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How To Search for My Retirement Dream House

How To Search for My Retirement Dream House

Retirement is one of the most anticipated seasons of a person’s life. You work so hard for forty or fifty years for the opportunity to finally pursue your own passions and hobbies. It is the time you finally can devote each day to your partner and family. You can rest, relax, and pass the career baton to someone younger.

One of the aspects of retirement people look forward to is moving into their dream house. You may have had literal dreams about the home in which you will spend your golden years. However, if you want to live the dream, you need to begin preparing in advance. 


The process of searching for your retirement dream home begins years before you are ready to move in. In this guide, we are breaking down what you need to know about how to search for the place you will call home during your retirement. 

search within your budget

1) Make Sure Your Search Is Within Your Budget 

When it is time to begin your search in earnest, you do not want to have your hands tied by your budget. It is important to think about what you want in your house years in advance. Your retirement dream house budget should include:

  • A down payment of at least 20% is preferable. If you can have a down payment of at least this, you can likely avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance) and secure a more reasonable interest rate.
  • Enough income to not overextend your ability to pay for your existing residence retirement dream house. Housing should account for no more than 28% of your monthly income. Do not take on a second mortgage if it is going to add financial stress at the end of your career.
  • Room for repairs and maintenance. If you buy an existing house, you may have some repairs to make or a complete renovation project to take on before you can move in. With new construction, you won’t have to make repairs or replace appliances any time soon, but you will still need to be prepared for general maintenance. 
  • Closing and moving costs. Do not forget to factor closing costs into your budget. Furthermore, you must remember that moving can be costly. From hiring movers to decoration and furnishing your new home, you should make sure there is room in your budget for relocating to your retirement dream home. 

One of the mistakes people make when planning for their retirement future is falling in love with a house before they can afford it. Either they stretch their budget too thin by making an offer while they are still paying for their current home, or they are disappointed, feeling like they may have missed out on their retirement dream home. Make sure you are financially ready to begin your housing search.

narrow down locations

2) Narrow Down Your Locations

Have you been daydreaming about retiring to a cabin in the woods and way off the grid? Are you thinking more along the lines of living on a remote and practically inaccessible island? 

While we can’t blame you, we also know there is a good chance your partner does not share the same dream. Furthermore, we doubt your family wants to visit you so far away from civilization. It probably wouldn’t take long for you to miss the convenience of grocery stores and restaurants. 

This is the portion of life you get to break from your schedule and really spend time with family and friends. You have all the time in the world to enjoy the company of your significant other. You want to choose a retirement destination that facilitates your desires. 

Here are some of the criteria you should consider:

  • Choose a location that is close enough for your friends and family to visit. 
  • Choose a location with access to an international airport if you plan to travel during retirement. 
  • Choose a location that has the entertainment and restaurant you and your partner will enjoy. 
  • Choose a location with the geographical and natural beauty you and your significant other are looking for. 
  • Choose a location that caters to the hobbies you enjoy or in which you will engage in the future. 
  • Choose a location that is quiet enough to relax, but close enough to the amenities you need. 

There are several places that can check the boxes you want in your next home. Realstar Homes has been building quality houses on the Carolina coast for decades. Myrtle Beach has an abundance of amenities, including:

  • Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Restaurants and entertainment on the Grand Strand 
  • Dozens of world-class golf courses
  • Tennis, parasailing, disc golf, and many other outdoor hobbies 
  • Biking and walking trails 
  • Premium shopping and many retail centers
  • Beautiful white sand beaches

Searching for your retirement dream house in or near Myrtle Beach is a great idea. Realstar Homes would be happy to help you find the house of your retirement dreams. 

plan for what you need want

3) Remember To Plan for What You Need and Want

Your retirement dream home should include everything you have always wished you had in your current house. Before you can bring your search, you and your partner should develop lists of necessities and desires, wants, and non-negotiables. Some of what you want, and need could change over time. You must do your best to predict the future regarding what you might need in the future.

Examples of non-negotiables include:

  • First-floor master suite so you do not and will not have to negotiate stairs as often 
  • One or two-car garage to protect your vehicle 
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate your family and guests 
  • The general location in which you want to live 
  • Access to healthcare 
  • Having a yard versus low maintenance, depending on your preference
  • Kitchen size and amenities 
  • ADA compliance

Examples of wants and desires include:

  • A pool on the property or in the community
  • A screened-in porch, deck, or patio
  • A bonus room or workspace 
  • The size of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Extra storage

Ultimately, you and your significant other are the only ones who can determine what your wants and needs are when it comes to searching for your retirement dream house. One of the ways you can help ensure you have your necessities and desires is by building your future home. 

build or renovate

4) Determine Whether To Build or Renovate

There are two options for how to find your retirement dream house. You can purchase an existing residence or build it exactly how you dreamed. 

Pros and Cons of Buying an Existing House:


  • You know the house was constructed well enough to withstand a few years of weather.
  • You at least should have a history and records of repairs and maintenance. 
  • You know what you are getting yourself into.
  • If you enjoy renovating homes, you may have a great project. 


  • You could end up in a bidding war for an existing home.
  • You may have to do more renovation than you would like.
  • You will almost certainly have to compromise on something you really want in your retirement dream home.
  • You may find yourself looking at the right house and wrong location and vice-versa.

Pros and Cons of Building Your Retirement Dream Home:


  • Everything about your home is brand new, so you should have years before you must replace major appliances.
  • You have the advantage of knowing you are the only people to have ever lived in your home.
  • Your builder will likely offer options for customizing your home to meet your needs and desires.
  • You have a better opportunity to find the things you need in new construction.


  • You must wait until construction is completed to move in. 
  • You will need to make sure you work with a reputable developer.
  • You could be overwhelmed by customization choices. 
  • If you don’t work with a developer in a community, you may have to find land and ensure a complicated process.

If you are going to build the house of your dreams for retirement, you can avoid a lot of hassle by searching for developers who build pre-planned communities. In addition to handling housing plans that suit your needs without an overwhelming list of choices, they will likely have models through which you can walk. Many of these communities will have excellent neighborhood amenities as well. 

If you are planning ahead for your retirement dream house, the impact of waiting during construction will be minimal. Then, when it’s all completed, you get the benefit of knowing you have something that is truly your own.

solid reputation

5) Choose a Home Builder With a Solid Reputation

Many people choose to build their retirement dream house. If you choose new construction, it is vital to make sure you work with a reputable local builder. Here are a few tips for how to find the right builder if you are not local:

  • Search for builders online. You might compile a list of several local companies.
  • Read reviews of those builders on their websites, on Google, and in real estate directories.
  • Ask friends and relatives who are in the area if they have any recommendations.
  • Visit the area and ask around for recommendations. You might use your list and ask about specific builders.
  • Ask real estate agents with whom they prefer to work.
  • Find out who built homes in neighborhoods where property values are increasing.
  • Talk to some builders and gauge who had the best customer service.
  • Learn all you can about the process for local builders. Choose a company that has the process you can trust.

If you are considering retiring in the coastal Carolinas, Realstar Homes has an impeccable reputation for building the highest quality homes. Our builders have a combined 75 years of experience developing communities and building homes in the Myrtle Beach area and beyond. We would love to talk to you more about how to make your retirement dream become a reality. We have an excellent reputation, and you can find our communities throughout southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina. 

We carefully guide each customer throughout the entire homebuilding process, from well before construction commences until long after move-in day. We are committed to providing the highest level of customer service possible. If you are ready to tour one of our beautiful, well-constructed homes, contact the team here at Realstar Homes

Want to read more? Check out our article, Everything You Need To Know About Building a New Home.