Renting in retirement: What you should consider

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Retirement brings a big lifestyle change, and retirees deserve a home that will reflect and support this new chapter in their lives. Whether they want to downsize, have easy access to shopping and dining or a built-in sense of community, renting offers retirees a flexible and convenient way to live.

Here are some considerations for retirees exploring rental options:

Many seniors today are opting to work beyond their 67th birthday, necessitating a home that will transition into their next life stage when they’re ready to fully retire.

Renting offers retirees an opportunity to downsize. Retirees might not need a large house with additional bedrooms and living spaces for children or growing families. The upkeep for a larger home could also be tedious and unnecessarily time-consuming. Alternatively, renting gives seniors the option to find a smaller home, which could provide savings on heating and cooling costs.

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Retirees can also find a place that will better transition with them as they age — something their current home might not offer. Many senior apartment communities offer one-level spaces with “aging in place features,” such as handrails and walk-in showers, which may otherwise be costly to install.

Without the long-term commitment of a mortgage keeping them in one spot, retirees can more easily explore new neighborhoods or cities that they’re interested in. They can also relocate without the stress of selling a home if they decide to move near family and friends, or to an assisted-living community later in life.

Retirement is a time to unwind and prioritize what’s important. Apartment living makes this easier by taking out the need for property maintenance, from lawn care and snow shoveling to household repairs. Renting not only removes the physical demands of these tasks but also gives back time and money that can be better spent on traveling, family, leisure and other joys of retirement.

Renting also offers retirees security. Neighbors and community staff are close enough to keep an eye out and can alert others to health or safety emergencies. Having a close community to rely on helps set renters’ minds — and those of friends and family — at ease.

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Apartment communities also offer tailored amenities, such as community rooms and outdoor spaces, allowing residents to be active without having to travel far from their front door. For retirees who like to be out and about — or just don’t want to venture far for shopping and dining — there’s the option to pick a community with easy access to retail and entertainment.

Renting comes with the added benefit of a built-in community, offering opportunities to socialize. With the ability to make friends and explore new hobbies, retirees can stay connected and feel a strong sense of involvement and belonging.

Retirement is an important chapter in life as transitions and new possibilities take center stage. The vast benefits of rental housing can help retirees make the most of this hard-earned time.

Robert Pinnegar is the president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, based in Arlington, Va.

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