Smart Moves: Finding top retirement property takes research

Smart Moves by Ellen James Martin: Real estate broker Ronald Phipps says you should carefully consider retirement property sites before moving.
BY ELLEN JAMES MARTIN Published: January 7, 2012
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Are you soon heading into retirement and plan to move to a distant location? If so, Ronald Phipps, a seasoned real estate broker, suggests you view any destination you're considering through a wide-angle lens.

“Making a smart strategic move means giving lots of forethought to any place where you plan to move. The right location is still the first and most important rule of real estate,” said Phipps, immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org).

Now more than ever, he urges retirees planning a home purchase to factor airport access into their selection of a community. Living within a 50- to 60-mile radius of a major airport typically means lower-cost flights and greater ease of travel, important factors for many retired people.

Moreover, he contends that buying a home in a mid- to large-sized metro area with frequent air flights gives you the best odds for future appreciation. And he believes that cities with international air service, a lure for foreign property purchasers, could be your best resale bet in the years ahead.

Besides airport access, Phipps recommends that retirees considering a long-distance move factor the availability of energy resources into their home-buying decisions.

“Capacity shortages in some parts of the U.S. are already foreshadowing rationing for water and electricity. So pay close attention to these issues before choosing where to move,” he said.

Here are a few other factors to consider in a retirement destination:

•  Factor your personal interests into any retirement purchase.

Have you been so busy during your working years that you've barely focused on how you'd like to design your retirement? If that's the case, you might consider engaging the services of a “life coach,” an adviser who could help you chart the path to greater fulfillment in retirement.

“A life coach can be a good sounding board, helping ideas bubble up in the course of the conversation,” said Sid Davis, a real estate broker and author of “A Survival Guide for Buying a Home.”

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