Senior Real Estate
During your senior years many things begin to change, including your living arrangements. This is a time many look to downsize their homes and look into retirement properties. Whatever the situation, there are certain things you should be aware of as you start your quest.
Things to Consider When Looking for a Retirement Home
The home you choose to live in after you retire is far different than the one you chose to raise your family. Besides the change in size (seniors typically downsize), things like a top school district, a yard to play in, and a neighborhood with kids to interact with are no longer important. That doesn’t mean any old house will do. There are still things you need to consider before deciding on a retirement home.
- Location, location, location. Even when you’re searching for a retirement home, location is key. You want to find a home that is close by to doctors you see regularly. Also, many people like to be close by to family if possible. You also want to make sure there are things to do nearby that you can get to easily if you don’t drive. These are all things to think about as you make your decision.
- Opt for Single-Level Living. As we get older, stairs are no longer our friends. While you may be able to make the stairs a few times a day now, that may not be the case down the road. Whichever retirement home you choose, try to get one that is all on one level. This will also be helpful if you have to be in a wheelchair for any reason.
- Look for wide hallways and open space. This goes back to the wheelchair accessibility factor. You need to take into account whether you’ll need a wheelchair down the road. Having a home with plenty of open space and wide hallways to navigate will help you in the end.
- Look for a step-in shower. Bathtubs are great to soak in and relax, but they can become an obstacle if you can no longer climb in. A step-in shower provides accessibility on a floor level so you simply have to walk into the shower to wash up. If the retirement home you’re considering does not have a step-in shower, you may want to consider adding one in down the road.
- Be aware of appliance height. This may not be something you immediately think about, but the height of your appliances can become a problem down the road. If you can no longer bend down to use the dishwasher or washing machine are there modifications that can be made to make it more user-friendly?
- Buy less than you can afford. When you retire, your monthly income is likely not going to change. That’s why it’s important to buy a retirement home that still leaves you with money left over at the end of the month. You never know what’s going to happen down the road. Don’t put yourself in a situation that could put you in financial stress.
You should also keep in mind that finding a retirement home doesn’t necessarily mean finding a stand-alone home you need to buy or mortgage. It can mean finding a condo or finding an apartment to rent. There are just as many options for seniors, if not more, as there are for everyone else out there who is house-hunting.
Since there are so many options it’s in your best interest to work with a real-estate agent. He or she can tell you what’s available in your price range and if it’s in your best interest to buy or rent. You don’t want to go through the process alone. You need an experienced agent who can make sure you get the best price for the home you are selling as well as the best deal for your new home.
Senior Specific Real Estate Agents
While all real estate agents can assist seniors in finding a retirement home, there are some who specifically cater to the needs of seniors.
Some are affiliated with the Seniors Real Estate Specialists program which gives realtors extra training to work with older clients. Some of the areas senior specific real estate agents can help with include:
- Reverse Mortgages
- How Medicare, Medicare, and Social Security can impact real estate decisions
- Issues when selling the family home
- Moving to a new city
Senior specific real estate agents can also help with long-term financial planning and management as well as looking at all the options that are available. Once your home is sold they can also schedule movers and any other help you may need. They can act as your point-person to make the moving process much easier.
Other Senior Living Options
For some seniors, a retirement home is not the best option. For others, a retirement community, assisted living facility or nursing care facility is more appropriate. If you are interested in learning more about any of these options, contact us. We have a team of experts who can help you find different living arrangements in your area. Let us help you find the senior living option that's best for you.