The process of looking for a home in your golden years could be a bit different from when you were looking for a home to build a family in. Now, you can focus on what will make YOU happy. Your children have found homes of their own, and you’re now free to choose a new home to create new memories in.
For retirees and senior citizens, location is no longer just about finding a nice house in a pretty neighborhood. It is more about being closer to your family, being just a stone’s throw away from important amenities, and finding a peaceful place where you can comfortably relax. It’s a personal choice that will depend on your lifestyle and what you want to prioritize the most as you age.
Here a list of things to keep in mind when looking for the perfect retirement home for you:
The house itself
The following items on this list focus on location -- but before we discuss those, it’s important to keep the obvious one out of the way. When buying a house to retire in, you should start with the basic questions about what type of house you’re looking for. Most retirees choose to downsize, but this entails the same questions: How many rooms? Bathrooms? One-storey or two-storey?
Remember that you’re buying a house that can serve you well as you age. This means that living in it must be convenient for you as you enter your golden years. With this in mind, choose a home with very minimal upkeep, and one that wouldn’t require you to climb up and down the stairs every time you need something from your room. Find an adequately-sized property that will make it easy for you to get from one part of the house to the other--but make sure that it’s still spacious enough for you to move around comfortably.
Proximity to family
To most retirees and empty nesters, family is still what matters most when choosing the location of a retirement home. If you want to be closer to your children and grandkids, choose a location where they can easily visit you, or one that is near the airport and other public transportation options so that it’ll be easy for you to visit them. Being able to spend time with family during the holidays becomes increasingly important as you age, and you wouldn’t want to miss any opportunity to see them more often.
However, pre-retirees must also think long and hard whether moving to a different city, or even to a different state, is really necessary. There is nothing wrong with looking for a new house within your hometown, especially if it allows you to stay close to friends and family, and near the places you most enjoy spending your time.
Weather and climate
If you’ve made your decision to retire in a place that is relatively far from your current residence, do consider whether you can easily adapt to certain lifestyle changes the move might entail.
A drastic change in weather and climate may take a toll on your health, so make sure that you’re moving to an area with a temperature you can enjoy and not just tolerate. Decide whether warmer areas suit you better than cooler ones, or if you’d rather find a house where the breeze is always cool.
Accessibility of important amenities
Making sure that you won’t have a hard time going to places you need to go to is the most important part of finding the right location for your retirement home.
Identify all the important facilities that you will need to visit on a regular basis, and make sure that these places wouldn’t take more than a 20-minute drive. If you take frequent trips to the doctor for check-ups and other medical appointments, ensure that the house you’re buying is near a hospital or clinic. If you like eating out at healthy places, find a house that is near organic or vegetarian restaurants.
One can only truly enjoy a place if the existing community is a good match. To find a place you can truly enjoy, you’ll need to live amongst people you can see yourself interacting with. Check if there are recreational activities you can join nearby and meet like-minded individuals, or see if the Home Owners’ Association (HOA) conducts gatherings or recreational activities you may be interested in. If you’re looking to join exercise classes or educational courses for retirees, you can ask your agent to point you towards the direction of the perfect community where this is possible.