Buying a home as a Senior has its own concerns. Beyond thinking about if the floor-plan will work well into the future, consider that it will be an intermediate home before circumstances force you to move again. Whether you want to live out your days in the new home or move once again, keep these questions in mind as you consider your options.
How easy is it to sell a home in this area?
You may think you were lucky to find a home in exactly the area you wanted to live in. Ask your realtor how often homes come up of sale in this area and how quickly they sell. Do not settle for a vague answer. Ask for hard data. How many homes sold in the development and what was the average number of days on the market. Ask for this for the last 3 to 5 years to get a real feel for how sales typically run instead of during an abnormal period.
Who is the typical area resident?
Find out about the area you are moving to. Is the typical home owner is young couples? Families with very young children? Families whose children are away at college or have moved out? Retirees? Each will present its own flavor of living. Then you can decide what is most important to you when buying a home as a Senior.
Is the area safe?
Seniors need to know what they are dealing with when it comes to crime. You may not be able to completely eliminate your potential exposure to crime but you can greatly reduce it. Ask for crime statistics and here, too, it pays to look at long intervals to see if crime is on the rise or not.
Are there any fees or special assessments?
Your property taxes are set at 1% of the purchase price all over California. The particular neighborhood may have special assessments (usually small), perhaps HOA dues (usually a few hundred dollars a month) and even, if buying in a newly developed out-lying area, Mello-Roos fees (can be very high depending on the amount of development).
How much will the utilities be?
Buying an older home can mean significant utility bills if the home has not been properly updated and GREEN-ified. While you can spend a lot of money turning your un-insulated home into a thermos flask, there are cheaper alternatives you can explore with a GREEN-certified realtor.
Does the seller offer a home warranty and what does it cover?
New construction typically offers a 10 year warranty covering everything and any remaining period will transfer to the new owner. For older homes, there are home warranty plans that typically are paid for by the seller and cover the first year of ownership. These can be renewed by the buyer at the end of the first year if desired.
Before buying a home as a Senior, consider keeping your current home if its floor-plan can work for you. Even if you feel you need to unlock your home equity for your retirement needs, there are alternatives to selling the home. As both a Seniors certified Realtor and a Green certified Realtor, I can help you navigate many of these questions to find the optimal path for your circumstances and desires. You can reach me at 760 622 5087 when you feel ready.