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Retirees weigh up renovation vs relocation

By Mike Wheatley | April 20, 2015

The decision on whether to renovate or relocate in retirement can be complex and emotional. A recent report revealed that as people edge towards retirement age, the more they value the emotional connection to their home rather than the financial value.


Image credit: Werner22Brigitte via


The Merrill Lynch and Age Wave report asked 3,600 people if they planned to stay in their homes after retirement. 36 percent of those surveyed said that they would. Most respondents planned to stay put because they felt a strong connection to their home and their neighborhood, and had relatives and friends living in the area. This echoes a recent report from Bankrate that showed as people approach retirement age, they become less enthusiastic about relocating.

Reports have shown a lack of affordable housing options for baby boomers, and a lack of overall housing inventory remains a problem in many areas of the country. These factors, paired with an emotional attachment to a home, means many close to retirement age are choosing to stay put and renovate their homes. The remodeling industry is seeing an increase in business, though many nearing retirement age are choosing to focus on small remodeling projects.

Still, the decision to remodel can be stressful and emotional, so experts suggest a disciplined approach.

"Write down your wish list," says Kevin Anundson, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. "Decide how much you want to spend and see how far down [on the list] you can get. Pretend like you've got all the money in the world," he adds. "How would you change your house? That really frees up the mental limits you put on yourself."

After meeting with remodeling experts, architects, real estate pros, and financial advisors, these remodeling guidelines should be considered:

  • Think about how long you plan to stay in the home and spend the money that's comfortable to continue to enjoy living there.
  • Consider the potential consequences of the remodeling plan, so remodelers don't have to go back and fix previous jobs.
  • Talk to a local real estate professional who knows the neighborhood and can advise on features that are currently in demand for potential buyers.
  • Focus on features that will improve the curb appeal and the overall value of the home.
Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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