If you are like the 84,000 retirees that are looking for a sunny place to retire to and you are headed to Florida, there are a few things you want to consider before you start downsizing. For most retirees, downsizing is not just about clearing the clutter and moving into a smaller home, it is about cutting expenses.
Florida has a much lower cost of living than say NYC, where the average cost of a condo in Manhattan can be $1.9 million. However, to get the most bang for your buck, you will need to do a little planning, and know what to look for in your new home.
These Three Bills Rack Up the Expenses
If you are downsizing to fit into a new budget bracket, there are three major monthly expenses that everyone has to deal with. Energy bills, household expenses like food, cable, and maintenance, groceries. At a minimum, the foregoing is your basic bills.
Before you buy that house in Florida to downsize too, make sure that you are looking at the energy costs of the home, the upkeep of the home, and the location of the home, and here is why:
Energy bills can consume a full 30% of your income if you are not careful about what type of home you buy. It is far better to pay a little more for a home with a new hot water heater and other appliances that are energy efficient. The Department of Energy estimates that about 18% of your energy bill goes to heating hot water. A new water heater can make a tremendous difference in operating costs.
When you are evaluating your options and you have to choose between a house with a new roof and one with an old roof, take the house with the new roof. Why? A new roof has a life span of up to 30 years, which means you will not have to worry about roofing issues in the future.
Location, Location, Location
Real estate experts will tell you that location is one of the most important things when buying a home, and it is true. You want to choose a location that is conveniently located near grocery stores, shops, medical centers, and other things you will need in life. Why? The less you have to travel, the more you can save. The cost of gas is always on the upswing. Insurance companies have started giving refunds to those that travel less and are at less risk of an accident. It is cost-saving to live somewhere that is conveniently located.
A little pre-planning can really pay off if you are downsizing to Florida, not only for the great weather and a change of scenery but if you are looking for ways to save on costs as well.
Prepare Yourself For Lifestyle Changes
If you are downsizing your house size, be prepared to change your lifestyle a bit. We all accumulate things that we think we need that we rarely ever use. Downsizing may mean having to get rid of those things that we thought we needed but barely use.
If you are attached to many of the things that you own and getting rid of them will be just to stressful, consider buying a home in Florida that has some extra storage space like a shed or other separate storage. This can give you the extra room you need without having to pay the price for a house with more square footage.
Downsizing can be a great way to take the stress out of your life so you can really enjoy your golden years. Enjoy the move to Florida.