Update August, 2017 – We ran a new version of this survey this year. Here is a link to the results, which are similar but show even more interest in moving.
August 5, 2013 — Members at Topretirements are not fuzzy about their retirement plans. Instead, they are busy getting the old homestead ready for sale and packing the wagons for the move to an exciting new (and possibly very different) home. Both the response to the survey (with 1300 responses) and the quality of your insights into our questions on selling your home, what you are looking for in the next, downsizing, and moving were amazing. In this article we will summarize the results for each question. Just as important, since so many people shared their opinions on these important questions, we have provided you with summary document where you can read all of the responses to Question 11, where 830 folks were kind enough to share their concerns and thoughts about selling, finding a new home, moving and downsizing. We urge you to read them – these real world experiences have some wonderful insights and great pieces of wisdom!
Survey results show Topretirements members are much more mobile than typical retirees
In the survey we ran last week 48% of respondents “definitely” plan on moving to a different home for retirement. Asked about their intentions about selling the home they live in now, 68% have either already sold it or are definitely putting in the market. There was strong interest in moving out of state, where they hope to find a smaller home that offers lower maintenance and does not cost as much as their current one. These responses by Topretirements visitors are much different than what we see in the general population – you are much more interested in moving than other folks. For example, when we provided 10 choices to describe their future residential plans in retirement, the most frequent choice was to “move out of state”. This itch to move contrasts to a recent AARP survey, where 90% of people over 65 want to remain in their own homes and community as long as possible. In some ways these differences makes sense, as this website is all about providing resources to find the best places to retire; your community has a strong interest in moving.
Plans for retirement living
It’s clear – Topretirements visitors plan on finding greener pastures for retirement living. Only a small percentage plan on staying put. A small but significant number of folks intend to have 2 homes for retirement.
Definitely plan on moving
Likely will move
Likely will not move
Definitely won’t move
What about your pre-retirement home?
About three-quarters of respondents have sold their pre-retirement home, have it on the market, or are thinking about selling it. Of those who chose “other option”, many are considering renting it out or letting relatives stay there.
Have already sold it
Have it on the market
Thinking about selling it
Definitely will stay here
Probably will stay here
Is this a good time to sell your home
If you need any corroboration that the U.S. housing market is improving, just check out the optimism expressed in these survey results: 44% believe that it is either definitely or probably a good time to sell their homes. There was a significant number of folks who believe that the market might be better in a few years.
Do you think you will spend more or less on your retirement home than what you get (got) for your old home?
We were interested in these results, which show that a sizable portion of retirees plan on using some of the equity they realize from their existing homes to improve their retirement lifestyle. A much smaller percentage plans on spending more on a retirement home than the value of their existing home. Many of the people choosing Other say they intend the proceeds to rent, while others hope to retire debt. At least one unfortunate person commented: “what money, (with the mortgage) our house is underwater”.
Will spend less
Will spend about the same
Will spend more
What are your plans for your next home?
For this question people were permitted to make more than one choice from the list. This is how the various choices stacked up, with moving out of state and to a lower maintenance home topping the list. By a large margin Topretirements visitors are interested in moving to a smaller, less expensive, and lower maintenance home in a different state (our previous polls indicate that Sunbelt states are most popular for retirement).
Move to another state
Nicer than current
State of your downsizing
We wanted to see from this question how well our visitors and members are doing at downsizing. The answer – you are making a start at it, with 33% either having completed their downsizing or making good progress on it. There were 43 “Other” comments on this question, mostly having to do with “I wish I had started earlier” or “I am moving to a bigger home so don’t need to”. Some couples indicated that one spouse wants to downsize but the other doesn’t! But our favorite comment was: “Write plan now, setting month by month goals”.
Made a start
Haven’t started/no intention
You are pretty definite on this question – most of you will hire a national or local mover, rather than do it yourself. Write in comments mentioned that many will either not have anything to move, or will move everything but the big stuff themselves.
Hire national moving company
Local moving company
Do it yourself
How much stuff will you move?
It appears that most people will be moving a lot of stuff when they move to their new home for retirement. Many are undecided, saying that they want to know what they are moving to before they decide. Others are having a hard time deciding what to keep and what to toss.
Will move 50% or more
Less than 50%
Will move everything
Will move nothing
Concerns, expectations, and experiences with selling your home, downsizing, and moving.
Thanks to all 830 of you who were generous enough to share your insights and experiences on this question – the quality of the thoughts are amazing! Since we don’t have room to provide more than the briefest sample of those comments, here is a link to a selling-downsizing-moving-1, which we recommend reading. Ipad and Iphone users, you might want to Selling-Downsizing-Moving comments – Aug13-pdf (you will have to zoom in to read the small type). Of course we also invite you to comment at the bottom of this article too.
Here are some comments among the themes we asked about:
Selling your home
– Pick a realtor carefully, one with a track record in your neighborhood
– Unfortunately the market is stronger where we want to buy
– Used a staging agent and sold our house in 3 days!
Finding a new community
– You are giving this question a lot of thought, evaluating the type of home and community carefully
– Many people are having a hard time finding a new home they can afford and feel comfortable with
– Do your due diligence! Don’t trust what any builder tells you – inspect it yourself
– I wish I had rented first
– Finding a one story house in this area is difficult
Downsizing and getting rid of stuff
– This is a challenging process. It takes time, and couples don’t always agree. Children don’t always want what you thought they would. The emotional element is big
– Many people gave away many of their belongings to Goodwill and other charitable organizations, gave it to relatives, sold on ebay and craigslist, put it out on the street (where it disappeared quickly!), and the dump as last resort
– Put everything in 4 piles. And if you don’t wear it or use it in 12 months, out it goes
– Hate the thought of moving, but look forward to getting there
– Worried about the expense
– I used my local handyman and his crew to move me from Alexandria to Williamsburg, VA…trying to save money. Big mistake! More work and cost me about the same if not more. Find a reputable moving company and don’t cheap out!
Bottom line: Great job everyone – each and every one of your votes and comments is greatly appreciated!
Comments: Please share your comments about these topics below.
More Topretirements Surveys:
Florida Top Choice for Snowbirds, But Many Migration Paths Lead to Happiness
Spousal Compatibility, Areas of Incompatibility, and Predictions of Retirement Happiness
Florida and Southeast Top Your “Where to Retire” Preferences
Topretirements Members Report High Degrees of Spousal Compatibility- 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
This is a link to your suggestions about future article topics.