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Should You Buy Your Retirement Home Before You
Today’s home prices have many soon to be retirees looking at buying retirement homes while prices
are low. Some buyers turn the home into a rental property while they’re waiting to retire. Others use
it as a second home until they make the move. Depending on your specif ic situation, this may or may
not be a good idea.
Start with your accountant and/or estate planner. They will be able to point out tax consequences
that may result f rom buying your home in another State. They may suggest whether you should pay
cash or secure a mortgage on the retirement home. Buyers approaching retirement age of ten pref er
paying cash. Not having a monthly mortgage payment is great. However, today’s interest rates are
still attractive. The mortgage interest deduction may be usef ul.
How much home you can afford and how you pay for it should be discussed with a
Where should you buy? Low taxes and warm, sunny days make Las Vegas a popular retirement
destination. Talk with your accountant about how much taxable income you expect to have af ter you
retire. Will you be making enough income to owe taxes? If so, you may want to explore NV and a
f ew other “tax f riendly” States.
Consider the climate and lifestyle. Most retirees are happy to escape cold climates. Are you
ready to escape by going to Las Vegas dry heat or do you pref er the humid air of Florida or Texas?
Do you pref er a small town atmosphere or a City with lots of entertainment?
Spend as much time exploring your new
hometown as possible bef ore you buy. Try
spending a little time there during the hottest
and coldest month of the year.
Research websites that of f er crime-mapping
tools so you can check out the area. In Las
Vegas, the Metro Police of f er this crime-
mapping tool. Websites like Zip Skinny can give
demographics and other inf o on an area.
Healthcare – Explore the number and quality of
hospitals in your new town. New apps like Zoc
Doc can help you f ind specialists who accept
your health insurance. Vets will want to explore
VA Hospitals. In Las Vegas, we have a new VA
Hospital located within minutes of Sun City Aliante. A common concern f or baby boomers is
Alzheimer’s. The Cleveland Clinic – Lou Ruvo Center f or Brain Health is devoted to Alzheimer’s, ALS,
MS and brain disease.
Should You Buy Your Retirement Home Before You Retire?
If buying your retirement home early is an option, next decision will be what to do with it bef ore you
live in it. Renting the home is an option that will help of f set expenses. If you decide to rent, f ind a
qualif ied property manager with excellent ref erences. A good property manager will screen tenants
and verif y that they have a good rental history.
If you choose not to rent the home, hiring a property management service may still be a good idea.
This is especially true if you live more than a 6-8 hour drive away. In a dry climate like Las Vegas, it’s
best to have someone go in to run water, f lush toilets, etc., at least once a month. You’ll want to
have a good landscaping and pool service company to keep things in good shape. A reputable
property management prof essional will oversee the necessities when you aren’t in town.
Smart home technology is making it much easier to keep an eye on your home while away. Control
the temperature, turn on lights and receive security alerts on your phone. Turning the lights on and
keeping the landscaping in good shape will make your home look occupied when you’re on the other
Bottomline - Most experts predict home values will continue to appreciate over coming years. A
recent Forbes Magazine article picks Las Vegas as one of the top places to invest in 2014. They
f orecast 58% growth over the next three years. The buyer who can af f ord to pick up their dream
home at $500K will be saving $290K if prices appreciate as Forbes predicts. That would cover
property taxes, monthly HOA f ees, insurance and miscellaneous expenses.
There is no guarantee. The most conservative estimate we’ve heard f or appreciation is a modest 3-
4% per year. If prices only appreciate 3-4% per year, that same home would be worth $545K to
$560K in three years. That’s more of a break-even situation. It would still of f set annual property
taxes and most expenses of owning the home.
Best reason to buy early is when you’ve found a home that fits your budget,
lifestyle and makes you want to move right in.
Debbie Drummond is a top Las Vegas Realtor. Considering buying or selling your Las Vegas home,
call (702)354-6900 or email Debbie@LVHomePro.com.