Buy, Sell or Rent in Westchester County
Barbara Bartell-Kamp

Should You Rent or Sell in Retirement?


As you sit around the fireplace this winter, some of you may be thinking about where you would like to live in retirement.  I know many of discussions with friends when we get together, is whether we want to stay in Westchester County where property taxes are so high, or retire somewhere else.

One question that seems to come up is, do you want to continue owning a home and use the equity to move into a townhouse, or rent an apartment where maintenance and responsibilities are less. Depending on your financial income stream, there are several things to consider.

Some retirees do not have a mortgage, so expenses may be just the property taxes and maintenance on their own.  Depending on where you live, this may actually be less than renting a home which is a comparable size.  This is the easiest way to retire and least stressful, if you don’t mind calling all of the vendors to fix when needed!

However, if your income stream will decrease, and your savings are not going to take you out 20-30 years to maintain your lifestyle, evaluating home costs and what you can comfortably afford is wise. Here are some tings to considering when deciding to stay, downsize, or sell your home and use the equity to rent.

  1. Home values should increase average 2-3% over next few years. Property taxes in New York State should not increase more than 3% per year.  Some rents can increase an average of 5-6% or more nationwide.  Depending on your other expenses like electricity and maintenance, it may be more cost effect to stay in your home.
  2. If you own a home, unless you ell it, you know you have a stable place to live.  If you are renting a home, the hone owner can decide to sell at some point, and then you would have to move.  In some cases, some rental apartments (not that often)can decide to convert to condo or coop status and then you’d have to decide whether to buy or move.
  3. Consider your timeline.  If not paying cash for a property, it can take 3-5 years to re-coup cost of purchasing a new home
  4. Are you thinking about moving to a new city to be close to family or in a warmer climate?  In this case it is really worth renting for a year.  You may miss living back north.  Or, it gives you time to find the exact neighborhood you’d like to settle in
  5. How handy are you or want to be?  Do you want the responsibility of maintaining a home?  If not, buying a townhouse or renting a place where those responsibilities are mainly handled may be better.
  6. Privacy.  This is the one I think many people don’t think about.  After living in a home where you can play your stereo as loud as you want, and only hear people walking above you or talking, it may be a challenge to have noisy neighbors above you in an apartment or having others asking you to “play your stereo a little softer”.

So, as you ponder whether to own or rent, think about:

  1. Your income stream and what it will buy or rent you
  2. Amount of responsibility you want when retiring
  3. How much privacy you would like.

Have a great 2015.  If you have any questions relating to the buying or renting market in Westchester County, NY, don’t hesitate to text/call me at 914-523-5087 or email me at


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