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tips for buying a home in your senior years

As you or a loved one get older, are you thinking about moving to a smaller home that’s easier to take care of and manage? You may find maintaining a large home and yard is challenging. However, the thought of selling, moving and buying a new home can seem overwhelming.

The good news is that you can work with a senior real estate specialist (SRES) who can provide you with help throughout the entire process. Buying a home as a senior is different than when you’re a first-time buyer, so here’s some tips for buying a home and selling your current one.home buying tips for seniors

Options for where to live

As a senior, you have many choices when it comes to deciding where to live. Depending on your needs, these options include:

  • Living on your own in a smaller home, townhouse or condo with less maintenance.  Downsizing is common; with adult children out of the house, there’s less need for extra bedrooms and living space.  In many cases, a single-story or one-floor home makes the most sense.   
  • If you want to be part of a community and are looking for social activities, a retirement home or community might be right for you. They often have social clubs, a gym and art classes. Options for housing include a condo, townhouse or home.
  • An assisted living home or community is ideal if you’d like to live in your own unit, but have onsite staff for daily assistance or medical services. Assisted living communities usually offer activities, outings and meals served in dining areas.
  • You may also want to look into areas that are near medical facilities or hospitals to make it easier to get around and handle shopping and other activities. This is especially important if driving becomes a challenge and you need to use other types of transportation to go to doctor appointments.

Financial considerations

As you begin the process of buying a new home, you’ll also need to take into account some financial issues, including:

  • Will you use an IRA, pension or 401(k) to help buy a new home?
    • To avoid depleting your savings, an FHA “Reverse Mortgage for Purchase” can provide tax-free funds toward the purchase of your new home.
    • You may consider consulting a financial advisor to see how using these funds may affect your retirement.
  • Do you have enough equity or savings to pay for long-term care or assisted living in the future?
  • To lower your living expenses, you may qualify for programs to help pay for your expenses such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Do you need to set aside funds to modify your new home to make it safer or better fit your needssenior moving and relocation assistance

Senior moving assistance

You’ll probably have to sort through years of memories and belongings as you pack and relocate. 9 times out of 10, seniors are downsizing and don’t realize the challenges that come with it.  Most seniors struggle parting with belongings they’ve held onto for years or simply cannot relocate all of their possessions.  

A senior relocation specialist can step in a take control of the situation. Senior relocation specialists can coordinate selling or donating items you no longer need or use. They can also help coordinate an estate sale or online auction to quickly sell items.  They coordinate packing up the rest of your home and will even coordinate the movers at your new home!  If you have health issues that make packing and moving a challenge, a senior relocation specialist can help you during this process to make your move as seamless as possible.  Most importantly, a senior relocation specialist helps relieve the burden of moving in your senior years.

Ready to get started?

To sum things up, your first steps should be:

  1. Deciding where you want to live. This can be a smaller home, retirement community, or an assisted living home.
  2. Make sure you look into your finances so you’re able to afford a new home and medical care in the future.
  3. Go through your belongings and see if you can downsize.

The Long-Term Living Association (LTLA) has SRES real estate resources and specialists who are ready to help you with each of these steps. You can visit their website at longtermliving.org or call 1-800-868-1193 to set up an appointment.

Certified Senior Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS)

Diane Vezzuto





Certified Senior Advisor

Dina Frauwirth






Senior Real Estate Specialist

Francesca Lavin