15 Best Home Styles for Retirees

Ah, retirement. That amazing time of life when you finally get to sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. But when you start thinking about your retirement years, what kind of house do you picture?

Fewer retirees are downsizing their homes like they used to, which is keeping home inventory low and prices high. But selling the family home in favor of something different has lots of benefits to retirees. For one thing, a smaller space often means greater freedom. There’s less upkeep, less stress, and sometimes you can even take your house on the go.

Unsure of your options? Read on for the best home styles for retirees who are ready to live their best life.

1. A tiny house

tiny house

A tiny house could be a smart purchase in retirement. | gimages777/iStock/Getty Images

The tiny house movement isn’t just for bearded kombucha-sipping hipsters. In fact, one study found that as many as 40% of all tiny house buyers are 50 and older.

Downsizing takes on a whole new meaning when you sell most of your worldly possessions and condense your life into a 500 square foot home. But there are some obvious upsides — they’re less expensive to buy, less costly to maintain, and there’s a coolness factor, too.

Not sure if you can swing life in a tiny house? Try renting one out for a few weeks or months before you make a permanent commitment.

Next: This house doesn’t typically stay in one place.

2. An RV


RV living offers flexibility. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Similar to a tiny house but a lot more mobile, permanent RV living is a popular lifestyle for retirees. It gives you the freedom to travel the country like you’ve always wanted, staying as long as you like in new places and even working seasonal jobs geared toward retired folks on the road. Amazon’s Camperforce caters to RV-dwelling folks, giving them a place to work and park.

Some luxury RVs are as expensive as single-family homes. But most retirees opt for living an RV life to save some money and have the adventures they never got to take while they were working.

Next: This option is like a permanent vacation.

3. A cruise ship

A senior couple looking out at the ocean

It’s possible to live a cruise life. | Yobro10/iStock/Getty Images

It’s up for debate whether or not living on a cruise ship full time is cheaper than living in a retirement home. But either way, it’s certainly more fun. With an endless amount of activities and different destinations, the cruising life can be like living in a dream, which is why a growing number of retirees are choosing to sell their homes to embark on long-term cruises.

Next: This home type is becoming more popular with retirees.

4. A rental

for rent sign

You might not want to own anymore. | ablokhin/iStock/Getty Images

After spending decades of your life building equity in a home, it may be time to sell it and move on.

Renting is becoming more and more popular with boomers as they realize the freedom that comes from short-term rentals as opposed to 30-year mortgages. Many are seeking amenity-rich buildings in good neighborhoods. With a rental, you can try out a new city for a short time and never shovel the driveway.

Next: This style of home just makes sense.

5. A ranch house

ranch house

A ranch could be best for those with mobility issues. | qingwa/iStock/Getty Images

One level living is popular with retirees who are thinking about the next stage of their lives. Typically, ranch style homes are smaller, and not having steps to climb makes life easier if mobility becomes an issue in the future.

Next: You don’t have to be a hippie to live here.

6. A communal space

seniors high-fiving

You’d always have someone to help you. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

This style home was popular in the ’60s and is starting to make a comeback. With communal living, families share a single dwelling and split up chores. Co-housing obviously costs less and has the added benefit of combating loneliness, especially for retirees who don’t have family nearby.

Next: There are so many benefits to this type of place.

7. A 55+ neighborhood

Group of seniors

You’d be surrounded by your peers. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

There are so many benefits to choosing a 55+ community — there are great amenities, you’re surrounded by peers, there are fewer maintenance concerns, and the homes are designed for older adults, so you can continue living on your own for longer.

Next: Retirement is the time for something new.

8. A new location

fishing in a river

Follow your dreams. | iStock/Getty Images

Ever dreamed of packing up everything and moving to Alaska? Retirement gives you the flexibility to finally do it. There’s no law that says you have to live in the same town forever. Take time to think about where you want to live out the next phase of your life and go for it.

Next: Joanna Gaines would approve of this option.

9. A fixer-upper

couple painting

It would give you some projects to stay busy in retirement. | gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

It may seem counter-intuitive, but studies show that seniors who remain active live longer and are less likely to become disabled. Retirement often leaves people with more time on their hands, meaning it could be the perfect time to take on a project like home renovating. Plus, there’s always a chance of selling it for a profit later.

Next: It’s all about location.

10. A big city high-rise


It would bring you closer to activities. | bluejayphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Retirees often care more about the location of where they live than the house itself. An apartment that’s within walking distance to museums, restaurants, and shops is highly desirable for boomers embarking on the next stage of life.

Next: The time for living your dream is now.

11. A vacation house

senior couple at the beach

You could finally live full time at that condo on the beach. | iStock/Getty Images

Whether it’s a condo at the beach or a rustic ranch out west, many retirees are choosing to swap out their main residences for their vacation homes. Who wouldn’t want to go on a permanent vacation?

Next: Learn a new language.

12. A foreign country

Cafe tables and chairs outside in old cozy street in the Positano town, Italy

It’s not too late to live abroad. | samael334/iStock/Getty Images

Missed your chance to live abroad? It’s not too late. Retirement is the ideal time to try out living in an Italian villa like you always dreamed of doing.

Next: You can move here at any point in life.

13. An intergenerational home

Grandparents laughing with grandchildren

Stay close to family. | iStock/Getty Images

Moving in with your kids doesn’t have to wait until your later years. Assuming you get along, early retirement can be the ideal time to think about building an in-law suite so you can stay close to the grandkids but still have your own space.

Next: The sky’s the limit.

14. A unique abode


Try a houseboat. | Akabei/iStock/Getty Images

Maybe a houseboat or a treehouse was too wild an idea for when your kids were young, but now your housing options are only limited by your imagination. Want to live in a shipping container? Hey, it’s your life. Do what you want.

Next: This one is the most cliché places of all.

15. A house in Florida

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,

Retirees move to Florida for a reason. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

Retiring and moving to Florida is a cliché for a reason. With year-round warm temperatures, reasonable taxes, and many active adult communities, Florida will always be one of the best states for retirees.

Read more: You’ll Never Guess Which State Is No. 1 on the List of Best States for Retirees

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