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For home buyers over 60: housing solutions for your lifestyle

  • For home buyers over 60: housing solutions for your lifestyle

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Senior couple searching for homes on a phone

    No matter what your age, when you're looking for the right home to buy, you have to peer into your future. How do you want to live in the coming years?

    What home buyers over 60 want is as varied as home buyers of any age. Approaching the purchase of your next home with a clear vision of your needs going forward is a great way to find the best place for you. So where do you start?

  • What home buyers over 60 look for

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Senior couple meeting with realtor

    Lorraine Seddon of Future Home Realty in the greater Tampa Bay area has been a real estate agent for four decades. Large numbers of home buyers 60 and older come to Florida from "up North." They may leave behind friends and family members to enjoy the pleasures of a warmer climate, including year-round outdoor activities. Seddon says that many look for homes in 55 and older communities where they find an offering of social activities and the opportunity to make new friends with similar interests.

    "They have the attitude of 'It's my time now.' They're buying a lifestyle," she says. "A lot like condos because they don't have to pay many of the expenses like roof, insurance, landscaping. At our age we don't want to start doing fixing up, but you pay more for that luxury." Condo fees can be steep in some areas of the country.

    A big question for some buyers this age is whether to buy a place with stairs. Seddon cautions that even if having all the bedrooms upstairs is fine for you, overnight guests might not be able to climb them. And speaking of guests, if you enjoy entertaining at home and buy a condo, make sure there's enough parking nearby for all your visitors.

    Here's what others find useful to consider!

  • If continuing an active lifestyle...

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Three senior women in a pool...then look for:

    • Walking, biking, hiking trails -- access to your favorite outdoor activities
    • Pet friendly, over 55 communities -- and a fenced yard or doggie parks for your furry friends
    • Proximity to airports and train stations -- to conveniently pursue your dreams of travel
    • Room for a home office -- when you have your own business or need to work from home
    • Shorter commute times -- to ease into a less stressful pace of life
    • Tiny house or vacation home – to downsize, or to find an alternative to selling the home you love if you can afford both
  • If moving to another part of the country...

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Senior couple packing boxes to move

    ...then look for:

    • Family or friends nearby -- to socialize with and who can help in an emergency
    • Over 55 community -- to make friends with others your age and enjoy activities
    • All ages community -- if you like a mixture of all ages of friends including a few physically capable to help you
    • Climate -- if you have health concerns or enjoy particular outdoor activities year round
    • University town -- to engage with an intellectual community and enjoy stimulating lectures and cultural events
    • Nearby amenities -- public transit, healthcare facilities, shopping, restaurants, walkability, biking trails
  • If worried about health, mobility issues, or aging in place...

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Senior couple holding hands on top of a cane

    ...then look for:

    • No stairs or uneven flooring transitions -- everything you need to access on one level; no stairs inside or out
    • Universal design -- even a few elements like grab bars or levers instead of doorknobs can make things easier, though you may also want to look for bigger upgrades like a walk-in tub or shower
    • Master bedroom on main level -- some larger townhouses have a bedroom and bath downstairs
  • If concerned with future finances...

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Close up of senior woman's hand with calculator

    ...then look for:

    • Good mortgage -- yes, buyers over 60 do take on new mortgages, even with 30 year terms
    • Reverse mortgage home purchase -- buying with cash plus equity from your present home saves closing costs
    • Single family home vs. condo or villa with monthly fees -- fees can be high but may include amenities like a pool and clubhouse, landscaping, building insurance, roof replacement, trash removal, water and sewer
    • Manufactured or modular home -- mobile home communities can be less costly and may have a clubhouse for socializing
  • If planning a multi-generational household

    Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | August 26, 2016

    Three generations of men

    ...then look for:

    • Property with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) -- tiny houses in your backyard, sometimes called granny pods; may be found in historic districts
    • Mother-in-law suite -- check local building ordinances if planning to renovate
    • Bedroom and bath on the main level -- parents or guests may appreciate not having stairs to climb

    Buying a home when you're over 60 is all about knowing what you want. Sit down and make a list of everything your ideal home could have, and then figure out what you are -- or perhaps more importantly, what you are not -- willing to compromise on.

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