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The cost of moving: Seniors can save by downsizing in-state

Older folks can save money by downsizing their homes and moving nearby.

Older folks can save money by downsizing their homes and moving nearby.

For decades, seniors have traditionally moved to sunny locales like Florida to bask in the warmth of a hard-earned retirement. But while the Sunshine State is still a popular destination for the older generation, today's seniors have expanded their moving options.

Twenty years ago, roughly 25 percent of seniors who moved out of state after retirement set their sites on Florida. But the Urban Institute finds that nowadays, that number has fallen to one in seven, Reuters reports. In recent years, Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas and Phoenix have picked up their fair share of grey haired residents.

Although more seniors are relocating to these diverse urban areas, many still stay close to their original homes. Only 1.6 percent of older folks who move after retirement wind up leaving their home states, according to Reuters.

Being near family is one of the most common reasons for seniors to move, but one study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that most people live within 25 miles of their mothers to begin with. If that's the case, then many seniors don't have much reason to move too far away.

Unless it's for the money.

Once the kids have moved away, many older adults don't feel as though they need all the extra space that was once occupied by the rest of the family. Seniors can save a significant amount of money on mortgage payments, bills and property taxes by simply downsizing their homes. Some can even turn a profit on the sale of their current home.

Selling a larger home in an affluent suburb of Chicago where median home prices hover around $542,000 and moving just 40 miles to where homes are closer to $205,800 could net a savvy senior homeseller more than $336,000, Reuters suggests. Taxes from one county to the next can also be significantly lower.

The cost of hiring a moving company to shift seniors' many belongings from one town to the next is also much lower than moving state to state. Still, it's always a good idea to shop around and see which moving companies have the most affordable rates on vans, movers and moving containers.

Seniors tend to acquire a sizable amount of knick-knacks over the years, and not everything will fit into a smaller house. Giving some of the more valuable, sentimental items to children or other family members will help create heirlooms for future generations. The rest could be sold at a rummage sale, which would put a little bit of extra spending money in seniors' pockets before the big move.