GUEST BLOG: Key Information House-Hunting Seniors Should Know

Key mortgage and cost Information House-Hunting Seniors Should Know before buying a home

 

By Guest Blogger: George Miller

These days, a significant number of seniors in America are choosing to age in place1. While this can mean staying in their current home, some seniors are choosing to buy a new home that would better suit the needs of someone who’s aging. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to pay attention to when you’re hunting for a house.

What Are Your Mortgage Options?

In order to buy a house, you’ll either need to sell your current home to fund the purchase or you’ll need a mortgage2. While lenders are not able to deny you a mortgage based on your age, you will still need a good credit score and be able to prove your ability to repay. While a lender may be willing to grant a mortgage for a certain amount, it’s important to ensure you aren’t going into your golden years with too much debt. Bear in mind that your medical costs are likely to increase as you age, and the last thing you need is to have your liquidity affected by mortgage payments. Senior life blog Senior Living also suggests that seniors should look into FHA mortgages3. While there are FHA mortgages specially geared towards seniors, you will still need to own your current home outright in order to qualify for it. You can use this handy mortgage calculator4 that will give you an idea of what your mortgage payment could look like based on the home’s purchase price and how much money you have for the down payment.

What Kind of House Do You Need?

According to Forbes, there are a number of things5 that you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re planning to age in place. You’ll need to make sure your financial situation allows for it, that your medical needs can be met, and that you’ll still be able to maintain your social relationships. There are certain requirements that a senior-friendly house must adhere to. These types of houses should have well-lit exteriors, wide walkways in the parking area, adjustable shelves in the bedroom, and counters in the kitchen that can be reached easily from a seated position. You should also look for a house that is on a single floor and has lever-style plumbing features that can be easily used by seniors. Keep in mind that if you need to make any modifications, you’ll have to set aside some room in your budget. According to the aging in place specialists at HomeFree, some kitchen remodels to make a space for accessible for seniors can cost $25,0006, which is comparable to a bathroom remodel they highlighted at $20,000.

How Much Do Houses Cost?

While you should definitely look for a senior accessible home first, National Low Income Housing Coalition explains that there aren’t many7 of these houses on the market. In fact, a survey found that only 4 percent of the houses satisfied the basic requirements of an accessible home, while less than 0.3 percent were appropriate for someone using a wheelchair. With that in mind, you may need to broaden your search to different types of housing that may work for seniors, such as condominiums or duplexes. When selecting a home, it’s still recommended that you avoid homes that will present a fall hazard8 such as uneven steps, high shelves in the kitchen, slippery tubs and loose handrails. Of course, it helps to know how much houses in the area of interest would cost so you can proceed according to your budget. Over the past month in St. Louis, the average price of homes landed at around $165,0009, which on average sold for just under two percent of the list price.

It’s completely understandable why you’ve chosen to stay in your own place as you age. Let’s just make sure all your needs are being met by the home you’ve chosen and that you remain safe for as long as you choose to stay there.

About George Miller:

George Miller believes one of the keys to well-being is security. Whether you’re securing your home, preventing fraud, protecting your online presence, or securing your finances, it’s important to take practical but often-overlooked safety measures, which is why he created Securabilities. In his free time, you can probably catch George at a baseball game with his family or tinkering with his latest home DIY project. You may contact him here.

If you would like to have your own lawyer to help you on your next home purchase, just click here to sign up to be a client and pay nothing up front!

NOTES:

  1. AgeInPlace.com. “What is Aging In Place?” Web

https://ageinplace.com/aging-in-place-basics/what-is-aging-in-place/

  1. BankRate.com. “You’re Never Too Old For A Mortgage.” Aug. 2011. Web

https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/never-old-mortgage-1.aspx

  1. SeniorLiving.org. “FHA Mortgages For Seniors” Web

https://www.seniorliving.org/mortgage/fha-loan/#targetText=The%20FHA%20mortgage%20for%20seniors,considering%20a%20FHA%20reverse%20mortgage. 

  1. 4. Bank of America. Mortgage Calculator. Web

https://www.bankofamerica.com/mortgage/mortgage-calculator/

  1. Forbes. “Secrets to Successfully Aging In Place” Bob Carlson. Jul. 2019. Web

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcarlson/2018/07/29/secrets-to-successfully-aging-in-place/#429e2ec3152c 

  1. HomeFreeMods.com. “How Much Does It Cost to Make My Home Handicap Accessible?” Reprinted from Angie’s List. Osey Boyd, Sept. 2014. Web.

https://homefreemods.com/much-cost-make-home-handicap-accessible/

  1. National Low Housing Income Coalition. “Scarcity of Accessible Housing for an Aging Population” April 2019. Web

https://nlihc.org/resource/scarcity-accessible-housing-aging-population 

  1. CDC.”Safety Check”. 2017. Web.

https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/STEADI-Brochure-CheckForSafety-508.pdf

  1. Redfin. Market Trends In St. Louis Marketing Insights, Sept 2019. Web

https://www.redfin.com/city/16661/MO/St-Louis/housing-market

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