A Guide to Buying a Home for Older Adults

Retirement


Perhaps you thought you’d be settled into a paid-off home by the time you retired, but the truth is, many adults choose to buy a new home in their senior years. Whether purchasing your first home, downsizing to a smaller dwelling, or shopping for a home suited to aging in place, buying a house as a senior requires some special considerations. This guide will help you make a smart purchase that serves you for years to come.

 

Searching for a Home

Unless you plan to move again, you need a home that’s just as livable in 30 years as it is today. That means you must account for the ways your health and mobility will change with age. Even if you’re in great health now, be conservative and purchase a home you can live in even if you become disabled. If you unexpectedly become injured or seriously ill and you don’t have a safe place to live, you’re likely to end up in a nursing home.

 

A home that’s suitable for aging in place should have a master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, with an exception for homes with elevators. There should be parking near a main entrance with no stairs between the parking space and the front door. Ample natural lighting is ideal, as are hard floors and low-pile carpeting. Plush floors pose trip and fall hazards to seniors with mobility challenges.

 

While it’s tempting to move to a more rural location to save on housing, consider that you may lose the ability to drive in old age. By opting for a centrally located home instead, you can walk and take public transit if you’re unable to drive, which can reduce the likelihood of social isolation.

 

It’s true that centrally located homes tend to be more expensive. Do your research so you understand average prices in your area and what you can afford. In the town of Lutz, Florida, the average sale price for a home is $280,000. However, buying in the heart of town doesn’t have to mean exceeding your budget. For a more affordable home, look into smaller houses as well as condos and townhomes. Not only is a downsized home more affordable, it’s also easier to upkeep as you age.

Financing a Home

If you’re selling a house and downsizing, you may be able to use the proceeds of your home sale to purchase a new home or put a large down payment on a home. However, that’s not possible — or the best option — for all seniors.

 

As the New York Times explains, “An increasing number of older Americans prefer to have a mortgage. They may have the means to buy with cash but choose instead to take advantage of prevailing low interest rates and tax breaks, while freeing up their savings for other uses.”

 

If you do apply for a mortgage, know you’ll need the stable monthly income to back it up. Social Security payments, pensions and investments can count toward your income. If you’ll have adult children or other family cohabiting with you, you can include their income when qualifying for a HomeReady mortgage with Fannie Mae.

 

If leaving a home to your children isn’t a priority, consider a reverse mortgage for purchase, or HECM. This program lets older adults purchase a home without monthly mortgage payments, but it requires a sizable down payment. Kiplinger explains the HECM program in detail.

Finding Help

Many seniors feel that purchasing a home late in life is more complicated than when they were younger. Thankfully, there are professionals trained specifically to assist senior homebuyers. For help finding a home, seek a real estate agent who specializes in working with seniors. You should also seek a mortgage originator experienced with mortgage programs like HECM and the mortgage approval process for seniors on a fixed income.

 

Doing your own research before buying a home is important. However, seniors shouldn’t underestimate the value of hiring the right experts to help them find and finance a home. Once you know what you want in your future home, reach out for help navigating this often-confusing process.

 

This post was written by our guest author Hazel Bridges of AgingWellness.org Ms. Bridges is the creator of AgingWellness.org, which aims to provide health and wellness resources for aging seniors.

Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

Tips and To Dos When Moving Into Your New Home

New Home Buyers

 

 

You just closed on your new home. Congratulations! Now what?

 

After going through the long and often arduous process of  buying your new home you might want to unpack and unwind. We get it. The Orlicki Group helps hundreds of buyers finance homes every year. We understand what the mortgage process and home buying experience is like. Before you kick your feet up, give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy your home and knock a few things off your to do list right away. We’ve broken the list up into a few categories so you can tackle them in stages.

 

1. CLEANING

When our buyers move into a home most of the time the house has been prepped and staged for sale which is a great start. Some of the areas that really need to be cleaned may have been overlooked so now is a great time to get personal with your new house.

First thing to look at is all the filters that might have been ignored. Get to know what sizes you need for any water or air filtration systems and order some new ones and make a list of the types and where to buy so you don’t have to scramble down the road. To start clean all your water spouts and check all water system filters and aeration filters. Next take a look at the air filters, ducts and kitchen hood if you have one. Dig into the dryer vent and clear out all the lint you can.

After the minor details are completed and you’ve kicked up all that dust give the house a deep cleaning. Before you stack in all the furniture it’s much easier to clean, scrub and dust all the nooks and crannies. You never know what might have been missed or ignored when the home was being polished for sale.

 

2. SERVICES

Moving into a new area can be difficult. You’re starting a new life including replacing all those contractors and services you were utilizing in your old town. If you’re lucky enough to have moved in the same area you can skip this step or take a few minutes and double check you have the best options available. Your realtor, mortgage professional, and local insurance agent are great places to ask for referrals. If you’re moving into a condo make sure you get the information for any on-site maintenance personnel should you need them.

Make a list of a services or contractor for anything you might need in case of an emergency or a quick fix. Plumbers, electricians, landscapers, and other handymen are usually much easier to get a hold of and get to your home if you know them ahead of time.

Find out who the best local businesses are while you’re at it. Get suggestions for your gym, dry cleaner, tailor, grocery store and niche places. It’s great to browse around online but better to get the inside scoop from someone who’s been living there for a while.

 

3. SAFETY / SECURITY

Your new home might already be in great shape, safe and secure but best not to leave anything to chance. Change all exterior locks and check to make sure all windows are secure when closed and locked. Update any security system passwords and access codes.

Change any smoke detectors if they appear to be more than 10 years old. If they are newer replace all the batteries. Double check the date on the fire extinguisher and if needed purchase a new one. If you upsized into a larger home pick up a set to place in key areas of access.

 

4. MEET AND GREET

Now that you’re done getting your house clean, safe, secure and you know the best places to go now’s a great time to get settled in and meet your neighbors. Walk around your neighborhood in the evening and do some old fashioned door knocking. Even better, plan a party in your new house and have everyone come to you. Getting along with and knowing your neighbors is a key asset to enjoying your new home.

 

We’re always looking to help buyers who are looking for an easy, enjoyable and affordable mortgage experience. Our service doesn’t end when you close on your home though. The Orlicki Group prides itself in taking care of our clients. If you could benefit from an amazing mortgage experience contact us today to get started or fill out our quick quote form and we’ll get back to you right away.