Three Factors to Consider When Buying A Retirement Home

When buying a new house for retirement, certain factors should be considered. Buying a retirement home may be even more important than buying your first home because your retirement home may need to meet your changing needs as you age.

Think about these three factors when you’re looking for a retirement home when you’re making your decision.

  1. Expenses beyond your mortgage

When buying a retirement home, it’s easy to forget that a mortgage is only one part of the cost. Even if you pay cash for your retirement home, your housing costs are not over.

Even in retirement, you may have to pay property taxes and maintenance costs, which may be higher than you’re used to, as well as homeowners association dues. According to Zillow’s research, the average annual homeownership cost is $9,400, including taxes and maintenance, but not mortgage payments.

Before you buy a house for retirement, it might help to crunch the numbers. You may be overwhelmed by the ongoing costs of living in your retirement home if you can barely afford the mortgage. Before you buy a house, determine how much you are likely to spend each year. Prepare a retirement budget based on your expected income and other expenses, such as health care and travel.

2. Your Home’s Long-Term Livability

For most retirees, aging in place is an important goal. According to AARP, 75% of retirees plan to live at home rather than move into an assisted living facility when they retire.

As a retiree, however, not all homes are suitable for your changing needs. As your physical abilities and needs change, you may find it more challenging to navigate your cottage if it has only second-floor bedrooms, several steps from the front door to the street, narrow doors, or claw-foot tubs for showers.

The possibility of future frailty can be uncomfortable to discuss, but purchasing a house for retirement can provide an opportunity to buy a home you can age in comfortably. A place that uses universal design, and ensures that everyone can use the house without requiring adaptation, can be a good fit for your retirement needs.

3. Location

A classic mantra of real estate value is “location, location, location.” A dream house may not be a paradise if it’s in the wrong location. When looking for a retirement home, location is an important factor to consider.


Many people dream of retiring to their favorite vacation spot and buying a house there. Just because you love a place during its best season doesn’t mean you’re ready for its hurricane season or winter. You may be able to select a desirable location based on the climate you want all year long.

Resale Value

School districts or public transportation may not matter to you but may to a future buyer. The home you own may one day be a valuable asset for you or your family. You may not want to take advantage of a deal on a house nobody else wants.

Local Amenities & Services

You might retire in a place that offers the amenities and services you need as you age. How easy will it be to see specialists in your area, or will you only be able to rely on primary care? Find out if the retirement home you’re considering is in an area that will meet your needs by asking local retirees about their experiences.

Finding Your Home Sweet Home

Buying a retirement home can seem a little overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. You can find the right home to call your own while you enjoy your retirement by thinking through your current and future needs and the entire financial implications of your housing choice.