Homebuying Tips for Retirees
Buying a home is exciting at any age, but buying in retirement has its own set of challenges. Are you moving into a vibrant 55+ community that will welcome you? Do you have the amenities you want close at hand? Will your home age gracefully with you? These tips can help you make your best home-buying decision.
Buy for Your Future
No one can predict future health, and people at any age can find themselves in a home that no longer accommodates them. For retirees, there’s a greater likelihood of physical challenges in the decades to come. A home with stairs, split-level rooms and other features that you don’t notice now could become obstacles in 15 to 20 years. Falls are a real health risk for older seniors, and mobility aids such as canes or walkers are hard to maneuver through narrow doorways and halls. Look for a home that will remain fully accessible to you well into your golden years.
Get in on the Ground Floor
Single-story homes are ideal for seniors, and not just those with mobility challenges. As you grow older, groceries and laundry somehow become heavier. Carrying these items up and down stairs is an extra burden you don’t need. The homes in Kissing Tree are designed with active adult living in mind but also incorporate features that residents appreciate more as they age, including single-level construction.
Know Your Community
Home ownership is only part of the picture. Your house is part of a larger community, and you’ll want to know your neighbors. Senior living communities are a good choice for buying a home after retirement because you already have something in common with the people around you. Having a community center that features plenty of amenities is another excellent way to get to know your neighbors. Meeting on the golf course, the biergarten or the pool puts you in touch with people who have interests that match yours.
Talk with Your Partner
It’s an overlooked step, but it might be the most important one: Talk to your significant other about what you’re looking for in your retirement. You may discover he or she wants to live near the beach while you’re dreaming of somewhere in the mountains. Set aside time to have multiple discussions about what you both hope to do after retirement and how you want to achieve those goals.
Think about Transportation
Whether you enjoy driving or consider it a necessary evil, there may be a time when you no longer feel comfortable doing it. You want your 55+ community to offer ready access to amenities, including shopping, entertainment and medical care. A retirement community is one way to ensure that everything you want is nearby, but look into transportation to neighboring areas too. Being on or near major bus routes can mean the difference between seeing friends for the weekend or missing out on important social events.
Consider Your Budget
What you earn today may not be what you’re making five or ten years from now, depending on changes to tax laws, Social Security and your expenses. While it may seem like a good idea to put down a large down payment and buy more house, investing heavily could leave you with less in savings when you need it. Try to hit that sweet spot of putting enough money down to keep mortgage payments lower while still holding enough cash in reserve to give you a comfortable cushion to deal with times when your income might be lessened or interrupted.