Recent data shows that approximately 75 percent of first-time homebuyers plan to skip the starter-home and opt instead for a house that will better serve their long-term needs. And with the majority of first-time homebuyers being Millennials, it makes sense that the traditional starter-home mentality is occurring less often in today’s housing market. Whether you’re one of these Millennial first-timers or just someone looking for their last place to call home, consider these five tips to help you find a home that will age with you.
How walkable is the neighborhood?
The house should be centrally located, making it easy to either walk or take public transportation wherever you need to go. Also there should be restaurants, grocery and retail stores nearby (bonus points if your pharmacy and doctor are close as well). You’ll love your home that much more when you don’t have to drive everywhere.
What’s the local scene like?
If community involvement and social opportunities are important to you, look for nearby parks, libraries, museums and community centers. Many community centers offer unique classes and volunteering opportunities.
How does it size up?
It’s important to remember the bigger the home, the more upkeep it needs. How big a yard are you willing to maintain for years to come? Or do you have the financial means to outsource the work to be done professionally? For existing homeowners, moving into a new home is the perfect time to determine if downsizing makes better sense long term.
How accessible is it?
If you’re looking for a house to last into your retirement years, you’ll want to make sure it’s easily accessible all across the board. You may want to consider a single-story layout with no entry stairs and no random steps in the house to trip over, wide walkways, extra floor space for easy maneuverability, a walk-in shower with a seat and easily accessible storage space. Theoretically you can renovate to accommodate some of these things, but it’s not worth buying a house that is overall too small and cramped.
Is there room for modifications?
If you’ve found your dream home but it’s lacking in accessible features, determine how much money and effort it would take to install them on your own. Check for things like handrails near any stairs, handrails in the bathrooms (in the shower or near the toilet), and nonslip surfaces in the bathtub, extra lighting inside and outside and rounded edges on furniture and countertops.
Keep these questions in your head as you house hunt and communicate your concerns with your real estate agent to help you find your perfect match to grow old with, for as many years as your heart desires.