Buying a Portland Home: Tips for Seniors
Portland is a great place to retire. Whether you’re a long-term resident or are looking to relocate to a milder climate, Portland offers the right combination of quiet neighborhoods, big-city culture, and outdoor getaways. There are many homes on the market that will be comfortable and manageable for seniors in the long term. There are also some homes that just won’t work – whether because of location, layout or unforeseen structural problems. Read on to learn our tips for seniors looking to buy a home that they can live in for many healthy, happy years.
1. Choose the right neighborhood. Being retired means you’ll have more time to enjoy indoor and outdoor activities of all kinds, and you don’t necessarily need to be central to Portland downtown, business centers, or a good school. On the other hand, proximity to a grocery store, pharmacy and medical center should be a high priority for relocating seniors. Read our post on how to research Portland neighborhoods to find out which ones will fit your needs.
2. Think long-term. Many seniors are reluctant to leave their home to live with family or in an assisted care facility, and in many cases, they don’t have to! More and more seniors are staying in their own home well past retirement thanks to in-home care and new building designs that make getting around safe and easy.
When looking for your long-term home, think about what your future needs will be. Are the hallways and rooms wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair? Features like stairs and thresholds may not be something you notice today, but could become a hindrance in a few years. Also consider a home with extra space for a live-in caregiver.
On the other hand, your changing needs can also expand your home buying options. Maybe you can live with a smaller kitchen now that the kids are moved out, but you would enjoy a larger garden space. You may need more storage than you think you do – your new projects will need their own space in the house or garage. Finally, speak to your financial advisor and Portland real estate agent to figure out how much home you can afford. Keeping your mortgage manageable will help you handle unforeseen expenses.
3. Don’t get a fixer-upper unless you’re ready for it. A favorite retirement project is fixing up an older home. If that’s your plan, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into by talking to your home inspector and your real estate agent about the condition of the home. Staying in your home as you age means not having to lay down your retirement savings on unexpected and costly repairs.
4. Use your Portland real estate agent. Most people contact a real estate agent to help them search for their new home, but a good agent does much more. A buyer’s agent is invaluable throughout the home buying process. I serve as a second set of eyes, helping you identify potential problems with the home you’re considering. I handle the negotiation with the seller and help make sure you are getting the best deal on your home.
5. Act now! Find a home that you can grow old in, even if you don’t feel old yet. Buying a home isn’t a quick or easy process at any age, so the sooner you start, the less you’ll have to worry about down the road.July 11, 2012