Nobody should allow age to stand in the way of their important life goals. It is better to buy a home late than never. After all, it is estimated that one-quarter of all first-time homebuyers are actually seniors, mostly baby boomers, over 52 years old.
However, it is true that buying a house near or in retirement brings forth some specific considerations. Those who are not venturing here for the first time are in a more favourable position, but even they must cover all the bases. No matter how you look at it, a vital decision such as a major purchase like this should always come under close scrutiny.
First of all, it all depends on the goals you want to accomplish and the retirement lifestyle you aspire to lead. Some people want to have their grandkids visit their house, while others are eager to change location and climate. Note that the latter may be achieved by moving to a retirement community.
Also, there are those who plan to travel a lot in their retirement. A lifestyle like this should always prompt you to think of maintenance costs you cannot avoid. Finally, all seniors should always take into account their declining health condition and how it might affect the sustainability of homeownership.
Having a place to call your own gives you peace of mind and soothes your soul. It could also be a way to escape rising rents, inconsiderate landlords, and get out of the lease and other disadvantages of renting. There is also the option of using a new home as an investment property (instead of a primary residence) and continue living in an old one.
Furthermore, it is highly recommended to ask yourself how long you plan to stay in your new home (if at all). The answer that tends to disperse the shadows of doubt is “for good”. At the same time, keep in mind the possible drawbacks of owning, mostly in the form of maintenance tasks, landscaping, and daily chores.
Those who embark on their first real estate purchase should seriously consider hiring a real estate agent. To get the ball rolling, ask friends and family for referrals. Evaluate the experience and history of agents that show promise. Finding a trusted buyer’s agent in Sydney and other cities is a breeze, so you should be able to do it in your target area as well.
Once you narrow down the choice, set up a meeting and prepare a list of questions. Ask about the number of clients, the ratio of buyers to sellers, areas of coverage, references, specialisation, team members, communication channels and lists of recommended vendors.
One of the crucial factors that influence decision-making is whether it makes sense to own a home from a financial point of view. Assess the impact of the mortgage, which is the most common source of financing apart from retirement savings. You need to be able to sustain payments throughout the life of the mortgage, even in case of your income decreasing or spouse passing away.
Do not fail to grasp the big financial picture and factor in insurance, taxes, and association fees. Bear in mind that to get pre-approved for mortgage, you need to work on improving your credit score, sort out your credit report, improve debt-to-income ratio, and try to ramp up down payment.
One’s dream of owning a house never withers away. Then again, purchasing a property when you are grey and old requires meticulous deliberation. To make the right call, set your financial house in order before even dreaming of buying a brick-and-mortar one. Likewise, get your priorities and goals straight, and consider both financial and non-financial issues.
If you really understand all the responsibilities and benefits of owning a home, then age is of little concern. On the other hand, someone who has never owned a house and does not have any savings should think twice before going down this road.