Photo Credit: Pavlofox, Pixabay
The decision to buy a new home as a senior can be based on a variety of factors. You may wish to downsize. Maybe you’ve weighed the costs for maintenance and utilities in your mortgage-free home against a new home that is free of additional costs, and it just makes sense. No matter your reason, you need to prepare yourself for finding the best home and location, as well as any financial issues you may encounter.
When you’re looking at communities, make sure they align with your needs and lifestyle, suggests NewHomeSource. If you like to walk, look for sidewalks and low traffic. If driving is an issue, ensure public transportation is available. If you like socialization, look for a neighborhood with a recreational center.
When you’re looking at houses, consider that you may need accommodations as you age and become less mobile. Aim to find a home with a zero-step entrance and a garage so that you’re protected from any inclement weather. In case you ever need to use a wheelchair or walker, your new home should have wide hallways and doorways, as well as an open floor plan. At least one bathroom should be generously spacious and feature a walk-in shower that is curbless. Raised vanities are a nice addition, but grab bars are essential.
Although one-level homes are ideal, two-story homes can work too, as long as the main floor features a bedroom and bathroom. This will be crucial if you ever reach a point when you couldn’t walk up the stairs. Wheelchair or walker usage aren’t the only reasons stairs can be an issue; even a bad back or fatigue can make stairs difficult to climb. Senior safety is greatly increased if the home has ample lighting. Lever door handles are easier to open, and electrical outlets installed an additional six inches off the floor are easier to access.
Before purchasing a new home, determine how long you expect to live there, suggests Consumer Reports. The less time you plan to stay, the less financial sense it makes to purchase a new home as a senior. Consumer Reports recommends only buying if you plan to stay more than four years; otherwise, you should rent.
It would be great if you were able to sell your current home and use the money to move into your new home mortgage-free. However, this isn’t the reality for a lot of people. And, even if it were, it isn’t necessarily the best route. Consumer Reports states, “the opportunity cost could be greater if you tie up money in a home rather than taking out a mortgage.” Although you could use all of your cash to pay for the house upfront, you can also pay a down payment and mortgage the house and then invest the remaining money into stocks and bonds.
Don’t reach any decisions without speaking with an accountant or financial advisor. Additionally, you should check with a lawyer or a trusted real estate professional before making any commitments. The best thing to do is to be as financially prepared as possible.
Whenever you’re ready to pack up and move to your new home, don’t put yourself at risk of an injury. Instead, hire a professional mover. They can pack for you, move everything from your old house to the moving truck to the new house, as well as drive the moving truck. They also have the correct equipment for moving big items, and they protect/insure your items. Hiring a professional can help you get into your new home more quickly and safely.
Guest Post by Author: Jim Vogel from ElderAction