As a mid-to-late life homebuyer who is ready to change one’s lifestyle or downsize, finding your retirement home will be different than your previous homebuying experiences. This time, you’ll be looking for a home with a shifted focus on what features you find important. The home you buy needs to meet all your current and, more importantly, your future needs. Use these tips when house hunting for a retirement home.
Location: While previously a significant factor when purchasing a home, this time the location of your home needs to be top priority. Take into consideration that driving may not always be an option or even desirable. You’ll want to choose a place that allows you to easily access all the essential places you care about. Your hobbies and interests, such as the beach, golf courses, pools, etc., should be close and have a minimal commute. Cities have public transportation which allows residents to not even need a car. If your friends and family live in rural areas, perhaps moving closer to them might be another option to avoid commuting.
Single-story Homes: If you are thinking about downsizing, now is the time. A single-story home is ideal for older homebuyers. Eventually, going up and down stairs will become troublesome, and there is always the possibility of needing to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. Stairs, even just a few, can make getting around your home more difficult. If you’d like to buy a two-story home, consider having the master bedroom on the first floor. The rooms upstairs can be used for grandchildren or guests. Whichever way you decide to go, plan for the house that will be best for you later, not just what works for you right now.
Space: Luckily, space is a popular feature in many new homes so it shouldn’t be hard to find. “Open” room concept homes allow for your kitchen, living and dining rooms to flow together. You’ll have less clutter and easier navigation. You should also keep an eye out for larger bathrooms and entryways. More importantly, look for extra-wide hallways and doorways. These will accommodate wheelchairs/walkers and you won’t have to avoid or move around tight spots.
Important Amenities: A walk/step-in shower will reduce some of the risks that accompany using a bathtub at an older age. Instead of having to step over the side of a tub, having a small step or no step at all is much safer and wheelchair friendly. A larger shower will also come in handy if a beach seat or railing needs to be added. Ramps into your home are not only a wheelchair/walker friendly accommodation, but removes the risk of falling from carrying anything up or down stairs, such as groceries. Keep an eye out for kitchens with lower counters and easy to access cabinets. Use a checklist when touring to keep track of what each home has to offer.
Property: Consider a yard that will fit your needs fifteen years down the road. While you might be able to cut the grass, pick weeds, rake leaves, and shovel snow now, that might change. Paying someone to do those tasks for you will get more expensive the larger the piece of property, so factor in the additional costs when making a budget.
Pets: Your pet should absolutely go with you wherever you move, however, some places might have specific pet policies. Be sure to check for any restrictions before deciding on a home, especially if you’re thinking about a retirement community or condo. If you are considering a new home in a multiple story building, be prepared to take your pet on an elevator.
When preparing to take the next step for your future keep some of these ideas in mind. Homebuying is exciting but can be stressful, especially if this is going to be your retirement home. Knowing what to look for and expect will help ease your mind. Thinking ahead by choosing a home that will meet both your current and future needs will save you time, money, and stress down the road. If you’re thinking about a new construction home, you can use these tips as a guide when thinking about layout and design. Here are some additional items to consider if you are a single homebuyer.
If you have any questions or want more information about the homebuying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the process, click here to get started!