Seven Steps To Preparing Your Home For Low Maintenance Retirement Living

Posted on: 3 March 2015

Are you planning to retire within the next five years? If so, and you plan to remain in your current home once you retire, then now is the best time to consider taking care of any renovations that the home may need. Doing them now will allow you to fit this cost into your current budget and keep that expense from eating into your retirement savings. It will also reduce the risk of having to deal with heating repairs or other expensive maintenance issues after you retire. As a bonus, taking care of the following seven big-ticket maintenance issues before you retire will help ensure your home is in peak condition, in case your plans change and you decide to sell it and retire elsewhere. 

One: The Roof

If the roof has less than ten years of service left in it, you should consider having it replaced within the five year span before you retire. If the current roof is made of composite shingles, consider opting to go with a roofing material that has a much longer lifespan, such as architectural shingles or even a metal roofing product that has a lifespan of three or more decades. 

Two: The Plumbing

While the home plumbing system can last for many years with only minor issues, older homes may still have some clay sewer tiles or cast iron pipes that may already be near the end of their life span. In addition, many homes have had their plumbing systems modified and expanded through the years. When this happens, there can be a maze of many different types of pipes and fittings. Since plumbing repairs can be expensive, opt to have them checked and upgraded before retirement. 

Three: The Electrical System

Like the plumbing system, the electrical system in most homes can remain serviceable for decades. However, if you have experienced any electrical issues while living in the home, such as circuit breakers flipping or sockets that no longer work, or your home has ever suffered a fire or been struck by lightening, your electrical system may need to be repaired or updated to ensure it is safe for decades to come. 

Four: Insulation 

One of the first signs that your insulation could use a boost is noticing that your heating and cooling bills are higher than other homes near you that are the same age and style as your home. Have an energy audit performed on your home to show you where the biggest heat loss problems are located. Energy audits are usually available through your local utility company, or feel free to ask your professional heating and cooling contractor for a recommendation. Add extra insulation to any areas of the home that demonstrate heat loss, particularly in the attic and exterior walls, to help you create a more comfortable home and enjoy lower future heating and cooling bills during your retirement years.

Five: The Exterior

If the exterior of your home must be painted or stained periodically, now is the time to consider having vinyl siding installed to eliminate this cost. Even if you do the painting or staining yourself, the cost of the supplies and the risk of potential injuries from climbing around on ladders can be difficult to bear during retirement. 

Six: The Windows

Replacing your old windows before you retire is a key part of ensuring your comfort for years to come. Older windows often lose their seal and become cloudy or refuse to open and close properly. In addition, many older windows are hard to secure, and as their wooden frames become decayed or worn, insects are often able to use them as entry points into the home. If your current windows are older than a decade or you are not satisfied with their performance, changing them out before retirement is the right choice.

Seven: The Heating and Cooling System

Replacing an aging HVAC system is a significant expense that could really strain your retirement budget. If your current system is more than ten years of age, or it does not seem to be doing a good job of keeping your home comfortable, have it evaluated by a competent heating and cooling contractor in your area. This is especially important if the home has been enlarged or the home's floor plan has been changed. Systems that are older or not sized properly must operate more frequently to try and bring the temperature up. This means they will burn more fuel and age faster. Having your heating and cooling system evaluated for replacement before you retire is the best way to ensure that your retirement budget will not be wrecked by the expense of emergency HVAC repairs. Click here to find out more about getting your HVAC system serviced. 

By taking care of these seven issues now, you'll be able to fully enjoy your retirement years without major home maintenance worries.