these few years until things settle down to a pace just a little over the cost of living. If your going to buy within the next 3 years, best to do it sooner rather than later.

    by Billy Bap-AZ Bound — April 28, 2013

  39. If you’re thinking of selling your current home and moving to a new area for presumable the rest of your life then having the value of your current home increase seems like a winning situation.
    As stated by so many home costs nationwide are on the increase. The end result being no different, it would seem, than when home costs were lower.
    If you’re lucky you get to sell your current home for a greater amount than you might have a year ago but the retirement home you choose has had an increase in cost also.

    So help me out here. Doesn’t that equation place you right back where you started, ie; more profit from sale of current home but more cost for replacement home.
    Net change: zero.
    Am I missing something ??

    by Anne — April 29, 2013

  40. Anne, I am afraid you are missing something, and that something is a savings on cost of living if your primary home is in a higher cost part of the country than is the home you will buy next. Also, local employment where your primary home is located will have a lot to do with the amount of increase over time. If companies in your area are not growing, they won’t hire the people who might want to buy your house. Homes in the southern U.S. don’t face the same problem since retiring baby boomers (like us) are forming a large group of potential buyers. And, very much like people, more companies are moving south than are going in the opposite direction.

    by Larry G. — April 29, 2013

  41. To Catz0026 I visited Sun City outside Charlotte in March. Everything and I mean everything you see and like in the models is an upgrade. I could afford the base price but wanted a few upgrades and it put the house out of my budget. The people were very friendly but I didn’t like row after row of houses, no tress etc. Lots of activities but many are so full you have to wait in line to get in. Depends what you are looking for. And when you go outside the gate, the traffic is no fun!.

    by Barbara — April 29, 2013

  42. To reply to Anne,

    One saving is for example, our retirement home’s property tax bill is based on purchase in August 2010. I truly believe the bottom has passed and thus for every year one waits, their retirement home’s property tax purchase price will be higher now going forward so the sooner one can make the move the better. You are correct to a degree about ones current home and future purchase home both going up in price. One can guess, try to get information, on if your current homes escalation percentage will be higher or lower than their retirement home purchase. We are going from the Eastbay of CA to AZ and we are confident our CA home will escalate more than AZ home, especially since we were blessed to buy AZ in 2010 and will sell CA in 2014. For certain though is locking in a property tax based on lower price. Home in AZ property tax has gone up but still it is 1/3 of what pay in CA, one reason I am retiring out of state. More bang for the buck!

    by Billy Bap-AZ Bound — April 29, 2013

  43. To Larry G, What about number of new constructions? Around us (suburb of NYC)home inventory is very low and there is nothing new building, but I heard popular retirement destinations down south are building new home (communities) like no tomorrow? what is your opinion?

    by Francesca from NY — April 30, 2013

  44. Francesca, my observation is that, in some parts of the South, a few new communities are popping up (especially in Florida), but by and large, there are so many empty lots for sale in already formed communities that developers are not rushing in to add to the inventory — not yet at least. But real estate, of course, operates on the simple principle of supply and demand. The supply in the suburbs of NY may be low, but unless the demand is high there — via new job creation or at least rehiring for jobs on hold — prices will not rise that fast. On the contrary — and I suspect this will happen in general — if baby boomers start migrating south in large numbers, the current decent supply of properties will rise in price, probably faster, as a percentage, than prices up north. Just to use round numbers, if you own a $1 million home up North, for example, and plan to downsize to a $500,000 house in the South, you won’t get hurt too much by waiting since a 1% gain on the $1 million house ($10,000) is the same as a 2% gain on the $500,000 house. But those who expect to spend on their next house in the South roughly what they sell their homes in the North for could lose some buying power by waiting too long. And as I wrote earlier and write about a lot at my blog site, by waiting you are forgoing the savings on cost of living expenses, which are much lower in the South.

    by Larry G. — April 30, 2013

  45. My husband and I just returned from visiting Del Webb at Ponte Vedra, Fl , Cascades at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, and Dataw Island in Beaufort, SC. We felt the Florida communities were quite pricey and not the community feeling that we are looking for – many strip malls in area and LOTS of traffic. Also many pricey upgrades, and building practices, especially at Del Webb not up to my husband’s standards. We were very impressed with Dataw Island, and prices for resale homes and llots continue to be very reasonable, for the time being. Our realtor who was fantastic reported a greatly increased business as many folks are jumping off the fence to buy now that the economy and prices have begun to move upward. We purchased a beautiful lot at a very affordable price that had not increased from last year’s price. The inventory of both houses and llots is decreasing at Dataw Island. Though we will not be building right away, which may mean we will face increased prices in materials, we are satisfied with our decision to “get off the fence” and enjoy the last of the good values out there. Glad to know where we will be in the future!

    by Sandy — April 30, 2013

  46. It may be smart to sell your home if you’re retired just so you do not have to take care of it anymore. Living in an active retirement community might be the right decision to help keep you active and social into retirement.

    by Oakmonte Village — April 30, 2013

  47. Thank you, Larry G. that’s make sense.

    by Francesca from NY — May 1, 2013

  48. Central Kentucky is where it is happening. Consider the Richmond/Lexington area.

    by Joe Jo — May 1, 2013

  49. I am wondering if anyone has info on resale values of manufactured/modular homes that are in retirement communities. thanks!

    by kathie albert — May 2, 2013

  50. About, Patricia says that she relishes every of their newsletters. She also says that they have something for everyone.

    This article is quite appropriate timed as there is generally a whole lot of confusion in the air- especially for existing home owners like me who would like to buy a retirement home for a cheaper rate, but find it difficult to sell our current house because the price has shrunken far below the original price for which the house was bought.

    Still, from the article, and from what Barbara said in the comments, buying a house now that the rates are still low, seems to be a good idea. Like Barbara did, I could put up the new house for rent or lease- at least until I am ready to move into my retirement home. What would you recommend?

    Hopefully, by then, the price rates would be solid enough for me to sell my current house. This article has been very useful.

    Editor’s Note: When this article was written back in 2013 home prices were still beginning to recover from the crash of 2007. Since then they are back up in many, but not areas of the country. Last year’s tax bill and the changes to SALT (state and local tax) deductions may also have an impact on prices. It is a complex puzzle!

    by Sarah — February 18, 2019

  51. Sarah, If you want to move elsewhere but are staying in your current house hoping the price will go back up, you might want to speak with a realtor to find out if they see prices going up in your area. Some towns are in locations ready to grow while others are not going to return to their former value for years if ever and selling now to cut your loss might be a strategy. We sold 2 years ago and while not underwater, we sold for a less than we hoped since it was considered a knockdown in a booming area.

    by Jean — February 19, 2019

  52. As an update to this Blog article, The National Association of Realtors reports that during the 4th quarter of 2018, the Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas in the U.S. was $257,600 which was up 4% from the 4th quarter of 2017, when the median sale price was reported to be $247,800.

    by Jane at Topretirements — February 19, 2019

  53. Well it has been a year and happy we sold our house in Minnesota and now reside in Arizona. We sold our home in Minnesota in one week and were fortunate enough to get our asking price. We built a new home in Arizona.
    On comment, if you are selling, remember you may need to spend a few dollars for a new coat of paint, or minor fixes. Decluder, buyers must see themselves living in your home and may not have the same tastes as you. Your realtor should be able to give you assistance.

    by Bruce — February 20, 2019

  54. Not sure if this comment was made before, but one of the best ideas to increase the odds of selling your home and getting the best price is to hire someone to “stage” it. My brother’s realtor suggested he do that, even though he thought his decorating/furniture was beautiful. A stylist with experience put a lot of his stuff in storage and then rented other pieces and artwork to make his home a showplace. Worked great for him!

    by Ken — February 20, 2019

  55. Make sure you have a good realtor who is familiar with your specific neighborhood. Make sure this realtor hires a professional photographer to photograph your property AFTER you follow his/her instructions on decluttering.

    by Linda — February 20, 2019

  56. I also think that some people don’t realize that a 20+ yr. old kitchen can be a turnoff to many buyers. If one is serious about selling then update countertops, appliances etc. I have looked at photos of homes with older kitchens and I seriously wonder if the buyer(s) are serious about selling. Of course it is up to the realtor to advise clients, otherwise the house may take awhile to sell.

    by Fionna — February 21, 2019

  57. My kitchen is older but one would not know that. The appliances are an updated color stainless steel and white. The countertops could be updated, however I will not spend money on something the new buyer would only change after the purchase.
    My home has never been cluttered and I keep it immaculate. I am not doing any major renovations and it will sell just fine because it does not look dated. Too many people spend thousands of dollars to try to sell their homes and much of it is usually changed once the sale has been made.

    by Jennifer — February 21, 2019

  58. Jennifer,

    I agree with what you have said – really depends on the buyer and their level of “fussiness.” I think the most important thing is location (x3) and, if you have that then you shouldn’t have a problem. Good Luck!

    by Fionna — February 22, 2019

  59. Thanks Fionna,

    I do have the location factor!! We are just a few blocks from trendy restaurants, churches, and a major grocery store. Public transportation runs right in front of our entrance all day long and four blocks to access even more options. We have a zip car on the property and Uber, Lyft, Cars2go . Walking is a great option in a lovely neighborhood. The only issue here is that we do have pretty high co-op fees, but they do cover everything but my cell phone bill, internet and cable TV–which I do not have. I am conflicted as I would want the same type of environment whereever I would move, or else I am staying here.

    by Jennifer — February 22, 2019

  60. I agree with Jennifer. I too have an older home in a good location I am putting up for sale soon. I am not making any improvements to the home. I have friends who have gutted kitchens and other rooms, spent a lot of money redoing them, sold the home and 2 weeks later the renovations they just spent all that money on are sitting out by the curb. I would rather take a bit less and let whomever buys the home do what they like. I am sure my tastes are not the same as younger buyers.

    by nancy — February 22, 2019

  61. We just sold our Calif condo which was a fixer upper in 9 days. We didn’t do anything to renovate or even stage it. We had to sell it at a lower price but still ended up profiting over $150,000. Now the flipper has renovated it and after a mo still no buyers. They have over priced the listing thinking they would make a large profit soon but the quality of the work isn’t the highest. So probably better to sell lower and let the buyer do the reno….

    by Mary11 — February 22, 2019

  62. more than half this page is outdated!! I really don’t want to read comments from 2013…
    the point being??
    Please keep this site current and relevant
    Thank you

    by Terri Gourley — February 22, 2019

  63. As Terri mentioned this article was written in 2013, but we did add an update concerning prices of homes at the end of the article and an editor comment above. Members are now discussing selling and buying their homes in today’s market with suggestions on what is important to them.

    A new and interesting blog article is out today : What Homebuyers Want in 2019

    by Jane at Topretirements — February 23, 2019

  64. Bruce, Can you share more details on your home building experience in AZ. We have been shopping AZ for some time and can’t seem to find what we are looking for in an existing home.

    by Bill — February 24, 2019

  65. Bill, check our victory in Verrado.

    by Nancy Cel — February 25, 2019

  66. Bill, best of luck looking for a new home and community. Our home was built by Lennar and here are a few reasons why. They do include items some builders will charge extra and you must remember to ask for. Items like: low flow water faucets and toilets, walkway from side garage door to the driveway, led lighting, 10ft ceilings and 8 ft doors, bluetooth enabled front door lock and thermostat. Also Lennar was one of just a few that allowed us to change and add items to the house. Our den had 8ft half wall openings and we downsized the openings to 5 ft., added headers so we could install barn door shutters with no overlap and dual doors at the entry to the den. This allows it be both open and private when we need it. Laundry room is located off the master bedroom walkin closet. We were allowed to add several electrical outlets (outside and above the kitchen island). Most builders will not allow any changes to their plans.
    Make sure when you look at model homes you ask the builder for other floor plans not in the model park. The home we built didn’t have a model, we were lucky during our play and stay to have stayed in the model we built.
    Related to communities we wanted one that had natural gas access. Our stove, furnace, fire pit and outside grill are all connected to natural gas. Some communities are electric, LP, or propane or a mix.

    by Bruce — February 25, 2019

  67. Thank you Nancy and Bruce. I appreciate the information.

    by Bill — February 25, 2019

  68. I’m not in favor of major renovations before selling a home, but I know when Im looking and see old wallpaper, appliances and carpeting it will often discourage me from even looking further. IMHO, anything you can do reasonably to make your home more appealing is probably worth it. Paint and carpeting isn’t that expensive and there’s nothing wrong with new appliance that you can currently benefit from.

    by Staci — March 3, 2019

  69. When deciding whether to do any upgrades before selling your house, it’s a good idea to look at Zillow or Trulia and see what homes in your community or subdivision that are already for sale look like. If they’ve got the remodeled kitchens, updated paint jobs etc., then you can choose to do or not do the same, but realize that if you don’t, you’ll need to lower the price of your home accordingly. Our house is just going on the market, and the one thing our realtor suggested was a tasteful paint job. Most families tend to prefer move-in ready.

    by Laurel Clay — March 4, 2019

  70. Replacing appliances is all well and good if you happen to like what is in fashion. I for one really do not like all the stainless steel appliances, so i would never put them in my home. What happens if you put them in, do not sell your home and are stuck with appliances you hate? Not everyone has the money available to continually replace all their appliances. I agree with the comment about painting and doing small reasonable things if you have the money available.

    by nancy — March 4, 2019

  71. I have a quick question….We have never owned a home and can’t decide to rent or buy for our retirement. If we bought a condo we would only have $20,000 left over in savings, but by renting the money invested would probably last until we are in our mid 80s. All the calculators say it’s still better to buy than rent, but am concerned about maintenance costs if we purchase an older home. Btw, we have no children. I would appreciate any insight….

    by Babyboomer55 — March 4, 2019

  72. Nancy, I totally agree that it’s sometimes best to let the new owned decide what sort of appliances they want. I’ve heard of people who offer to give the buyer a couple thousand dollars or so at closing to purchase the appliances they want. This helps younger buyers who may be tapped out with their mortgage payments but would like new appliances.

    by jean — March 5, 2019

  73. Boomer 55,
    I think you need to be very cautious about becoming “House poor.” If a purchase puts your savings into a small amount left, it becomes dangerous if repairs are needed. Even though sellers are required to list deficiencies in the property and a good inspection is a must, you still need to plan on at least one “surprise” that you weren’t expecting. I advise you dig into the particulars of what is included in the maintenance fees. Condos have an HOA that can vary widely in monthly dues. Higher dues typically cover routine maintenance and may even have a blanket insurance policy for things like hurricanes and floods. Do some digging and see exactly what is covered and see if you are comfortable with the total monthly expense after purchase.

    by Chris J — March 5, 2019

  74. Babyboomer55, While thinking about the buy vs rent thing a few things to also consider are what income other than investments do you have (ss, pensions) and also will either of you work some after retiring from your current jobs? Also how much are you expecting to spend on a house or rent? And do you expect to take a mortgage if you buy? Also, consider what income (ss and pension) each will have should the other die). Once you have a realistic idea of how much you will you can decide on what you want to spend.
    When thinking of buying dont forget property taxes and HOA fees and assessments all go up just as rents do. Your concern about buying an older house is smart – remember that old movie “The Money Pit”? But if you get a good deal on the house or condo and make sure there are no obvious issues like an old roof, old drafty windows, old water heater, or anything else that would need to be replaced within the first few years you live there (and in a condo there are no obvious major repairs needed in the common areas that would result in an assessment shortly after you move in) you could set aside some money in your budget to cover future repairs.

    by jean — March 5, 2019

  75. Thanks everyone…I actually have lived in a condo community for about 10 yrs so have experienced HOAs and the assessments. My mother probably paid out $20,000 over 22 years. We are coming into an inheritance of $150,000 and want to buy without a mortgage. We have good credit since we paid off 90% of our Credit cards. So would have enough money available for upkeep costs. I am on SS but hubs won’t be for another 7 yrs. So we need the money to last since we don’t have any other money coming in. We qualify for property tax deferments and will qualify for help with Medicare premiums. So we really only need $300 extra per month. I’ve done a lot of research on this topic and we would probably be better off purchasing a manufactured home on your own land compared to a condo. It would leave us with $60,000 after paying for the home and wouldn’t have assessments and CCRs from a condo.

    by Babyboomer55 — March 6, 2019

  76. Hello All:

    I have lived in a co-op which I own in NW Washington, DC for 23 years. I bought in the mid nineties when no one wanted to live here and there were huge tax incentives to move over from Virginia–plus no personal property tax on my car. The co-op/HOA fees were $540 on my 1200 Square foot apartment–(built in 1929 so they were building larger then) now I pay around $1100. It includes every possible expense plus a reserve fund and the ONLY thing I pay extra for is my cell phone–$24.00 per month from Republic Wireless and my High Speed Internet about $88.00 per month. Over the years my income went up when I was a nurse and I never felt the fees were that excessive when averaged over 23 years. We have a mixed age group here–mostly adults however and we can walk three to four blocks to Church, Groceries and many high end restaurants. I am nervous about the fees possibly getting to high if I stay into old age. If I do not I have a good amount of equity in my apartment. Walkability is a big asset to me and we have all types of transportation bus, metro–not far, zip car, car2go, Uber and Lyft. I keep my apartment current, but I will not change out appliances that are working perfectly fine. I keep them in good working order and do not change out because the color might not be in vogue-I have a white refrigerator and a stainless steel and black stove and dishwasher. We have a great board of directors and self manage our co-op and do not permit renting unless with Board approval and only for six months out of every five years or so. We are on 15 acres as well. It is a turnkey establishment and I have been glad to enjoy the roses and the grass without having to do the work. Assessments do go up and so you have to also balance the other amenities you have as well. We have our own grocery and dry cleaners too.

    by Jennifer — March 6, 2019

  77. Baby boomer55
    Just wondering—
    If you’ve always rented a condo, what is your reason for buying one now?

    by Staci — March 7, 2019

  78. Staci,
    I lived in my mother’s condo for 6 years and rented one for 4 years. The value of her condo in 21 years increased by 350% so buying in California is a pretty good investment. Also, with a condo if you should need additional money you can get a reverse mortgage. Renting is just very expensive in southern CA…..

    by Babyboomer55 — March 7, 2019

  79. We’ve been investigating communities with mandatory club memberships and most properties are declining in value. A scary investment if one should choose to go that route.

    by Florence — March 13, 2019

  80. Florence…it all depends on the community. I’m living in one in S Calif and there’s only the average HOA cost per mo. They have a consignment shop that covers all of the extra clubs and activities they provide. The values of the homes aren’t decreasing here either.

    by Babyboomer55 — March 14, 2019

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