Home Buying Tips for Seniors
Some people say that moving is one of the most stressful experiences in life, but it’s often a necessary step. If you are a senior and want or need to move, you’ll want to make this detailed, complex experience as smooth and trouble-free as possible. In order to downsize, move closer to family, or just enjoy a change of scene, a well-thought-out moving plan could get you to your new living quarters easily.
Here are a few ways to plan your moving navigation:
Choose the home that will make the most sense.
This may be the time of life to enjoy a home with less maintenance, such as a condominium, a townhouse, or a gated community. However, keep in mind that properties like these often come with homeowners’ fees, where you will have to pay by the month to have certain services performed (such as landscaping and trash collection). Be sure that you allow for this in your budget, and understand exactly what you will be paying regularly, and why.
Another option is a senior living facility, often where you may only be required to rent and not buy your space. Properties like these cater to people of the same age, with activities, entertainment and lively social interaction. However, there may be large fees required upfront, so be sure to understand exactly what the deal is before you sign any papers.
Be wary of anything that sounds too good to be true.
Careful — there are many unscrupulous predators out there looking to take advantage of seniors (and get their hands on their money). Hire an attorney to look over any contracts (especially the fine print), and ask as many questions as you can. Don’t let any salesperson rush you into a decision — if the decision has to be made on the same day, the answer is no. Get second opinions from people you trust, and ask for a market analysis of the property for a realtor to analyze.
Consider your financing options.
How will you pay for your new home? If you already own a home or investment property, the cash from its sale could cover the entire cost of your new home. A conventional mortgage is a possible option; however, it may take years or even decades to pay off. If you or your spouse are a veteran, you may qualify for a VA loan.
Not all life situations are the same, so consider the best options for you. You may want to consult a financial planner, bank/lender, or trusted financial expert.
Find a trusted realtor.
You may already know a realtor you can trust, but not everybody does. One certification to consider is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), which means the realtor has completed training to help seniors like you to buy and sell property. You may also want to consider recommendations from trusted friends, neighbors and relatives, and create a list of questions to ask the realtor; for example: how long have you been in business? How many seniors have you worked with, and may I contact them?
Make a moving plan.
You may not be able to move on your own and may require assistance. If you have friends and family to help, that’s great. If not, you may want to consider a professional moving company to get the job done (and do the heavy lifting). Again, ask the people you trust for recommendations.
Moving at any age could be a stressful, exhausting and sometimes-intimidating task, but it could be especially troublesome for seniors. Having a plan in place, and going on the advice of people you trust, could make for a more seamless experience.