After the children have gone the old home may be too big. The yard may be too much to take care of. What should retired people look for under these conditions? If moving into Senior Housing is not on the immediate agenda, many people may decide to move to a smaller home or move closer to their children. But there are pitfalls in this process.
A retired couple may not care about the school system serving their neighborhood, but it could be very important when the house goes on the market again and young couples don’t want to buy because the schools have a bad reputation. Another consideration is the financial strength of the city or town they live in.
In Allentown, Pa., weak property values are starving the city of a primary source of cash. Springfield, Ill., has seen pension costs nearly triple in the past decade. Providence, R.I., raised taxes and fees and cut benefits to offset losses in state aid. Fresno, Calif., has so little available cash that officials worry one unforeseen event could reverse nascent improvements.
Living in a community that’s forced to cut back on police and fire protection may not be an attractive place to live. People in Detroit have seen property values drop so low that they many can’t sell at any price.
When buying a home, whether it’s your first or your last, keep in mind what the next buyer will consider and buy with an eye toward resale. You know that your home will go up for sale at some point and it could well be your single biggest investment. As we learned in 2008, real estate can go down as well as up in value. When buying a home always consider what the next buyer will want.