Faced with empty bedrooms after the children have grown up and moved away, many older adults look for affordable new homes for seniors that do not compromise on space, quality, or convenience but at the same time are more suitable to a relaxed, mature lifestyle.
Resources for New Senior Housing
Although seniors can certainly use the services of a standard real estate agent, in many situations it is helpful to deal with individuals more familiar with the needs of older adults. Many real estate agencies now have individuals who are Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES) that are experts in finding housing options for those 50 and over.
Other resources for seniors to search various new housing options include:
- Home Instead Senior Care
- New Lifestyles Assisted Living Resource
- National Administration on Aging Housing Page
- New Home Information from AARP
What is affordable to one individual may be very lavish or very simple to another. It is important that anyone interested in a new, affordable home take stock of their financial situation before choosing a new place to live. Seniors, in particular, need to be aware of different housing costs and considerations when choosing a new home. Expense items to consider include:
- Moving costs
- Closing fees and other expenses involved with the purchase of a new home
- Homeowners' association fees
- Any necessary renovation costs
- Mortgage interest rates if applicable
- Property taxes
These costs should be compared to realistic income projections to determine if the new home truly is affordable. Many seniors may be on a reduced or fixed income and may not be able to accommodate unexpected expenses associated with a new home, and investigating these expenses can ensure that purchasing a new residence is the best financial option. Other expenses such as health care, travel, and hobbies should also be considered so that moving into a new home does not mean restricting an active, desirable lifestyle.
Types of Affordable New Homes for Seniors
There are several types of affordable homes that are perfect for seniors, including:
- Condominiums: A condo requires less maintenance and upkeep than a freestanding home, and many condominiums are luxurious and convenient, making them perfect for active older adults.
- Town Homes: Generally larger and more independent than a condo, a town home still has less upkeep than a standard home as well as more room for customization to meet anyone's preferences.
- Senior Community Homes: More housing developments are being geared toward seniors. These single family homes are spacious and elegant but are built with seniors in mind, making them an excellent option for older adults interested in a convenient home suitable to their lifestyle.
Home Considerations for Seniors
Regardless of the type of home design, seniors need to choose homes with suitable amenities, locations, and other considerations for their preferred lifestyle. Buying affordable new homes for seniors does not equate to an isolated, cramped abode.
The home and community amenities are some of the most important considerations for new homes for seniors. Items to evaluate include:
- Main level living for better accessibility
- Spacious floor plans for family visits, hobbies, and other activities
- Smaller lot sizes for easier upkeep
- Energy efficiency for lower utility bills
- Senior-friendly features designed with aging in mind, such as easy-to-open door handles instead of knobs, shallower steps, and rocker light switches
In addition to interior features, however, many seniors are interested in community amenities as well. Popular options to look for include:
- Fitness facilities, including pools, tennis courts, and whirlpools
- Community landscaping and walking trails
- Meeting spaces for larger gatherings
- Elegant architecture and building design
Even the most well-designed community or home, however, can be a financial blunder if it is not in a suitable location. Many seniors lead full, active lives and a new home should have easy access to major transportation routes. Public facilities such as libraries, museums, art galleries, resorts, shopping centers, and other community features should also be nearby. Seniors with health concerns may also want to consider their new home's proximity to health care and emergency facilities.
The upkeep and maintenance of a home can be intense, but affordable new homes for seniors are often designed to minimize or eliminate these concerns. Many homeowners' associations, for example, include landscaping, snow removal, and other basic maintenance, therefore allowing the homeowner to enjoy their new home rather than spending all their time caring for it. Homes designed with seniors in mind are less likely to need extensive renovations to accommodate reduced mobility that may come with aging, and smaller lot sizes can be easier to care for.
How to Find Affordable Homes
Finding affordable new homes can be a challenge in a widely variable housing market. The best way to find a suitable home is to investigate local resources, such as newspapers, housing magazines, and experienced realtors. Senior resources such as health care and recreation facilities, magazines, and websites may also be able to give recommendations for new senior living communities, and online searches can quickly turn up new developments targeted toward mature homebuyers.
Finding affordable new homes for seniors can lead to an active, involved lifestyle without the concerns of an inappropriate home. IT can also be a wonderful move that enhances the enjoyment and delight in being an independent homeowner at any age.