If you are ready to downsize from your large family home to one that's more appropriate for your retirement years, then here are some tips to help you select the best house:
Tip: Put a Lot of Emphasis on a Home's Location
When it's time for you to downsize to a retirement home, the most important thing you need to consider is the location where you want to live. As you age, it gets harder to drive long distances to attend weekly church services, go grocery shopping, and attend more frequent doctor's appointments. For this reason, you need to buy a house in an area near each of the places you frequent, or at least one that has ample access to various means of public transportation.
Tip: Understand the Benefits of a Smaller Lot Size
Once you have determined the ideal location for your future home, you need to think about the property itself. While you may love the idea of having a hobby farm with horses during your retirement, or perhaps enjoying a large swimming pool and spa in your backyard, these choices can very easily come back to bite you when you are too old or ill to enjoy them.
For example, larger properties come with higher property tax bills every year you live there whether you enjoy the expanse of land or not. Additionally, larger properties will cost you more to maintain as you need more help with mowing, planting, and tree trimming. For these reasons, a smaller lot is a better financial decision and should be a strong consideration.
Tip: Understand the Benefits of a Smaller Home
As with a smaller lot, a smaller home will also lessen the amount of physical work and monthly bills required to keep up and live in the house. Smaller homes are cheaper to heat and cool, and they are much easier to keep clean with much less effort. Additionally, replacing a roof or an HVAC system in a home with less square footage is a whole lot cheaper than doing so in a larger house.
Tip: Look at Potential Barriers to Accessibility
Finally, when you start touring homes with your real estate agent, make sure to look for any potential barriers to accessibility you might face in the future. For example, if you ever need to use a wheelchair, then your future home needs to have hallways and doorways large enough to easily accommodate one. In addition, homes with stairs, very small bathrooms, or tight corners in the kitchen are very expensive to retrofit for better accessibility at a later date and should be avoided.