Vital Things for Seniors to Consider When Shopping Around for a New Home
With the right choices, many seniors can live safely and independently in their own homes for the rest of their lives. This is known as aging in place and is become a popular alternative to assisted living communities and retirement homes. For many seniors, the key to being able to do this is finding the right home – both in terms of size and accessibility. If you’re looking to buy a new home in your senior years, here are some vital things to consider.
What modifications will you need/want to take on
When searching for the right home, you must consider your own disabilities, mobility issues, or health concerns. This will play a large role in the type of house you should buy and how move-in-ready it is from day one. Some home modifications are fairly simple and inexpensive – like installing grab bars and handrails or laying down non-slip flooring or coverings – so you don’t necessarily have to buy a house that’s already equipped with them.
Some home modifications can be a real burden – both on your time and your wallet. If you use a wheelchair, for example, you should think about how accessible any home you’re contemplating really is. Are the doors wide enough? Does it have an open floor plan? Knocking out walls (especially load-bearing ones) can get expensive and troublesome. Are all the essential rooms of the house accessible to you? Would you need to install major ramps or lifts inside or outside the property? If you have a lot of modification needs you may need to look for a home that is already fairly accessible.
And if you choose to buy an older home, make sure you check for some of the major pitfalls.
How much upkeep can you reasonably handle?
As a senior, you may have mobility issues or you may be completely mobile. How much upkeep are you willing to deal with in a new home? There’s a good chance that you’re downsizing from a larger home (one of the main draws of moving as we age), and if that’s the case you don’t want a lateral move that gives you just as much upkeep as the house you’re moving out of. Do what you can to get your downsizing and decluttering done before you choose a new home, so that you’ll know exactly how much space you need.
Don’t just think about square footage. Remember to consider the outdoor area. Maybe you want to maintain a small backyard garden, but can you really handle the stress of maintaining a large yard? If not, do you have the extra money to pay someone to do it?
How mobile will you (continue to) be?
As a senior buying a new home to age in place in, the goal is to live the rest of your life in said home. It follows that you would want to strongly consider the rest of your life when determining the house that’s right for you. Sure, you may be nearly 100% mobile now and may still be driving, but will you be in 5 or 10 years?
It may be smart for the location of the home to play just a big a role in your decision as any other factor. Is it close to things you want to be close to like friends and family, your church, your volunteer work, a grocery store/pharmacy, and your doctor’s office? Before purchasing a new home, make sure to research the prices of homes in your area. According to Redfin, the median listing price for a house in Washington, DC, is $600,000.
When buying a home as a senior you should look to the future. A good home to age in place it will not strain you – either physically or financially – in the upkeep, will be close to many things that are important in your life and will be most accessible from day one.