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Should You Sell Your Home When You Retire?

Should You Sell Your Home When You Retire?

Retirement is the gateway to the golden years. Most of us can’t wait to get there and are busy making plans for that exciting time. One question that often comes up during the planning phase is whether to sell your home when retiring. Benefits include lower costs for a smaller home, less maintenance and upkeep to rent rather than own, and reduced taxes and insurance if you buy a smaller place unless the property is more valuable. While the decision is individualized based on personal circumstances, the following may be helpful in considering this important lifestyle step.

Family Size

Much depends on who will be sharing the living space. A spouse, dependent children, or live-in aging parents will need to be considered in the downsizing decision. Even if the kids are grown, you may continue to need plenty of living area if you plan to care for grandchildren. Hosting parties or family gatherings is another consideration. Although you could meet at someone else’s house or at a public venue like a restaurant if your new residence is too small, this is something to think about before deciding whether to move.


If your current home has an attached garage, a main floor laundry room, and comfortable living space, you may not want to move to another place that lacks these amenities. Owning your own home with a private yard and parking area is usually preferable to listening to neighbors squabble and competing for the best parking spots in the adjacent lot. Moving to a new neighborhood is an adjustment, as well, especially if you go from rural to suburban, or suburban to urban, and from a farmhouse to a penthouse. Nearby supermarkets and other shopping areas should also be considered. The transition can be made, but it is worth preparing for to do it well.

Health and Safety

Moving to a lower-income area may entail greater risk of becoming a crime victim through assault or robbery. Look for a community that is secure and relatively crime-free. It is also important to consider factors like air pollution or traffic noise, as well as closeness of the housing units, to maintain your personal privacy, comfort, and well-being. If you plan to walk outdoors for exercise in a new area, you will want to find a level walking area that is safe. Find out where the nearest urgent care center and hospital are located in case they are needed.


Most of us prefer to live among like-minded individuals, especially as we age. However, it can be socially stimulating to move to a new area where people are different from us and each other. In addition to friends and social activities you already enjoy, check out the neighbors and available social venues to see if there are any of interest. Decide if friends and family will be able to easily drive to your new location for visits and holidays.

Retirement brings many wonderful opportunities to try new things and even embrace a whole new lifestyle. Selling your current home for another one, usually a smaller one due to a change in income following retirement, requires thought and care. Before listing your home on the market, decide whether you can comfortably adjust to the many changes that will come with apartment living or moving to a smaller home possibly in a different community.


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