Buying a House for Retirement – Things to Consider

Updated on March 13, 2019

Retiring is a major change in one’s life, but very often a welcome one. The kids have moved away, you don’t have to rush to work every day and you finally have the luxury of dedicating your spare time to yourself. This change in lifestyle may trigger making big decisions and buying a retirement home may well be one of them. However, don’t make the mistake of rushing into anything – you want your golden years to be stress-free after all. Here are three major things to consider in order not to fall into potential traps along the way.

The budget

A little research into your financial options is a wise step to take while shopping for your potential new home. Don’t be afraid to utilize all the available tools and resources that are offered online by lending institutions and brokers. If you feel that paying in cash would not be the wisest option, in order to confidently make the next step, you can get online first and calculate how much money you can borrow. You need to know your expenses and manage your post-retirement budget. Seeking help from a professional is also advisable so you don’t unnecessarily burden yourself with the monthly rate.

As far as down payments go, you might be able to invest a large sum, but that might not be the best financial move. Yes, you will be able to pay it off faster, but it may significantly lessen the amount of spending money available. If you’re over 62, you are eligible for a reverse mortgage which is a type of an income stream.

Whatever you decide, your long-term goals have to include unpredictable situations as well, such as medical issues or the loss of your spouse. Seek a home you can afford no matter what the future brings and make sure you make a well-informed decision.  

Maintenance and functionality

Ask yourself – Does size really matter? Are stairs a good idea at this point? Will a big garden be too much of a strain? If you have visitors often, you’ll need a guest room or two. If not, keep in mind that that extra space just means more work. Maybe you can do without all that.

Your living quarters should be senior-friendly. Wide hallways, entryways and bathrooms are easy to navigate with a wheelchair for instance. Modern types of homes put much emphasis on spaciousness so finding one should not be too difficult.

Don’t forget about pets, whether you already have one or you think there might be the slightest chance of getting one in the future. Check for any pet policies – some residences restrict the number of pets while others don’t let you have any at all.


Choosing the right location for retirement is invaluable. Getting around may become more and more difficult as you age and driving won’t be an option forever. Try to choose a home within the walking distance of things important to you.

Keep in mind that you might miss friends and family when you move. If you feel this will be something you’re not prepared for, look for a home close to the one you have at present.

Your new neighborhood should be carefully considered, especially in terms of crime and safety. Well-lit streets will certainly make you feel more at ease at your new residence. Factor in the potential noise and check if there are any parks or other amenities you enjoy in the vicinity, preferably within walking distance. Of course, a hospital should never be too far away.

Undoubtedly, the age of retirement is the time to relax, but it does depend on how carefully you plan your future. The more thought you put into it, the more you will enjoy your time as a carefree pensioner.


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