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House & Home

5 Steps to Get Your Home Ready for Retirement

Getting your home ready for retirement is as much a part of retirement planning as your investment portfolio! A comfortable and functional home will support your retirement goals by reducing your risk for injuries and keeping you healthy and active.

As part of your pre-retirement plan, you may be considering a major remodel while you still have disposable income. However, remodeling a home with the intention of living there as long as possible means you have to pay special attention to certain aspects of the remodeling process and home design.

These 5 steps will help you get started.

couple looking at plans to get home ready for retirement

Step 1: Assess Your Home

The first step is to find out what you need. Two national organizations have created guidelines to help you get your home ready for retirement. The National Association of Home Builders published the Aging in Place Checklist as a do-it-yourself assessment. However, The Living in Place Institute (LIPI) trains professionals to perform home assessments and make recommendations for homeowners. LIPI has a searchable database to find credentialed professionals. Either way, assessment is a vital first step to complete for starting any remodeling project.

Step 2: Determine the Scope and Scale of Your Projects

Once you have performed the assessment, you may have a long “to-do” list. Some projects may be small, inexpensive stand-alone projects. However, you may find that two rooms dominate your list: the kitchen and bathroom. Some kitchen and bath projects, like improving lighting or switching out hardware can be done as stand-alone projects, but others may require major remodeling. If a major remodel is warranted, then group all of the projects for the kitchen or bath and tackle them together.

Step 3: Set Priorities

I always have my clients give me their top three “must-haves” and their top three “must-nots” for each project. Setting priorities like this will help you create spaces that you will love for many years and help you view the project as an investment in your future.

I recommend that you spend no less than one month evaluating your current spaces. Keep a notebook handy and jot down the things you love about the space, the things you dislike, and the things that would make the space outstanding for you.

couple looking out window in home ready for retirement

Step 4: Realistic Investment

When done well, kitchen and bath remodels should last you many years. If you plan to live in your home throughout retirement and want your home to continue to support your comfort and lifestyle, you have to think of remodeling as an investment.

I find that many homeowners select an arbitrary number as a project budget without researching actual costs. This causes major sticker shock when estimates are given.

Before you decide on how much to invest in a remodel, you need to know typical project costs. You can use sites like Houzz to review images and costs of projects similar in scope and style to your own. Numerous other websites will give you ranges for project costs, but nothing compares to inviting professionals to your home to provide estimates based on your priorities.

Step 5: Find Qualified & Credentialed Professionals

Finally, it is important to use professionals that are qualified and credentialed. Beyond appropriate licensure and insurance, look for professionals that have either CAPS or CLIPP credentials. This means that they will be familiar with designing and implementing solutions that will get your home ready for retirement and support you for many years!

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