House Buying Tips As You Age
As you age, your criteria for buying a home also changes and if you keep these house buying tips in mind when you make your next home purchase you will have freedom to choose the lifestyle you want for years to come. Although we wish we could be young forever, in reality, we need to plan for the future. If your next purchase is going to be your final home, then here are several items you should consider before you make your next purchase.
You will often hear the phrase “aging in place”. Translation: I want to live in my own home as long as possible. So, if you want to stay in your own home as long as possible, then you need to plan your next home purchase the same way you plan for retirement.
Before you make your next purchase, consider these house buying tips:
Maintenance Free or Do it Yourself?
Do you want to move into a property where all the exterior maintenance is handled by a third party such as the Homeowners Association (HOA)? If you go this route, you need to be sure the community you pick provides exterior maintenance service for your home, not just the common areas of your community. A word of caution, work with an agent so you have a good handle on ALL of the fees and services provided within each community. For example, there could be neighborhood HOA fees and a community wide association fee.
Or, do you still have the desire to mow your own lawn, pick your own weeds, clean your own gutters, power wash your lanai or clean your own pool? If you prefer to handle all of your own maintenance, then you should consider a community without home owner association fees or one that has low fees and provides minimal maintenance.
Although we don’t like to admit it, as we age, our bodies start to tell us to skip the stairs. You may not be worried about it now, however, what will you be thinking 5 or 10 years from now? I recommend single family homes which are all one level or condos on the first floor. Also, condos or homes with elevators are a good option.
As a reminder, when I say stairs, I mean both inside and outside the house. Do you really want to carry 5 bags of groceries and a case of water up 3 flights of stairs to get to your third floor condo?
What about flooring?
You never know what your medical needs may be for you or your spouse. In Naples, I know many individuals who have had a knee replacement or hip replacement. It’s when you have a procedure when you realize how important flooring is in your home. Those walkers, wheelchairs and canes do not work very well on carpet. If you have tile or hardwood floors, it’ll be much easier to navigate your way around the house.
How close are you to your doctors offices? Or perhaps the hospital? How healthy are you and your family members. Are you looking after loved ones who are older and may need to be close to immediate healthcare? When you are determining where you want to live, you should take into account how important healthcare is in your overall decision process. As a side note, when storms come through and the power goes out, if you buy a home on the same electrical grid as the hospital, you’ll be one of the first to have power restored. Ultimately, if healthcare is important to you or your family you need to make sure you buy a home close to your doctors.
Are you looking to downsize or perhaps upsize?
If you are downsizing, do you want a smaller home or would you prefer to purchase a condo? The answer may depend on the lifestyle you want to live. Depending on the area, you may have to sacrifice size for location. Do you want a small condo with a fantastic view of the Gulf of Mexico so you can watch the sunset every evening? Or, perhaps you’re ready to purchase your dream home and you are looking for a luxury single family home. What ever situation is right for you, make sure you have considered these options when looking for your next home.
Location, location, location!
How important is it to you to be close to the grocery store, shopping, dining, entertainment, beaches or perhaps other activities such as boating, golfing or tennis? For many, the older we become, the more likely people will begin to consider the importance of easy and quick access to activities. Do you really want to drive 45 minutes to the beach or do you want to walk out your backdoor? Or if you need to go to the grocery store, do you want it to take an hour to get there and back? Perhaps convenience if more important to you and you’d rather just walk across the street.
Do you want to live in a country club atmosphere with access to a golf course, tennis courts, bocce ball, pickle ball, fitness center, dining and more? Or, perhaps you would prefer to be away from all the hubbub and you’d like a home on a large piece of property. Either way, you need to consider what amenities are critical to have within walking distance or just a short drive away.
Cost of Living
You probably fall into one of two categories. You are either on a strict budget or you have saved your whole life and now ready to live life to its fullest and money is no object. Either way, you need to understand your monthly obligations of the home you are living in and how comfortable are you with the costs? Fees may or may not include a mortgage, utilities, insurance, home owners association fees, membership fees and taxes. Take all of these factors into account when you make your next investment in a home.
The newer the home, the less repairs you’re likely going to need to make. Do you want to buy new construction or would you rather invest in a property that you need to remodel? Do you have the funds to pay for major repairs if the home is older? Also, in some cities, such as Naples, older homes have significantly higher insurance rates due to older construction. Whereas newer homes built after 1995 where held to a much higher standard for building codes which include mandates for hurricane windows and doors. Are you comfortable paying the higher insurance rates?
Ultimately, if you consider what your needs will be in the future when purchasing a home now, you will likely put yourself in a position you can decide to stay in your home as long as you want or if you prefer, relocate to a retirement community. I encourage you to follow these house buying tips for your next home purchase.
So, if you’re ready to begin your Southwest Florida Real Estate search for your dream home, I encourage you to explore my website to find information about communities in Southwest Florida. If golf is your game, I specialize in golf community real estate and would be happy to help you navigate the more than 100 different golf communities in our area. If you prefer a more direct approach, I will provide a list of properties that meet your criteria and/or communities that meet your needs.
If you are buying a home in a golf community, you will find it’s more complex than a typical home purchase. As you can probably imagine, there are significant differences between golf communities. There are many different fee structures, membership options, pet restrictions, demographics and many other details that apply to the SWFL golf communities.
Also, if you are considering new construction, remember the contractor’s real estate agent represents the builder’s best interest, not yours. There is no cost to you to have an agent represent you. In fact, I may be able to help you save money and negotiate for extras which the builder may not let you know about.
If you’re looking for information about a specific community in Bonita Springs, Estero or Naples, please contact me and I will prepare a custom market report for you. I will provide the market information and insights to help make sure you select your dream home!
Lastly, I will handle all contract negotiations for your property from offer to close!
Other Valuable House Buying Tips from Top Agents in the Industry:
10 Considerations for Seniors Searching for a Home to Age in Place by Sharon Paxson
Downsizing Tips for Seniors by Anita Clark
Home Hunting Tips for Older Buyers by Deb Rhodes
Preparing a Home for Aging in Place by Wendy Weir
Want to learn more about house buying tips or real estate information in Southwest Florida? Contact Matt Klinowski at 239-370-0892 or Matt@NaplesGolfGuy.com
About Matt Klinowski, PA
Contact Matt: Matt@NaplesGolfGuy.com
May 20, 2018 Posted by Matt