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Sell the house upon retirement?

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  • Sell the house upon retirement?

    As some of you know, I am throttling back the work thing, hoping to glide into an early retirement, at least from the traditional medical practice, in the near future. My daughter just started high school (my Senior son will be off to college next fall), and I am increasingly enamored of the idea to sell the house and downsize to an apartment (or rent someone's condo or townhome) in my hometown initially, perhaps to be closer to one of the kids down the road. I am 51, and my 52 year old wife plans to work at least until my daughter finishes high school but maybe not much longer.

    These are some of my perceived advantages:

    1. Financial--I think that if I sold my house, I could use the proceeds to live in a nice apartment for the rest of my life. With the additional money that it takes to currently maintain my house (taxes, insurance, upkeep, broken this or that, utilities, etc.), I could...

    2. Travel (!)--I figure that with just the money I would spend on the upkeep of my house, I could easily spend a month in an apartment in Europe, Colorado or Utah, and Misc, every year. That is three months away, every year. Sounds wonderful!

    3. Downsize of the "stuff"--I have often said that we should move out of our house, every 3-5 years, and move back in, just to get rid of the crap that we do not have the energy or motivation to discard. I detest the clutter and long for a minimalist lifestyle. I am far from it. ?  I sometimes feel that I am a slave to the house and the stuff it contains. Have you ever calculated how much of your salary is spent to support your actual home?

    4. Sense of Impermanence-- At one time, it was important to me to "put down some roots", become part of a physical community, own land, be locked into a job and lifestyle, etc. Now, not so much. I do not intend to live (long) out of a backpack, but I do like the idea of being more loosely attached, freewheeling, and spontaneous. This arrangement could allow my vagabond spirit to soar.

    Or should I just go back to work. ?

     

  • #2
    I would make sure your kids and wife on board -- especially if you are selling the childhood home. Selling a home that gets rid of "their room" can have the perceived effect of making them feel unwelcome.

    Your plan suits me just fine though.

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    • #3
      I see the beauty of the idea.  I toy with the idea of selling the house too.  I absolutely hate home maintenance.  I changed a flapper valve on a toilet this week and killed a copperhead that had gotten into my house somehow.  If I lived in an apartment I could call a maintenance man.

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      • #4




        I changed a flapper valve on a toilet this week and killed a copperhead that had gotten into my house somehow.
        Click to expand...


        I salute you. It would take a lot for me to ever be comfortable in a house that a copperhead could get into.
        Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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        • #5
          One issue is that while you won't pay directly to maintain an apartment or condo, many places I've looked at in cities have pretty steep building fees for maintaining common areas and common utilities. Way more than I currently spend in HOA fees. So when I did some basic math I wasn't too impressed that I would save much if anything at all.

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          • #6
            Vagabond MD, your dream sounds exciting but huge changes are usually best handled gradually. What would you do with the kids' stuff - store it? Would they have bedrooms in the apartment? Is Mrs. Vagabond on board with minimalizing? If so, would it be possible to reduce all of the possessions first? i.e. live in a house with a lot less "stuff", perhaps enough just to fit in the apartment you envision? Then to rent an apartment for 6 months and either let your house out via VRBO or airbnb or just leave it vacant for your experiment? If you and Mrs. V and the young Vagabonds are still on board, pull the trigger and sell.

            As usual, I'll fall back on the plan - a financial plan would help you think through the positives and negatives of your goals, but also enable you to turn the maybe's and what if's into tangible possibilities. Much better than building a plan on hope and then realizing - too late - all of the nuances you didn't take into account.
            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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            • #7
              I am at the same place as my kids are out of the house but do come back to visit often. I over the idea of no longer keeping up the house. We are fortunate that our home has increased in value quite a bit so we could invest at least 50% of the sale proceeds if we want to buy a place closer to the city and use it as a base for travel, work etc. We are in he process of getting rid of much of our stuff in preparation for a move.

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              • #8
                I lived in an apartment for 9 years before I got a house. I was single at that time and there were a few advantages but overall I would not go back to an apartment.

                Music in the evening - the next door guy comes knocking because his child could not sleep ( and it was in low volume mode). Can't put DISH antenna on the balcony. In spite of warnings Saturday night revelers coming back late with their car stereos blaring. Maint sup not as prompt as promised. And so on.

                Other than security issues while we travel for 2-3 weeks the advantages of owning a house outweigh an apartment or condo in my case. Having a good handy man on standby helps.

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                • #9
                  If I had a large house I could see downsizing or moving to a condo in a more accessible area. I'd be worried about renting though - who wants to be kicked out of their apartment at 80 and forced to move? Or deal with lousy neighbors or bad landlords at 50? Would you really need that money to travel?

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                  • #10
                    That sounds like a nice plan, as long as everyone is on board with it, and I plan on doing something similar when I'm at that stage in my life as well.  My in-laws did something similar recently, while waiting until well after college to downsize, and I think it's been nice for them: lower costs, simpler lifestyle, better location, etc.  I think it was a little difficult emotionally at first, and it's slightly less convenient for us to visit now since we don't have a place to stay, but I think it's still well worth it for the in-laws and us kids will just deal with it.

                    As someone who has lived in a SFH and apartment, both owning and renting, I can see both sides of the argument and for every con someone gives about renting or apartment living, I can find a similar con to owning and SFH.  While I am currently renting an apartment, I'm not opposed to owning either, it just depends on the circumstances and numbers.

                     

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                    • #11
                      Sorry for disappearing and not responding for a few days.

                      Yes, the family will have to be on board. I have a few years to get my wife used to the idea.

                      I think the numbers work out pretty well. If I cash in the house ($900k, net after sale), I could use the proceeds to live in a nice 3BR apartment that caters to adults in the $2500-3000/month range for the next 25-30 years--and it does not have to be in the same location (community, city, state, or even country). I can then use the tax/insurance/maintenance money ($30-40K) to live three months each year elsewhere.

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