Six Tips for Potential Repeat Homebuyers in their 60s

When it comes to repeat homebuyers, it’s easy to assume the demographics revolve around Millennials. After all, they may have purchased a home within the last five to seven years and are looking to upgrade. Maybe they’ve started a family and need something bigger. Or, perhaps, they’ve had a career change that requires them to relocate.

It’s common sense, right?

Au contraire.

According to research from the National Association of REALTORS®, the average age of a repeat buyer is fifty-nine years old.

Whether folks are planning to retire, relocating to be closer to their children or grandchildren, or are just looking to make a lifestyle change, there are plenty of reasons people are house hunting into their sixties.

Everyone may have different needs, but the older homebuyer needs to understand that there may be a new way to buying a house now that makes more sense for them in senior years as compared to when they last bought a home, whether it be a decade ago – or even longer.

As such we wanted to share six very important tips for buying a home in your 60s. These tips were first compiled by BestLifeOnline:

1. You’re no spring chicken!

It’s OK to admit that you are slowing down, even if it’s just a tad. Now that your kids are grown and out of the house, the upside is some peace and quiet and time to enjoy yourself. But the downside is that you’ve also lost those you can lean on to help keep things in tip top shape around the house.

Now that you are older, you may be better off with a smaller home that is a little easier to maintain and keep clean. This could mean that with the obligation for upkeep starting to wane, something easier like a townhome or a condominium may have far greater appeal than a single-family home with a big yard.

Also, while good schools are important for great neighborhoods, it likely is no longer going to be a selling point for you. Neither are homes with extra bedrooms, or homes that may have a lower price tag because they need some TLC.

The less work, the better. Let someone else worry about raking up the leaves or shoveling the snow or trimming the bushes – you’ve done your time

"Retirement is likely already upon you or just around the corner. Retirement is supposed to be easy and relaxing. Making sure your home allows for that as far as access to services and amenities should be high on the list."

2. Don’t adapt to a home’s restrictions. Let it adapt to yours!

As noted in the first tip, we are all aging and that means we have different physical needs than we did in our 20’s.

So, if we are starting to deal with such changes, why worry about having to climb a bunch of stairs? Perhaps look for a one level home (rancher) or a home that already has mobility upgrades, such as ramps (for wheelchairs, or those who struggle with stairs) or something as easy as a walk-in shower, so you don’t have to worry about lifting your leg high enough to get in the shower, or your balance if you slip while climbing into the tub.

Something as simple as good lighting arrays can vastly reduce the amount of trip and fall possibilities.

3. Make this your final hunt!

Look at it this way – this should be the last home you look to buy before you get to your golden years.

So, think ahead – will this new home leave you in a good position to live comfortably for the rest of your life? If it is, then you should ensure that it is close to a top-tier medical facility. Other amenities should be nearby as well, like a drug store or a supermarket.

Retirement is likely already upon you or just around the corner. Retirement is supposed to be easy and relaxing. Making sure your home allows for that as far as access to services and amenities should be high on the list.

Speaking of retirement…

4. It’s OK… be selfish!

Put yourself first as you ease close to or into retirement. Decide what is most important for you when you are of retirement age. What’s going to keep you comfortable and stress-free?

Is it going to be living in a place that will allow you to stretch your retirement income the farthest? Maybe a state that doesn’t tax retirement income? Or, maybe you want to live as close to your children and grandchildren as possible? Or do you just want to seek out a warm-weather climate?

Do what you want to do. What you want to experience. After decades of working for others and servicing others, it’s time to treat yourself – you deserve it.

5. Look around you and make sure you like what you see.

One of the negatives about being an empty-nester or reaching retirement age is that folks often find their world shrinks considerably.

It’s easy to get into a routine of doing nothing and not having anyone else to do it with on any kind of consistent basis.

Which is why you shouldn’t just fall in love with a physical house before considering the community that comes with that home.

Does it offer an opportunity for you to pick up some hobbies, or find a community of like-minded individuals who want to share experiences with you? These kinds of vibrant communities are just the things folks reaching retirement age need to enjoy their life away from the working world.

One idea that was mentioned in the original publication of this list was to look at college towns. Although that might seem a little counterintuitive, most college towns are littered with walkable communities, art and cultural options and lots of restaurants, so the possibilities for a community-minded senior are endless.

6. Make your money go farther.

How many times are you reminded that homeownership builds wealth. Well, it’s true. Being a homeowner absolutely helps you accrue wealth in the form of assets and equity and value.

And while the recommendation is always to consider that first, it doesn’t mean that it’s the best option for everybody – especially as you get older.

Many experts say that once you are in your 60s, you should seriously weigh the pros and cons between buying another home or switching from having a deed to having a lease.

Every person’s financial situation is going to be different, so maybe you will want to sell your current home, and then rent a new home, stretching the profits from the sale even further.

Not to mention, some markets may be more affordable to rent within than to buy a home.

You may also be concerned about taking out a new mortgage later in life because you don’t want your children to have to absorb your debt if something were to happen to you.

However, some would argue that equity far outweighs the debt, and your children will be appreciative of that after you are gone.

Again, there’s no “one size fits all” solution for you, but just consider your finances today are likely a lot different than they were the last time you bought a home, and that should help guide the decision.

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