Evaluating Florida’s Real Estate Market: Should You Buy or Rent in Retirement? – Yahoo Finance

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Retiring to Florida may be a bit of a cliche, but it got that way for a reason. Several reasons, in fact, including warm weather, a lower cost of living and tax policies that are very retiree friendly.

Deciding where to retire is a big decision, but once you’ve made up your mind, you have an equally big decision: Should you buy a home or rent one?


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“Florida is thriving. The market is increasing in median sales prices and down payments, and there’s a slight decrease in the number of homes sold from bustling urban centers to serene coastal retreats,” said Dutch Mendenhall, founder of RAD Diversified REIT, a real estate investment trust based in Tampa, Florida.

Often the common wisdom is that buying is better than renting, but the truth is that each has its benefits and its drawbacks, so there’s a lot to consider when making this difficult choice.

“If you’re concerned about the pros and cons of buying or renting in Florida during your retirement,” Mendenhall said, “the only pros and cons will be action and inaction.”

Don’t let indecision paralyze you. Read on for expert insight about buying versus renting as a retiree in Florida.

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The Benefits of Renting

Chelsea Werner, a global real estate advisor at Sotheby’s International Realty, grew up in Miami.

“Being a homeowner in Florida has its share of inconveniences that someone who is retired may not want to deal with,” she said.

One of these inconveniences is insurance. While the weather in Florida is nice most of the time, it gets its share of tropical storms, something that may get worse in the future.

“A lot of insurance premiums have gone up for both flood and wind insurance due to the climate,” Werner said.

As a renter, that’s not your problem — you won’t be on the hook for any damage your rental home sustains from the weather, so all you’ll need to insure is your personal property.

In fact, being a renter frees you from most of the responsibilities homeowners face. You don’t have to worry about getting regular maintenance done or deal with the stress of fixing something that breaks or malfunctions. If a laid-back retirement is at the top of your list, this could be a huge plus for you.

There’s also a freedom that comes with not owning a home.

“Renting gives you more flexibility to try different areas and experience different types of homes — i.e., condos versus single-family homes,” Werner said.

Did you move into a house and realize you’re actually sick of doing yard work? Soon enough, your lease will be up and you can move somewhere that better suits your desired lifestyle.

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The Benefits of Buying

There are some equally compelling reasons to buy your Florida retirement home.

“Buying a home helps build equity, offers more stability and predictability in monthly payments, and you’re free to personalize and invest in your property,” Mendenhall said.

You can make updates to the home to make it your own — or increase the resale value if you should decide to sell one day. You could even rent out a room to bring in some additional income.

There are other ways buying can be helpful financially, especially if you own a home elsewhere that you plan to sell when you retire to Florida.

Werner said, “If you are able to sell your primary home in another market and purchase a new one you can take advantage of deducting capital gains taxes, which is a massive tax savings.”

Not all of the advantages of buying a home are financial. Putting down roots can be very satisfying emotionally and personally.

“Buying a retirement home can anchor you to a community, which is important if you are moving to a new place and looking to meet new people,” Werner said.

Becoming a part of a community and having an active social life is beneficial for everyone, and is something that only becomes more important as you get older.

Do What’s Right for You

As with most other major financial decisions, there’s no silver-bullet answer to the question of whether you should buy or rent when retiring in Florida, or anywhere else for that matter.

“Everyone’s motivation and lifestyle needs are different,” Werner said, “so my advice is to weigh the options meticulously, factoring in not just the market trends but also your personal aspirations and financial goals.”

At the end of the day, remember that retirement means living the life you want, and only you can make that decision.

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