Home Buying Guide for Seniors

Author: Marie Villeza – Elder Impact

Sarasota, FL. December 29th, 2021 – Is it time to downsize or find a more accessible home for your golden years? Moving as a senior comes with special considerations to ensure your next home fits your changing needs. Here are tips for the home-buying process for seniors, presented by Realty Partners.

Consider the Market

In a seller’s market, there are lots of buyers and not many properties available, which increases sale prices. If there aren’t many options in your price range and the ones that are available sell quickly, it’s likely a seller’s market.

You’ll get a better price in a buyer’s market, when there are plenty of homes and not many buyers. You might notice a large inventory of homes, houses that stay on the market for months, and sellers who drop their prices. If it’s a seller’s market, waiting until things swing back in favor of the buyer can save you money.

Determine Your Budget

The median home cost in Sarasota is $333,400. Determine a budget that’s comfortable for you, considering your current income if you’re still working and your retirement income once you leave your job. Use a mortgage calculator to estimate your payments based on current home mortgage interest rates

Explore conventional mortgage options, which can include adjustable-rate or fixed-rate loans. If you have enough saved or enough equity in your current home to have a 20% down payment, you can avoid paying mortgage insurance, which can save you money each month. The rates for PMI typically range from 0.5% to 1.5% of your total loan amount.

Hire Professionals

A real estate agent who specializes in houses for seniors can offer expert advice during your search. Work with lenders who have a variety of loan options and understand the special considerations of senior finances. If you’re considering homes that need renovations to improve accessibility, connect with a contractor who specializes in those updates to learn what to look for and get estimates on specific homes.

Consider Home Types

Many seniors downsize with their next move to make the home easier to maintain as their mobility decreases. A condo or townhouse gives you a smaller space while eliminating lawn care and exterior maintenance. Senior communities designed for adults aged 55 and older are popular due to the amenities and socialization opportunities. The Sarasota area has several senior communities with homes for sale, including Del Wood Lakewood Ranch.

Prioritize Senior-Friendly Features

An AARP survey shows that 76% of adults aged 50 and older want to age in place, but only 46% feel they’ll be able to stay in their current home. Choose a home you can stay in long-term by looking for accessibility features. A single-story home is ideal. Look for wide hallways and doorways and a large bathroom that can accommodate a wheelchair in case using one becomes necessary someday.

Consider Location

If you have family in town, look for homes in their neighborhood, so you’re close if you need their help as you get older. Consider the proximity to your healthcare providers, the hospital, senior centers, and other places you go frequently. 

Choose Your Ideal Home

Considering the market, your budget, and determining your specific needs can help you find the right senior-friendly home. Contact Realty Partners for assistance with all your home-buying needs.