When Should I Start Planning My Move to a 55+ Community?

A couple packs before moving to their new 55+ retirement community.

6 minute read

Answer: After selecting a 55+ community and setting a move-in date, you should start planning your move about 2-3 months before that date.

This is one question we always hear at 55places.com, “When should I start planning my move to a 55+ community?”

Once you’ve selected a 55+ community and a move-in date, the real hustle and bustle should start two or three months before that date. Still, it depends on your current lifestyle and how much personal property you need to manage for your move. A single individual in a studio apartment will spend less time packing and preparing than a couple downsizing from a six-bedroom home with a four-car garage.

Either way, this article aims to help individuals plan the move to their chosen 55+ retirement community with a reliable timeline and advice. If you’re still deciding on a location, we have plenty more resources on our blog

Moving forward, let’s assume you’ve selected your move-in date. How does one proceed from there?

Start Planning Your Move Four Months in Advance

An active adult couple planning their move into a 55+ community.

Anyone can feel overwhelmed by a move. After all, this is a significant point in your life. It’s easy to be intimidated by the task ahead. Starting at the four-month mark means you’ll have plenty of time, and you’ll feel you have control over the situation. At this point, you should:

  • Tell friends and family about your move, and find help if needed.
  • Find health care providers in your new neighborhood and add them to your insurance if needed.
  • Contact a moving company to set your date.
  • Handle any financial planning (update trusts or wills.)
  • Get ahead of asset management (find a new dock for your boat, find storage for your RV, sell extra vehicles or gift them.)
  • Put expensive jewelry in a safe deposit box.

Finally, look into some local 501(c)(3) charities that need your second-hand items. You’ll feel good about helping others in a time of need. And when you donate clothing, household goods, furniture, or food, these legitimate charities will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt

At this point, you can start unloading unnecessary items. If you feel overwhelmed, start small. Try:

  • Cleaning out your “junk drawer”
  • Clearing out a guest bathroom
  • Compiling some photo albums and contacting family to receive them
  • Make a stack of gently used towels or bedding that you intend to donate

By starting small, you’ll mentally prepare yourself for your big move and gain momentum for the task ahead.

Six to Eight Weeks Before the Move to Your 55+ Community

An active adult woman packing items as she prepares to move into a 55+ community.

It’s time to confirm your target dates with the movers and the new property. Then:

  • Pack your non-essential items, like seasonal clothing or gear for your hobbies.
  • Make inquiries about utilities at your new location. Some may require deposits. 
  • Continue donating unwanted furniture, pillows, and towels.

Be sure to label boxes clearly so you can easily unpack them. 

Four Weeks Before Your Move

A 55+ couple planning to hang poster in a room on moving day.

At this point, some people discover they need storage. Perhaps you’ve been storing a vehicle for an enlisted family member, or you’d like to keep all your tools or crafting materials for your son or daughter.

Visit a few storage facilities and choose one that seems clean, secure, and well-lit. Also, make sure they have your new billing address and contact information. If you’re storing a vehicle for someone, inform them of the new location and provide them with a key.

“Do I Need Climate-Controlled Storage?”

That depends on what you’re planning to store. Items that benefit from climate-controlled storage include:

  • Fine art
  • Antiques
  • Stamp collections
  • Family photo collections
  • Musical instruments
  • Genuine furs
  • Delicate furniture crafted of leather, wicker, or exotic woods

Pro tip: If your expensive art, jewelry, or stamp collection is insured, remember to notify your insurer about the move. Whether you’re bringing it to a new home or putting it in a climate-controlled storage unit, they need to know. They may need to write a separate “floater” for this item or add it to your new insurance policy at your new home.

Also, keep packing and labeling. By now, you should feel like a professional!

Two or Three Weeks Before the Move to Your 55+ Community

A box full of food items for a food pantry delivery.

At this stage in the process, your current home is starting to look empty. You’ve moved the fine art, sold the extra vehicles, and donated clothes and bedding. But, you’ve kept out your most essential items, like clothes, grooming items, and pots and pans.

Now, it’s time to:

  • Empty your freezer and defrost it
  • Toss outdated foods
  • Visit a food pantry if you have lots of canned goods, or give them to family

You’re almost done with prepping for the move to your 55+ community! You might feel like you’re living out of a suitcase, but this is an exciting time. 

One Week Before Your Move

Wooden blocks depicting a house and home utilities.

Contact management at the 55+ community to finalize the date. We see target dates move very rarely, but it does happen. Once you’ve confirmed the date, contact the moving company again to finalize with them. 

Wrap up any loose ends by:

  • Contacting your old utility companies and verifying a turn-off date
  • Making sure utilities are on in your new home
  • Turning in cable boxes, trash cans, recycling bins, or propane tanks

Pro tip: If you take any prescription medications, make a list of them and order refills now. After all, things can get hectic on moving day. You want to be prepared.

On Moving Day

A happy 55+ couple using a laptop and drinking wine together on moving day.

You’ve worked hard these past months. Today, it’s all about managing the moving process. Keep an eye on the movers, ensure they have solid directions and a correct address—you’d be amazed at how often there is an error with the address—and stand by.

Lastly, conduct a final walkthrough of your old home to look for forgotten items. Then, try to arrive at your new place ahead of the movers so you can oversee the unloading. 

After the Move: Settling Into Your 55+ Community

Active adult friends drinking a tea after workout activities in a park in their 55+ community.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to your new home. Once you verify all your utilities are on, it’s time to start unpacking, with essential items at the top of your list. Most people find the bathroom and kitchen most important, followed by bedding and clothing. 

Last but not least, take the time to enjoy the process. Decorate your new home any way you like. Get to know your neighbors and explore your new community. You’re going to love it here.

Discover what’s next.

To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top