Tips to Help Seniors Through the Home-Buying Process

Tips to Help Seniors Through the Home-Buying Process

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While many home buyers are typically younger couples, plenty of seniors are in the mix as well. Some would like to downsize, while others might be looking for a retirement home, and still others may be interested in a vacation home. Whatever the case, buying a home later in life offers its own particular challenges. Read on for a few tips on how to handle those challenges.

Finding the Right Home

The first step is the same no matter your age: do some research to learn the average listing price of homes in your area. For example, the average listing price of a home in Houston, Texas, is $224,000. Averages may be higher or lower in your area, but knowing that information helps you focus your search in a specific area instead of just looking randomly.

If you have always lived in a typical single-family home, think about buying a condo, townhouse, or similar property. These homes may be perfect for your situation depending on your health. They offer less maintenance and yard work, but you may have to pay Homeowners’ Association fees instead. These homes may be easier for you to navigate as you grow older as well.

Navigating Financial Obstacles and Challenges

The housing market will be different for you as a senior than it was when you bought your first house. You have less margin for making a financial mistake, so be careful and take your time. Think about how long you want to stay in the home. If you’re planning to be there less than five years, the appreciation of the house won’t be enough to cover your costs, so you may want to think about renting. (This rent vs. buy calculator can be a big help in determining this.)

If you do decide to buy a house, seniors can still obtain mortgages as long as their income is consistently high enough and their credit scores are good. Seniors 62 and over can also qualify for a reverse mortgage, which works just like it sounds. With a reverse mortgage, the bank will give you monthly payments based on the equity in your home. At the end of the loan term, the bank will own the house; they can either sell it or give a family member a chance to refinance the loan. A reverse mortgage can be a very good opportunity for seniors to own their home, especially if they are on a fixed income.

Get Help from Professionals

To make sure things go as smoothly as possible and you end up in the best position after buying your new home, considering hiring a real estate agent who specializes in buying and selling homes for seniors. It’s also a good idea to talk to a financial planner to make sure the moves you are planning really do make financial sense for the rest of your life. Also, think about hiring professional movers to make sure all your belongings arrive safely in your new home. This will limit your involvement with heavy furniture as well. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that all of your belonging will arrive at your new residence without any damage.

Buying a home as a senior can be a rewarding, fulfilling experience. However, it does come with its own set of unique problems. Make sure you check and double-check all the details to make this a wise move for you. Enjoy this later chapter of your life as you settle into your new home!

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Thank you to Hazel Bridges for sharing this informative article!!!