Are you planning to purchase a home to live in during your retirement? If so, you're not alone. But deciding where to move and how to find the right home can be daunting. How can you know what the right house is when planning this big change? Here are 4 tips for any retiree looking for real estate.
It's a common misconception that retirees should automatically downsize their homes when they plan for retirement. While it's true that some do so for financial or health reasons, it's not for everyone. Before assuming you want to reduce your home size, consider your actual lifestyle. If you entertain often, host visitors or family or have a home business or hobby, you may want to keep your home well-sized. Deciding not to downsize doesn't necessarily mean you can't simplify the house in other ways -- such as changing from a two-story home to a ranch style.
Plan for the Future
While you may not have any mobility issues at the moment, it's good to plan ahead a little. Look for an open floor plan that offers easy accessibility, with wide corridors, doorways and traffic areas. A single-level home is usually a given for seniors, although that may also have stairs entering and exiting the home. If it's likely that other family members may wind up living with you, it's a good idea to plan for this in advance by including sufficient guest space or an extra bathroom.
Focus on Location
Finding a home that fits your needs can often be easier than finding the right location. Think about what your priorities are when it comes to things like climate, living close to family members, access to a lively community social life and health care facilities. Traditional retirement locations like Florida may not be right for those who have never lived nearby. Before choosing a living area, be sure to spend some time in the region during different times of the year, assess the amenities and work with a real estate agent to understand the current availability of real estate for sale as well as whether the market is growing for resale purposes.
When choosing both a location and the actual house, be aware of the maintenance requirements. Rural areas may offer peace and quiet, but they tend to come with a lot of outdoor work that needs done regularly. Similarly, older homes that might seem more in your budget can sometimes need a lot of updating or maintenance and repair. Purchasing a slightly smaller home or one that needs some adjusting to your needs might be a better choice than a larger -- but older -- one. If you expect to travel a lot or spend time on other hobbies, a condo might be a good choice to keep things low stress.
By knowing what to look for when it comes to choosing the best retirement house, you can make a decision that you will love for years to come.