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Moving to New Home Later in Life: Things to Consider

By Peter Keers September 18, 2023 Lifestyle

In my prior blogs for this series, I covered the motivations for moving in your later years and making the big decision of whether to find a new home.

If you’ve made the decision to move after soul-searching and research, you have a few more questions to consider:

  • Will you move close to your current home or not?
  • Will you downsize, upsize or look for the same amount of space?
  • Will you buy or rent?
  • Will this be a second home?
  • Have you thought about time-shares or fractional ownership?

Moving Close by or Further Away

No matter how far you move, much work is involved. However, the further you move, the greater the effort in terms of cost, time and stress.

Moving close to your current home allows you to keep some of your established patterns. For example, you’ll still be close to friends and family. You may also continue to use your current doctor and other service providers.

Many moving companies say relocating even 50-100 miles away would still be considered a local move. Going over 100 miles away or over a state line is considered a long-distance move involving more planning, higher costs, and extra time.

Downsize? Upsize? Stay the Same?

Most moves later in life will probably motivate a need to downsize. Empty nesters often realize they have excess space and a lot of “stuff” they could live without. Downsizing will be covered in greater detail in a future blog in this series.

Some older adults choose to upsize when they move. In a 2019 survey by the Del Webb company, 22% of respondents said they planned to expand the square footage in their next home. Typical reasons for this are moving up to a long-desired dream home, adding living space for aging parents or having ample accommodations for visitors.

Some move to a new home with the same square footage. Both downsizers and “stay-the-samers” need to carefully assess what will fit into the new space. Take measurements of the new home to determine if all your belongings will fit.

Buying or Renting?

There are several issues to think about when considering the question of buying or renting in retirement.

Ownership has several advantages including ownership of an asset, tax benefits and not being at the whim of a landlord. The downsides of owning include housing market fluctuations and costs for maintenance, insurance and property taxes.

On the other hand, renting has the advantages of flexibility, cash liquidity and no maintenance and tax costs. However, the landlord typically builds these costs into the monthly rent. The negatives of renting are lack of home equity, few tax breaks and being at the mercy of the landlord.

Ultimately, the decision to buy versus rent depends on your particular circumstances. Weighing the pros and cons of each will help in making the best choice for your unique situation.

New Home = Second Home?

Perhaps your new home will be a second home. Here, too, the buy versus rent decision must be analyzed. It’s important to be brutally honest about your financial ability to afford two homes since it means doubling the cost of ownership. The last thing you’ll want to do is risk your retirement nest egg.

Perhaps you intend to buy a second home and earn extra income via short-term renting like an Airbnb. This decision is not trivial decision since the option involves significant costs and effort.

Rather than buying, renting a second home might make more sense for some people. Despite the downsides of renting (e.g. – having a bad landlord), the flexibility afforded by this arrangement may drive the decision. Sometimes, moving to a new location results in some unexpected negatives. In these cases, the ability to change to a new situation at the end of the lease could be a lifesaver.

Timeshares Versus Fractional Ownership

Another alternative for a new home could be a timeshare or its cousin, fractional ownership.

In most of these cases, you keep your existing home but put money toward an arrangement where you live elsewhere part-time. This may be a good option for those who can’t afford to purchase a second home outright but still want to have a nice “getaway” for part of the year.

One way to do this is via a timeshare. A timeshare revolves around the idea of “divided use rights” in which you have the right to be on the property during a specific time period. Timeshares have a bad reputation because of the high-pressure tactics sometimes used to sell them and some buyers’ difficulty in exiting their contracts. Nevertheless, for decades, many people have enjoyed the timeshare lifestyle.

An alternative to timeshares is fractional ownership in which multiple buyers own a fractional share of an actual real estate asset that can be sold or inherited. Like a timeshare, the arrangement allows each owner to live in the property for a specified period of time each year.

Unlike timeshares, many fractional ownership contracts allow owners to rent out part or all of their share time. Also, while timeshares are notoriously difficult to sell at a decent price, fractional ownership shares have an underlying real estate asset, making them easier to sell.

If you are considering moving to a new residence in your later years, carefully research all the options. Doing so will help increase the prospects for many happy years in your new home.

To learn more about finding your new home later in life, check out my eBook at Living50+.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you considering moving? Would you downsize, upsize or stay the same? Do you think moving to a location within 100 miles of your current home is a good alternative? Where would you move if you could do it right away?

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N stautz

Im a snowbird. I would choose Houston Tx.

Sheila Etheridge

My husband will be retiring in 22mos. We can’t wait to leave the area/state we are living in. He will be 65 and I and 68. Moving back up north and close to the oldest daughter. My youngest will then move to be by both of us. I can hardly wait. Started looking at houses this year, and will get real serious the spring next year. Our house now is about 1800sf so we probably won’t go any different…want a a bit more land tho. Did I say—I can’t wait !!!!

Ciara Roots

I’ll be moving back north within 6 months. I also can’t wait to get out of the south and back to family and friends. Wishing you much success on your move!


I’m planning to sell my large (2300 sq. ft.) home in the East San Francisco Bay Area. My husband and I bought it in 1987 and we accumulated so much “stuff” over the years. He passed away almost two years ago and I no longer feel comfortable here. Possessions that I once enjoyed are now a big burden. I want to get rid of 75% of them and embrace a minimalist life. I would like to move to a much smaller single story home in Marin County (North Bay Area) or somewhere near the coast. Both locations are within 50 miles from where I live now.

Lisa Stege

After retiring four years ago and moving to a great property where I could keep my horses, I am now deciding to downsize, property-wise, into a 55+ community and board my horses. As a single woman, I find that the maintenance of my present property is excessive in expense and also time-consuming. Since I am in a different state now, I have also come to the conclusion that I will meet more people in the new (nearby) location.

Susan Rainney

I am 70 years old and moved for the first time in 20 years last February. I lived in an ever-growing suburb of Atlanta that had gotten far too congested and crowded for me. I had a 5 bedroom, 3000 sq. ft home. My Husband and I no longer had extended family living with us and rarely ever went upstairs any more. Sale prices in my neighborhood were skyrocketing and it was a Seller’s Market. But mostly, I moved because for 8 years I had longed to find a Cottage in a meadow, in the Country. My new Cottage is perfect and perfectly beautiful. I feel like a little girl with a brand new dollhouse! No more worries about the ever growing list of replacements and maintenance on a 20 year old home, i.e., new roof, new windows, aging siding, etc. My Cottage is 40 miles from my old home. Now I am located between my adult granddaughter and adult daughter, each being about 20 minutes away. I still have 4 bedrooms and 3 baths so it is perfect and I love it! It was a big job, but luckily everything went very quickly and we’ve been here now for seven months.

The Author

Peter Keers is a writer and video blogger focusing on topics for the over-50 audience. Defining himself as a curious seeker, Peter’s interests range across both the art and the science of living an authentic and fulfilling life in the 21st century. See Peter’s eBooks on travel, long-term care, Medicare and other topics at

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