As humans, we are pretty interesting creatures. We start out without the ability to do much for ourselves, and as we age, we become more and more independent. However, when getting older, we will likely return to a need for other people to care for us.
Buying a home as you age follows a similar evolution. Often, we get married and buy a “starter” house or a smaller home. Then, as our family grows and our income grows, we invest in a larger home. After several years the kids leave the home and it’s just two people sharing a four-bedroom home.
Often, when couples reach the point of becoming empty-nesters, they are faced with the decision to keep the home they raised a family in or sell it and downsize to something smaller. It’s a very emotional decision, but it also allows for many possibilities.
If you’ve reached this point in your life, you may be wondering what type of home you should consider as you age. Maybe you’re ready to retire or you just want something smaller and easier to care for. Let’s look at a few of the important factors you should consider when buying a home in your 50s, 60s, or 70s.
5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Home as You Age
There are many things to consider and plenty more than just five. However, when you’re ready to list your home for sale and find a new home that better suits your needs, some factors will be more important than others. Here are five important factors to consider when buying a home as you age.
One of the most exciting and most important factors to consider is the location of your home. Maybe your kids have all grown up and they have families all across the country. Do you want to live near your kids or do you want to retire to a warm climate, such as Texas or Florida?
Choosing the location you want for your new home matters most. You want to love where you live, even if it’s just down the road from your current home. Take the time to consider what you really desire out of the location of your next home as it may be the last home you ever buy.
Type of Community
Maybe you’ve always lived in a suburban community, but you desire to live downtown. For many empty-nesters and retirees, active adult communities are very desirable. Choosing the type of community matters and will determine, in some ways, your lifestyle as you age.
If you prefer to be in an active adult community with plenty of things to do, amenities, and events, choosing a popular retirement community may offer the perfect option.
Those preferring a more urban area may look into a city, such as Austin, Texas. While most retirees don’t tend to gravitate towards urban communities, this could be something you’ve always wanted to experience and the right city can make a big difference.
Once you’ve chosen the location and the type of community you prefer, you’ve solved a big part of the puzzle. Buying a home as you age starts with these two huge decisions, but the next three are also very important.
As you age, you probably won’t want to deal with as much home maintenance as you did when you were younger and had kids to help. Mowing the lawn may become more of a chore, something you really don’t want to deal with anymore or even physically limited in the later years.
Choosing the right community will determine the type of maintenance you’re responsible for. Many condo communities and active adult communities will offer low maintenance or even no maintenance options. You’ll likely pay a monthly or yearly fee, but you won’t have to worry about taking care of your lawn or any other outside maintenance.
If you choose a condo community, you won’t have a lawn to worry about. Any landscaping or common areas will be maintained for you and you will just pay a condo association fee similar to an HOA fee.
Single Story Makes Sense
For most people, as they age, going up and down steps will become more difficult. It’s possible there will be times where you cannot make it up the steps, depending on your overall health. It may be best to choose a single-story home or a condo building with an elevator. Two-story homes might be fine if they are already equipped to make getting up and down the steps easier with a chair lift.
Along with choosing a single-story home, you’ll also want to choose the right size home for your situation. If you plan to have visitors often, a three-bedroom home might make sense to give you extra space for adults and children. For many, as they age, buying a home that makes it easy for adult children with grandchildren to visit is rather important.
Take the time to consider the size home you prefer and what will fit within your budget. Having two extra bedrooms give you one for adults and one for children, which may be ideal. However, you may only want one extra bedroom for guests or you may prefer three extra bedrooms.
Some communities also offer hotels or guesthouses you can rent for guests when they visit. Consider the options available before choosing the right size home for your needs.
When you start to age, it’s important to realize it may be time to downsize to a more manageable home, especially if you own a large, two-story home. Getting a smaller home makes sense for many when they become empty-nesters or they retire. Consider the five factors above and hire a good real estate agent to help you find the perfect home, in the right location, and in the right community for your needs.