Buying a Home for Retirement

Buying a Home for Retirement

It’s no secret that with retirement comes a lot of change.  Whether it’s the empty nest, seeking a warmer climate, or just cutting expenses, many recent retirees find themselves in search of a new property to call home. As Arizona is a major destination for retirees, Arizona realtors particularly will help may buyers in this situation over the course of their career. If you’re thinking about relocating or selling your home to find a new one, let’s rundown a few important factors to look at when making a home purchase for retirement.

All Things Financial – Investment, Burn Rate, Upkeep:

It may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that many people will be making less money per month in retirement than when they were when they were working. If planned properly, many recent retirees should hopefully have access to a career or two’s worth or retirement savings. Likewise, they may also be selling a home that is fully paid off or has a lot of equity in it. For many people, this will be their lifetime apex of spendable cash, and even the most disciplined among us can get tempted to get carried away.

As always, buyers and the representatives should be cognizant of value trends in the area and making a good long-term investment. Getting this aspect right can obviously increase that value of the buyer’s estate.

Practical Considerations – Aging in Place

Take this from me: retirement homebuyers will be planning to age in place. If you aren’t familiar with this term, it means that they will continue to live at home even when age and infirmity makes doing this more difficult.  

Paying attention to some key factors will make it easier for you or your client to do this down the road and will potentially pay huge dividends in time, money, heartache, and safety down the road.

First, let’s take a look at this article from Freddie Mac that details the costs and potential impact of aging in place: http://www.freddiemac.com/research/insight/20170221_age_in_place.html

As detailed in the article link above, you or your client may be looking at an expenditure of between $10,000 and $30,000 to retrofit a home in order to continue to live safely. Particularly expensive are items like bathroom remodels in order to redo showers for safe entry and exit. For buyers who have conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or other degenerative conditions, special attention should be paid, either to retrofitting already in place, or to factors that would ease difficulty and expense should it become necessary to install retrofitting in the future. For a younger retiree, these expenses may still be many years in the future, when resources are less plentiful.  

It is also important to keep in mind that the health future of the homebuyer is not predictable. Everyone has different priorities, but for older people, at least some attention paid to these issues can lead to great cost savings down the road.

Making the right decision when buying a home can delay or avoid a painful and potentially family splitting move to an assisted living community down the road. As much as this can be a touchy and unpleasant subject to consider, suitability for aging in place should be a factor when purchasing a home later in life.

Getting Professional Help

For buyers and agents working on buying a home for retirement, open communication is key. For buyers, letting your agent know that you value their experience and giving them a green light to give advice can really pay off in the long run. For agents, getting your buyer to consider factors they might not have on their radar can be difficult. While you should always make suggestions with sensitivity and keep your client in charge, making sure they are making a good long-term decision is the right thing to do.

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