Jim Vogel | jim@elderaction.org

Simplyfy Home Buying for Seniors- Flagstaff

Seniors who choose to purchase a new home for their golden years may find that making the decision to do so is the easiest part of the process. Unfortunately, the home purchasing process can be difficult for seniors who do not look forward to the stresses of dealing with selling their current home, choosing a new home, and moving. The good news is, purchasing a new home does not have to be as complicated as seniors may fear, and our guide will offer the tips and guidance to make the process go as smoothly as possible.


1. Break the Process into Smaller Steps


Purchasing a home is a large undertaking, but seniors often find it more manageable when they break the process into four smaller stages. The first step a senior should take is to find a real estate agent. Agents have the knowledge and connections needed to simplify the buying and selling process, and they know neighborhoods so well they can help a senior find exactly the location in which they dream of spending their golden years.


The next step of purchasing a home is specifically stating your needs and non-negotiables. Seniors should consider the attributes of a home that will make it easier for them to age in place and spend their retirement years in the comfort of their own home. For example, seniors may prefer ranch-style homes so they don’t have to climb stairs and carry laundry up and down every day. They also look for homes that have modified bathrooms that include walk-in tubs and showers, higher toilets, and non-slip floors. Of course, if you find a home that meets most of your needs but not all of them, you can find a reliable contractor to make the modifications you will need to live safely and independently in the comfort of your new home.


Seniors often find that when they sell their larger homes, they can pay for their new home and have money left from the sale to invest. Not requiring a mortgage immediately simplifies the home purchasing process for seniors. Work with your real estate agent to coordinate selling your home while looking for a smaller one to purchase. Many times, agents can put contingencies in place to hold a home until your current one sells. When you are ready to purchase a home, trust your real estate agent to make a bid that is in line with what comparable homes in the area have sold for and with your budget.


The final step of purchasing a home is the closing. Your real estate agent should coordinate the date to meet with the seller and the lawyers to close the deal. Be sure to choose a date that coordinates with your move-out date so you don’t have to pay to rent a home until your new home is ready.


2. Understand Your Financial Options


Ideally, you will be able to sell your current home and use the money to purchase your new home without needing a mortgage. Many seniors who downsize find that they can pay off a new home and have remaining money for making modifications to the home or for investing. If you do need a mortgage, there are financing options available to you; in fact, the National Association of Realtors’ Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2017 states that in 2016, 68% of young baby boomers financed their home and 58% of older baby boomers did the same. Apply for a mortgage loan and consult with an advisor to know which type of mortgage makes the best financial sense for you.


3. Get Help


Real estate agents aren’t the only professionals you should seek help from when purchasing a new home. The physical tasks involved in moving are not easy for anyone, and seniors especially find them to be taxing. Moving services now specialize in helping seniors pack their belongings and move to a new home, and some also offer unpacking services. Seniors may choose from full packing services, partial packing services, and unpacking services to simplify the moving process and ensure their safety since others will be doing the heavy lifting for you.


Purchasing a new home does not have to be complicated for seniors. Try breaking the process into smaller steps, understanding your financial options, and getting help with the move to simplify home buying in your golden years.


Guest Author: Jim Vogel

Jim and his wife, Caroline, built ElderAction.org after becoming caregivers for their aging parents.

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