You’re finally almost there. You’ve been saving for retirement for years, diligently putting money aside so you can enjoy some time outside the 9 to 5 grind. Perhaps you’ve decided you want to see the world—lucky you! While you could do this and hold on to your home, many people decide to become untethered and enjoy the nomad lifestyle for a year or two (if not forever!). What should you do with your home when you retire early and want to travel? This is likely just one of the many questions you have on your post-retirement lifestyle. Read on for some helpful ideas.
Try a House Swap
If you’ve seen the movie The Holiday, you know how idyllic this can be. And while movies do romanticize things, it really can be a great option for people whose homes work for this and who are okay with other people living in their space. The greater your house and location is, the great your opportunities abroad will be, but some people actually do prefer the small city pace. Don’t rule yourself out just because you live in a sleepy town. Travel guru Rick Steves recommends using companies like HomeExchange, HomeLink, and Intervac Home Exchange.
Hopefully you’re a detail-oriented person, as you need to be extremely sure of the details before leaving. Nail down arrangements such as where the key will be (perhaps use a lock box), how to use appliances and computer (if you’re allowing this), phone and Internet charges/exchanges, and where your car key is and how to use it if that’s part of your exchange. As Steves notes, “Veteran house swappers report that by the time these logistics are all worked out, it usually feels less like you’ll be swapping with strangers, and more like you’ve made a new, conveniently located friend.” Most house swaps take place for a week or two but, perhaps, if you find someone who is retiring early just like you, you can arrange longer stays!
Sell Your Home
You might want to be as free as a bird during your travels instead of having to arrange someone to housesit for you for long periods of time. The best way to do this is to sell your home, and hopefully you can do so during a buyers’ market. If you have the luxury of time, you might want to give yourself a challenge and sell it yourself. A real estate agent is usually recommended but if you feel confident in your own abilities and know a lot about the business, why not give it a try? You’ll need to price your home to sell, get it listed on the MLS, market your home with things like open houses, show your house, and perform your own negotiations.
If you’re in the opposite situation and are itching to leave the country quickly, consider a company like WeBuyHousesDenver.co. They will buy your house in any condition, pay cash, and close within days if you’d like. It sounds too good to be true but it’s not! In fact, there are no inspections, no hidden fees, and no commissions taken, so companies like this remove any of the home buying hassles. They will even handle the paperwork. They’ll make you an offer and you can either accept it or reject it—it’s as simple as that. Imagine getting out of your home without any showings or repairs. It’s more time for you to be planning your big adventure.
Consider Renting Or Subletting
If you want to hold onto your home base while you travel, renting it out is a good option, especially if you plan on being gone for long periods of time. Of course, you need to weigh the risks vs. the rewards, as you are opening your home up to strangers. Of course, if you know any friends or family that might want to rent your home, that is ideal. Start by emailing them, as perhaps they’re not all aware of your travel plans. If that doesn’t work out and do you ultimately rent to a stranger, make it official. Get a signed rental agreement, references, and a security deposit. You’ll also want to assign someone who will be in the area to stand in as a temporary landlord for you should things arise while you travel.
You’ve earned this travel; so don’t let your house arrangements stand in the way. Once you’ve done one of the things we’ve recommended, you’re free to fly!