Home Buying Over 55 — How and Why to Do it

Many communities and neighborhoods around the country are perfect for retirees and those over 55 and 60 years old finding their perfect little retirement home, community and place to settle down. Perhaps you are in this boat as well and have traveled over the country, moving every few years and now you’re ready to find that perfect beachfront home. Are you looking at buying a home or renting? There are pros and cons to both but you shouldn’t shy away from buying a home over 55 simply because of your age. There are many benefits to owning a home and even starting over with a mortgage.

First up, decide where you want to live. Are there 55 and over communities that you’d like to check out? Just because it says 55 and older doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all that they accept. Each Association within a particular community could have rules that are different in each building a community such as a condominium building may have a different Association as well. You want to talk to the management of any homeowners association before deciding that’s where you want to live.

Read More: One Major Rule a lot of Home Buyers Break

Understand your finances. Whether you’ve rented in the past or you currently own the home you’re living in, you’ll need to figure out how much you can afford monthly and if that’s going to change over the next 5 to 10 years. If you’re going to have a fixed income you want to make sure that your mortgage payment will be included in this monthly income. How long do you want to have the mortgage payment? Do you have money from the sale of the previous home that you can put as a down payment and lower your monthly mortgage payment?

Lenders want to make sure that your financial health is ready to purchase a new home. Perhaps you want to downsize so you’re looking for a smaller property than what you have now. This could mean that your spending less on a mortgage payment once you sell your primary home and roll that money over to the new house. You won’t want to forget to include homeowners insurance, taxes, the principal and interest in the mortgage payment and general maintenance. If you purchase a home in an association you may have monthly or quarterly association fees as well.

Related: How to Buy and Sell Simultaneously

One nice thing about applying for mortgage is that the lender is prohibited by the equal credit opportunity act to discriminate you because of your age. However, you’ll need to follow the same procedure as anyone else applying for a mortgage document your income, your assets, debts, liabilities and have a proper credit score. You might also consider having a shorter mortgage such as a tenure or a 15 year to help you pay off the loan quicker and keep your interest rate lower if you can.

What if you’re buying your first home after 55?

While this is unusual it is not uncommon. Many people choose to rent their entire life and then choose to buy at a later time. From here, you might have a spotless credit record, built up a good amount of down payment and feel more secure in your finances. Again, it’s the same procedure whether you were 18 or 68. Buying a home is a great investment opportunity and something that you can leave to your children or your grandchildren.

Read More: 5 Tasks to Tackle Before Looking at Home

Currently, we are in a fairly balanced market which means there’s a good supply and demand of inventory out there, prices are up and interest rates are relatively low. They will continue to rise as we head into 2016 and 2017. Predictions are claiming that the end of 2017 interest rates will be over 5%. Now would be a great time to consider buying, whether you’re buying for the first time or your downsizing.

Related: Buying Your First Home Over 40?

Most people that buy at this age are considering retiring, settling down and finding one of the last homes they might choose to live in. Take your time, find a community and home that will fit your lifestyle not only now but for the next 5 to 15 years. Consider a single story over a property with stairs; close proximity to coffee houses, shops, restaurants and markets and a low maintenance property that may have limited gardening or landscaping requirements.

Regardless of what type of home you choose you should love your home. The key is finding a real estate agent in that area that specializes in helping folks over 50. In just about every city across the country there are agents and brokers that have a passion for this demographic. Simple search for an agent in your area and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to who is ready to help.

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