While some seniors believe that once they reach a certain age their home buying experiences are over, many are realizing that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of reasons for seniors to want to purchase a new home, but there are also some significant barriers that may arise. When deciding on the prospect of buying a new home, here are some important questions seniors must ask themselves.
What is my primary reason for moving and how do I buy smartly?
Before buying a new home, you need to know exactly why you’re doing so. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line in the transaction, it’s important to be 100% sure that the home you’re moving to represents a better living situation than the home you’re leaving.
If you’re moving because you want to downsize, make sure that the home you’re buying fits your living necessities. In other words, downsize enough to make the move worth it but don’t give up so much space that you feel cramped or find yourself having to get rid of too many of your belongings. Think carefully about how much square footage you use in your current home, and how much you can comfortably part with.
If you’re moving for mobility reasons, make sure that the new home will accommodate you. Does it have stairs? Is the outdoor area hard to navigate? Are the pathways in the new home large enough to accommodate mobility aids? There are ways to get help paying for home modifications.
How do I finance my new home?
If you can afford to simply buy your new home outright, it’s probably the best option, but for many seniors, this just isn’t a viable option.
Traditional mortgages come with their own set of risks – especially for seniors on a fixed income or ones that rely on two incomes.
“One risk is that seniors living on a fixed income might not be able to make monthly payments, even if they can meet the lender’s guidelines,” notes Bankrate. “Another concern, specific to married couples, is that the death of a spouse can cause a significant reduction in household income, making a payment unaffordable in the future.”
Do your research on the types of financing options available. Many seniors will opt for some form of a reverse mortgage – specifically a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM).
“The HECM is similar to a reverse mortgage except that it is regulated by the Federal Housing Authority. The costs and fees are generally worked into the loan. This mortgage is regulated by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HECM loans have the best rate of reverse home mortgages and have more choices for payment,” explains SeniorAdvisor.com.
How am I going to tackle the big move?
Financing is only part of the battle. After that you must consider the nuts and bolts of your actual, physical move.
It might be time to make some tough choices involving your possessions. If you’re downsizing, it may be necessary to sell, donate, or give away many of your possessions and some of your furniture. Talk to you family about what is important to keep, and what can be disposed of.
It will most likely be necessary for you to hire movers. Use a trusted site like AngiesList or Movers.com to help you find professional, trustworthy movers in your area. And when it comes to packing for the big move, check out resources on how to find, select, and organize your moving boxes. By talking to local businesses, groceries, and liquor stores, you can save yourself some money on boxes.
Purchasing and moving into a new home can be exhausting for anyone, let alone a senior. Do everything you can to minimize the hassle, and you will save yourself a lot of grief and unneeded stress. Happy moving!