Reader Question: My wife and I are getting closer to retirement, and we can go anywhere we want in the USA. We want to find the right lake or mountain home. I am looking for a single agent/source to help us find what we want anywhere in the USA. I am discovering that real estate agents operate in small territories. I don't have time to contact every agent in the USA and tell them to keep an eye out for what we want. I also don't have time to look in every area on home listing websites daily to find a lake home that's in our price range. Isn't there a company that can help people like us? More and more retirees will be like us and can go anywhere. We are just looking for the right place/home somewhere in the nation.

Monty's Answer: There is no perfect website that I am aware of that will permit you to select your new home. When I search for "best cities to retire in the USA," many sites appear. These sites have unique methodologies to arrive at their conclusions, and as a result, their selections are different. There are also websites that appear in search results that specialize in mountain home websites, or lake homes for sale in the USA. 

This is a big country

Consider making a list of your requirements over and above your base desire of lake or mountain, such as price range, how much property, near hospitals, or whatever you require, and when you can narrow it down to three or four top locations, take a rental for a week or so in those locations. Talk to people you know and respect that have retired and ask them why that chose the spot that they did. I suspect that finding the time to lay out a plan and selecting from your top choices through the process of elimination may be the best way to avoid ending up somewhere you are not happy.

More relevant advice

Here is an article about retiring that has more suggestions about steps you can take to find the right home at https://dearmonty.com/downsizing-tips-for-seniors/.

Research is your best friend when deciding where to retire, and unfortunately, it takes time. There are many articles you can find by searching for "how to decide where to retire"" that may be a good start.

Richard Montgomery is the author of "House Money - An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home." He advocates industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty, or find him at DearMonty.com.