Problem: Waiting for retirement to build your retirement home delays your enjoyment and could put a strain on your finances. Also, once you retire, you don’t want to wait a year or two to move into your new home or, worse, move into a rental as an intermediate step.
Solution: Build your home now and use it as a second home or rental until you can move in full time.
• Second homes are big with boomers, especially those nearing retirement age. Waiting until retirement not only could become a financial burden when you’re on a fixed income, but also could pose a physical challenge if you intend doing a significant amount of the work yourself.
• Plus, the older you are, the less time you’ll have to use the home.
• Also, on a fixed income, finding financing might be trickier if you need a loan. Right now you’re probably at or near your peak earning years.
• Finding a place. If you want to use your pre-retirement home as a weekend home now, you’re limited to 2-3 hours drive. After retirement, you’ll be living there full time.
• Caution: No matter where you move, your lifestyle won’t likely change. You may spend more time on things you already enjoy and wish you had more time for, but you’re probably not going to embark on a whole new lifestyle.
• What’s involved setting up a rental? A website and an agent who’ll not only handle all arrangements, but also make sure your place is cleaned after use. Agent can also make sure your rates are realistic and that you offer appropriate amenities (no phones or TV might sound inviting to someone looking for an escape, but most people want other-than-spartan getaway—as will you when you use the place). Your goal is not to have to worry about anything.
• Furnishing. Install quality fixtures that you won’t likely need to replace in retirement. But if using your log home as a rental, choose intermediate level furnishings and fixtures with the intention of replacing them once you move there. Again, you have your primary residence to store heirlooms, antiques and other treasures, rather than subject them to renters’ abuse. Another option is to secure an unfinished basement for storage that renters can’t access.
• If you’re near water, buy a canoe or kayak. Nearby outfitters usually have seasonal close-outs of dinged-up aluminum canoes, very cheap.
• Best thing about a log home: It can withstand wear and tear, even from children and pets (if you allow them).
• Design: downsize (unless you expect lots of visits from family and friends) and incorporate universal design features to prolong your enjoyment of the home and to make it comfortable for guests. But, upsize storage for life’s treasures you’ve accumulated.