Reaching the end of your career brings many big decisions. One of those is where to live. Will you stay in your family home, or relocate? While moving might be a stress you are not interested in, now your working life is over, there are advantages to downsizing, or relocating to a quieter community. Here are some factors to consider.

House prices

Retirement usually means less income. So it makes sense that retirees seek a lower cost of living.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data show that regional areas like Queenscliffe on the Victorian coast have the largest percentage of over 65s in Australia. In fact, the top 50 spots for retirees are out of the main cities.

Median house prices are lower outside the capital cities, so to keep your costs down, think about relocating to a regional area.

Community

House prices aren’t the only factor to consider when relocating. Many of us seek a strong, safe community when we retire. And no wonder, as research has long found that strong social bonds lead to longer lifespan, better health and more happiness.

When looking at where to relocate, consider community infrastructure for retirees. Are health services easy to access? Is it easy to move around the community? Are there relevant activities and interest groups on offer? Are there other retirees in the community?

You might consider relocating to an area where you already have an established network of friends or family, who will be there to support you, as you grow older.

Suitability

Once you have landed on a general destination, you will need to find a suitable home. Price is one factor, but also consider the size and suitability of the property.

If it is just you, or you and your partner, you are unlikely to need a very large place. Smaller houses and apartments, while less expensive, are also easier to clean and maintain.

Consider buying into an apartment block or a retirement village, which has a body corporate or management, who will oversee maintenance.

Also look at purchasing a house you will be able to access as you get older. Stairs, steep gardens, steep driveways and slippery floors can become a hazard, so they are best avoided when looking at a home for retirement.

Do your research, and get advice

Moving at any stage of our lives is a big deal, but the stakes are higher when you finish your working life. You need to feel confident that relocation is the right decision for you. Doing your research means you are more likely to identify hidden costs of relocating, like insurance and moving costs. Thorough research means you are more likely to make the right decision.

Seek guidance from a professional to support you to make the right decision. Speak to your mortgage broker today about your options, before making the leap.