Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to make the leap and choose the perfect home for your retirement years.
For many, this home will represent the culmination of your life’s work. It’s a chance to fulfil some of the dreams you’ve had for years.
It’s an exciting decision, and you’ll have many options to consider as you choose your next home. But in your senior years, you’ll have different priorities than you did in the past.
After all, when you retire, you’ll have more time than you ever did in the past to enjoy your local community. You’ll probably also want to prioritize finding a space that makes it easy for people of all access levels to get around easily — and minimizes the amount of work and upkeep you’ll have to worry about.
Here are some of the top factors to consider as you choose a home for your retirement years.
Mobility and accessibility
If you hope to live in your home for many years, you should certainly be considering your current mobility and accessibility needs, and how those could potentially change in the future.
It’s important to think ahead, because the renovations required to make a home easier for seniors to live in can be very expensive and complicated (think full bathroom renovations). It’s better to understand what to look for in accessibility before you buy or build a house.
Don’t worry: Choosing an accessible home doesn’t require buying one with chairlifts and obtrusive rails that you don’t even need yet. Today’s universal design methods blend accessibility into modern design.
Universal design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Its intention is to provide usable housing for everyone at little or no extra cost.
Universal design often boils down to the following factors:
- Prioritizing visibility with things like well-lit entryways and visually significant stair edges
- Minimizing the use of steps, such as those in entryways or in the bathroom to access the bathtub (and if you do have steps, making sure they’re as safe as possible)
- Minimizing the need to crouch or bend over, such as to access electrical outlets or freezer drawers
- Making sure that workspaces, such as the countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, can accommodate sitting as well as standing
Easy, walkable access to the community
Driving tends to lose its appeal as we age — if we ever liked it in the first place. Driving at night, in particular, can be a challenge and a headache for seniors.
If you choose a home that’s located in a neighborhood that prioritizes walkability, you won’t have to worry about being limited to places you can get with your car.
As we mentioned in our post Why Walkability is so Important for Property Investments, walkability has a lot of other perks, too. People appreciate walkable neighborhoods because walking is better for your health and for the environment than driving. Those perks tend to add to your property value over time.
Of course, you’ll probably still want a place to keep your car, out of the snow and rain and easy to get to from your home when you need it. But you can’t go wrong choosing a neighborhood community that has prioritized safe sidewalks and walking routes.
In fact, live-work-play neighborhoods that integrate homes, apartments, shops, offices, entertainment venues, and more have become increasingly popular as people recognize these benefits.
Minimal renovations required
Few retirees want to spend their golden years worrying about things like fixing leaky pipes and drafty windows.
Even when you can afford contractors and professionals to fix problems as they come up, it’s still a headache to find the right people for the job and deal with the disruptions that inevitably come with repairs and renovations.
For this reason, many retiring homeowners choose to move into newer homes with modern amenities, new infrastructure, and the latest technology built-in. Although buying a new home doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have any issues, it may improve your odds.
Related post: Buying a Historic Home: 4 Things You Need to Know
Minimal yard work required
Most homeowners know that the house itself represents just a portion of the total work required of homeowners.
The rest of the property requires attention, too — namely, the yard and the landscaping. A big yard can be a big drain on your time and energy, especially if you live in an area where your grass has to be irrigated or mowed frequently.
Yard work also tends to require plenty of heavy equipment, such as mowers and trimmers, which have their own maintenance and space needs.
You should also consider that driveways, walkways, and patios will also need attention and care over the years — care that you might not want to spend the energy on.
In their senior years, many people choose to simply opt out of all of that work and spend their money in other ways that are more fun and interesting. You can do that by choosing to live in a type of home that has no yard at all, such as a condo or apartment, or one with just a small, flat yard that’s easy to care for.
Plenty of local amenities
We already mentioned the importance of walkability in your retirement neighborhood. But the community your home is located in needs to be well-connected to other amenities that can help you enjoy your retirement years, as well.
In your senior years, you may finally have time to embrace the pursuits that you always wanted to dedicate more time to in the past. These may include things like learning about new food, or just enjoying the local arts and cultural scene. But you’ll also need to prioritize resources that will keep you healthy.
Here are a few amenities that retirees tend to value within a short, easy driving distance of their home:
- Fitness opportunities such as local gyms, trails, or paths for biking, walking and running
- Greenspace to meet with your friends and family and enjoy nature
- Ongoing educational opportunities, such as those at a local college or university
- Amazing health care, from top-ranked hospitals to easy access to medical specialists
- Entertainment and cultural opportunities such as galleries, museums, and theatres
- Plenty of dining and shopping options to explore and enjoy
- Easy access to travel opportunities, such as getting to the airport to welcome out of town visitors or fly home for the holidays
Bonus factor: Beautiful weather
For many retirees, the biggest factor in a retirement location is proximity to friends and family. That can limit which region, state, or city they choose to retire in.
However, many retirees who have the flexibility choose to retire in a city or region without any harsh winters — and never have to worry about shoveling snow again.
We explore some of these temperate climate options in our post 5 Place to Retire in Luxury in the Southern U.S. We especially want to encourage you to consider Upper East River homes in Savannah, Georgia.
Many retirees choose to relocate to a city or region without any harsh winters — and never have to worry about shoveling snow again.
Upper East River homes are located in the neighborhood of Eastern Wharf on the riverfront of historic downtown. This vibrant community offers curated boutiques, greenspace, modern offices, a boutique hotel — all within an easy and safe walking distance of one another.
This is a brand-new development with modern amenities like attached parking, but with all the historic charm of the surrounding neighborhoods. Living in Savannah also puts residents in close proximity to the amazing classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well as a top-rated airport and medical facilities.