Making the decision to buy a new home can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a senior and have special considerations, such as finding a home that fits all your needs. For disabled individuals, it can be especially daunting and it’s important to do some research before making any decisions.
Some considerations you’ll need to make include pricing, location, the layout of the home (especially if you have health issues that require no stairs or lawn to take care of), financing, and how to find help with the move. If you’re downsizing, you’ll also need to start thinking about going through your home to give away, or sell some items to make the move into a smaller home easy.
For more tips on how to get started in the homebuying process, read on.
Downsizing can be overwhelming if you have decades worth of belongings, so it’s best to start early by going through your belongings–perhaps with friends and family members–and sorting out what you want to keep and what you want to donate, throw away, or sell. If you have family members who might want to take some things off your hands, encourage them to do so early so you can make room and won’t have to worry about including them in your packing. Hold a yard sale to make some extra cash on items you just don’t need or want anymore; whatever’s left can be bagged up to donate.
Do some research
Before focusing on finding the right home for you, start looking for programs designed to help seniors with home buying. These programs can include financing options, access to special housing, and any expenses associated with the home. Some of these are made for seniors with a disability, while others are based on age or income. Look around online to see what you can find according to the state you live in.
Once you secure financing–or at least figure out a plan–you can start looking for homes and thinking about a price range. You’ll need to start with the neighborhood you want and work your way down; for instance, you may find a home in the perfect neighborhood that’s close to your doctor or family, but if it’s way out of your price range you’ll need to reconsider your options. Sometimes you can find an older home or one that’s been on the market for a little while and use that to strike a deal with the owners.
Think about what sort of home will fit your needs best; you may need to look a bit into the future and take into consideration what your health will be like in five or ten years. Will it be difficult for you to climb stairs or take care of a large lawn? Do you need wide doorways for a wheelchair, or a bathroom that will accommodate your safety needs? Write down all the things you’re looking for in a home and go over them with your real estate agent.
“People want a one-story house not only for lifestyle, but because they expect it to appreciate in a country with an aging population,” says former agent Tom Early of choosing a home. “To clean a single-story place you don’t have to drag a vacuum cleaner up and down stairs. That eases the strain of keeping your home tidy.”
Remember to do some research on movers in your area to find the right one for you. Ask about pricing, specifically if they require a minimum of so many hours and whether they charge per mile in addition to a flat rate. Make sure they don’t charge extra for handling things like pianos or extra-heavy pieces of furniture; if they do, take a look at other moving companies to compare their fees.
It truly is a lot to take in when you start thinking about downsizing. But with the right approach, and by doing your research, you can make this a smooth process that sets you up to fully enjoy your Golden Years in comfort.