Thriving After Retirement Means Planning Where To Live

If you’re planning on moving to Clearwater, or if you have lived here for some time but need to

make a change of address, you are in good company. Of the 100,000+ residents in town, more

than 20% are age 65 or older. Because of this high number of active seniors, there are many

living options for retirees nestled within the borders of Pinellas County. Where you choose to

live depends on several variables. Some of these are…

The current real estate climate

One factor that can’t be ignored is the current housing market. If you haven’t bought or sold in a

while, now is a great time to get to know what’s going on with local real estate. Researching the

market can give you a great idea of how much you might be able to list your home for, and how

much you’ll pay if you need to downsize. You can also find out information about how much

people typically put down in the area, and you can look up the property history of any home you

intend to purchase. In the Clearwater area, for example, homes sold on average last month for

$211, 000 with down payments around 1.2%

What you can afford

A downside to retirement is that you no longer have a steady income. A lack of funds makes it

more difficult to afford the upkeep, insurance, or a mortgage on a large home. Even a small

house in an in-demand area can command a premium, so it pays to not only be familiar with the

market but also your personal finances. Bankrate’s affordability calculator can help you narrow

down a price range. You’ll need to know your debt-to-income ratio, your household expenses,

income, and credit score. You’ll be able to get a more accurate number if you are also up-to-

date on current mortgage rates and the different types of loans available to you.

Keep in mind that affordability also plays a significant role in whether you choose to stay in your

current home and renovate or start touring assisted living or retirement community options. If

you own your home outright and it needs minimal work to make it accessible, then staying home

is an option. You should know, however, that renovations add up quickly. For example, Fixr

estimates that it costs an average of $9,000 to adapt a bathroom for a wheelchair user.

When you choose assisted living, you’ll have many options, and can expect to pay a little more

than $2,600 each month. This includes the majority of your needs — even daily assistance with

housework and running errands.

How much space you can handle

The amount of space you need is also linked to budget and accessibility. If you’re currently

living in a large three-bedroom home, you’re probably not utilizing your space as well as you

could. This means you are paying to heat, cool, and maintain square footage that never sees

the light of day.

Of course, moving into a smaller home might mean that you have to get rid of or store some of

your belongings temporarily until you can decide what to do with them. A storage unit in

Clearwater will set you back somewhere in the ballpark of $108 per month (average based on

106 facilities found on Storagescout). You need to consider this cost if your next living

accommodation hovers toward the top of your budget.

Things you enjoy

No matter where you choose to live, your interest should not take a total backseat. If you like the

beach, make sure that you are, at the very least, on a public transportation route. Fortunately,

Clearwater is fairly easy to traverse, and there are many things to do that you probably have not

done even if you’ve lived here your entire life.

You may think that you can be happy no matter where you are. In an idyllic world, this would be

true because you’d have everything you need at your fingertips. But the truth is that your mind

won’t be rested if you’re in over your head financially, are not able to enjoy your entire property,

or can’t access your favorite hobbies. Don’t jump into a decision. You have plenty of options,

and they are not going away anytime soon.