House Hunting for Seniors: Tips for Finding the Right Home

Guest Blogger Claire Wentz claire@caringfromafar.com

While we often think of buying a house as something for younger people, statistics show 25 percent of homebuyers are between the ages of 60 and 89. Whether they are trying to downsize, move closer to family, or simply want a different living situation, seniors are clearly not staying in one place these days. Here are some tips for caregivers who are helping seniors with the homebuying process.

House Hunting for Seniors: Tips for Finding the Right Home

 

Finding the Right House

 

The reasons a senior decides to move will largely determine the type of house they are looking for. If they are living all alone in a 4,000-square-foot house, for instance, it’s probably becoming too difficult for them to maintain. They will likely start looking for a ground-level condo/apartment or one-story house near family that will include no yard work and is close to restaurants and stores. If they have health problems but would like to remain in a home environment, they should look for a home that will allow them to age in place. If they want to do some traveling, selling a more expensive home to move into a smaller place will free up cash for them to spend. The right house is out there if they know where to look.

 

Work With a Realtor

 

Working with an experienced realtor who understands the senior’s situation will improve the home-buying process immensely. Choosing a realtor from among the dozens in town may seem daunting, but they should start by asking friends and family if they recommend anyone. Check their credentials, ask for past customers, and ask if they are a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES), meaning they have completed training designed to help senior homebuyers and sellers who are more than 50 years old. Remember, when a realtor is helping a senior buy a house, they are paid through the seller, so there’s no reason not to use their services.

 

Keeping Costs Down

 

Expenses can add up during a move, but there are a few ways to keep costs down so moving is still an economic benefit. Closing costs are always associated with a home purchase, but buyers can lower those costs in couple of ways. Aim for a closing date at the end of the month so interest for the entire month is not added to the loan. Some banks offer help with closing costs if their customers use them for a home loan, so seniors should definitely check what their bank offers. Buyers can also ask sellers to pay some of the closing costs.

 

Seniors can also save money during a move by purging as much as possible from their possessions – this is especially relevant if they are downsizing significantly. Not only can they sell things they want to get rid of, they will pay the movers less to move a smaller amount of goods. As for packing materials, ask liquor stores and grocery stores for boxes – they will often give them away for free. And don’t buy expensive bubble wrap. Wrapping dishes in towels or even newspaper will keep them safe.

 

Moving Day

 

One of the best ways to help things go smoothly on moving day is to hire professional movers to get the job done. This will save the hassle of trying to organize friends and family to help with the move, plus it will speed the process along. Even if the homeowner is paying a company to pack and move them, it’s a good idea to pack valuable keepsakes and fragile items themselves if they are particularly important. If larger items are important, make sure the movers know to take extra care with them. A couple of small tips that can pay off in a big way: clear any walkways of plants, door mats, rugs, etc. that could cause the movers to trip, and make sure to block off a parking space for the moving truck at the new residence.

House Hunting for Seniors: Tips for Finding the Right Home

 

While moving as a senior includes certain challenges, they are nothing that can’t be overcome with a little determination and wisdom. A senior’s home is one of their biggest assets, so it’s important to help them manage it well. Moving provides a clean start in a fresh place, so following these tips will help things get kicked off on the right foot.

How Seniors Can Downsize and Make It a Smooth Transition

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