Want to buy a house later in life? A home buyer in their 50s, 60s, or later can enjoy the many benefits of home ownership just as much as other age groups. But for the best success, look for these five key elements when house-hunting.
1. Accessible Layout. When buying a home later in life, you do well to plan for the future. Even homeowners in good physical health today should remember that things may be getting a little more difficult in some years. Many late-life buyers look for ranch style homes with only one main level and few unnecessary elevation changes. In addition, keep an eye out for wide, easy corridors and doors, an accessible yard, and modernized amenities.
2. Budget Friendly Price. As you look at both home ownership and retirement planning, you probably shouldn't overstretch your budget. This is not a time to overspend on an 'aspirational' home to impress anyone else. This is a time to understand what you can truly afford along with other savings and investment goals and to find a home within those parameters. You'll have less stress if you do.
3. The Right Size. How large should a late-life home be? This answer is as individual as each person, of course. But many older homeowners no longer have to factor children or adult children into their home-buying plans. And they don't necessarily want to spend all their time cleaning and maintaining a large, underutilized home. But you don't need to overcompensate by purchasing a tiny home either. Look for something that will get sufficient use with just a little extra space for guests or hobbies.
4. Shorter Mortgage. While you generally are able to get the same mortgage at 70 that you could get at 30, do you really want to? Ideally, many seniors find that they don't want to worry about a mortgage throughout their retirement years. If you're in this category, something with a larger down payment and a 15 year mortgage could be the perfect compromise.
5. Walkable Communities. Mature buyers generally enjoy an open, relaxed, and 'walkable' neighborhood. For city dwellers, this might mean looking for plenty of businesses, restaurants, stores, parks, and venues within a comfortable walk. For more suburban buyers, look for a neighborhood with short, traffic-free drives to these things or a planned community with amenities built in.
If you keep these few key aspects in mind as you head out to look at homes for sale, you're sure to find the right place to meet your needs. By balancing pricing and size along with the right location, your new home will be a treasured part of the next chapters of your life.