Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Redefining Retirment and Housing Options

As many boomers, such as my husband, are approaching retirement, so many choices need to be made! How many of us really prepare for retirement? How many husbands and wives have had the discussion about what they expect in retirement? I think you would find that husbands and wives, (or life partners) have totally different expectations of what they want retirment to look like! I know that my husband and I haven't talked a lot about it. I think guys just don't talk a lot to start with because it is their nature to do something where it's a woman's nature to talk about it, a lot, make plans, etc!

A few things we have discovered over the past two years, in preparing for this day: 1. You really need to have your financial plan in order. We have worked very hard to put as much in our retirement funds as possible, have sought professional advice on the decision to take early retirement and what we will do to make up for the loss of income. 2. We have a plan, although pretty sketchy, on what his new role will be (yes, he is very brave as he is joining my team!) 3. We have bought two retirement properties that are also income producing - so we have fun places to go that aren't too far away and yet because we are both still working, they are in areas that rent well.

As a REALTOR, I know that listening to my client as they approach home buying and retirement at the same time is crucial. Helping guide them on buying the home of their dreams, or downsizing here in our area so that they have adequate funds to buy a retirement property in a different area.

AND speaking of buying in a different area - if you are thinking of buying retirement property in a different area here are some more suggestions: 1. Rent a property there during the worst time of the year - how about Florida in July and August, or Canada in January and February!!! 2. If you are considering purchasing real estate in a foreign country, you need to truly understand the laws on home ownership and your money. In some countries the only way to purchase is to give your money to an attorney who then purchases the property for you....and you had better know this person VERY well and have total TRUST!! 3. Is the community an open one who will welcome newcomers - or is it a place where people have lived all their lives and you will be an outsider 4. Will your friends and family want to visit you in this new location or will you have to travel to see them. 5. Will this new property appreciate in value so that when it's time for a move to a retirement facility you will have the money you need.

Retirement can be exciting! As much as I first rejected the idea of my husband taking early retirement, now I can see the benefits! Life is too short! If we like to go hiking and traveling, then we need to do that now while we are physically able to do so! If you like spending time with the grandchildren as an active adult and bond with them while they are small, then now is the time!

Make your plans and live your dreams today!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Great Real Estate Market? Time to Buy a Vacation Home!!

While the rest of the country is confused about where the real estate market is headed, here in Louisiana we are still forging ahead. It's interesting that historically when the rest of the country was experiencing unprecedented appreciation, our market would be just the opposite. It's nice to be the opposite of rest of the country now as our average sales price continues to increase. Of course, with that we are also experiencing a shortage of inventory in different segments of our market. Gone are the days when you can find a $100,000 home in many areas of Baton Rouge.

With interest rates continuing to remain around 6%, it is still such an excellent time to purchase. With that in mind, maybe it's time to think about buying that vacation home! We were fortunate enough to purchase a condo on the Diversion Canal two years ago and although it's only 40 minutes from our home, it feels like we have really gone on vacation - and yet it is close enough that we can run down anytime.

A vacation home doesn't have to be an expensive condo in Gulf Shores (although that is a GREAT idea!) but someplace you can get away and relax. St Francisville, any waterfront area from the Tickfaw to False River to the Diversion Canal - we have plenty of choices. Think about how you would enjoy a lazy weekend and seek out those places. You know you can always count on us to help you shop!