Buying a home is a big step for anyone, but for seniors who are maybe on a limited budget, it can be a little overwhelming. However, many individuals in their golden years are looking to downsize and simplify, and sometimes apartments and townhomes are just not as appealing as having a space to call your own.

“All the condos they visit seem cloying and dark. They dislike the idea of smelling other people’s cooking or hearing footsteps above or below their unit. And they don’t like having to get in an elevator just to get to their car,” says real estate agent Mary Biathrow.

The criteria for the perfect home is different for everyone, of course, but for many seniors, a one-story house that doesn’t have a large lawn to take care of is the ideal. If you’re thinking about making a move, there are some things you’ll need to consider, including financing and location. Here are a few of the best tips on how to get started.

Decide what you want

You might already know what you don’t want in a home–too much noise, a large space to clean, a staircase to traverse every day–so now it’s time to focus on what you do want. If you’re looking for a home in a particular neighborhood or within a certain price range, narrow down your focus so you’re not overwhelmed with choices and contact a real estate agent who can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Look for a well-kept home

You definitely don’t want to deal with a fixer-upper (unless you have a lot of time and money on your hands), so look for a home that has been well maintained by its former owners. You can double check everything through an inspector, but you should be able to tell during a walk-through if a home has been taken care of. Windows, flooring, and details like crown molding will all be in good repair, and appliances and major things like air conditioning units and hot water heaters will be in good shape or even new.

Research the laws

Depending on what state you live in, there may be laws regarding deeds and ownership of property, so familiarize yourself with the legal side of home buying before making any big decisions. This is especially important if you think you’ll be transferring ownership to a family member in the event of your death.

Financing

Because most seniors don’t have a full-time income, it may be difficult to secure financing from a bank for a loan as large as the one you’ll need for a home. It may be possible to sell your current home and use the profits to make a large down payment, but you’ll need to secure a place to live in between the sales, and then you’ll have to think about where you’ll come up with the rest of the money. If you have a family member or adult child who is willing, you can ask them to cosign a loan. Look at all your options before making a decision.

Take a look at movers

You can ask friends and family to help you on moving day, but it’s always easier for everyone involved if you hire a moving company. Do some research on the best movers in your area and make sure the one you choose can fit all your needs. You might require a team that can handle extra-large pieces of furniture or one that will be willing to travel a certain distance, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Movers unloading a moving van

Buying a new home can bring stress and anxiety, so it’s important to take care of yourself during this time. Remember to ask for help when you need it and step away from the planning if things get overwhelming.

Author: Michael Longsdon

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