A long time ago, people rarely moved. As they grew older and started to retire, they just stayed in the big, old home they bought decades earlier.
However, times are changing. Many seniors are choosing to age in place and modifying their current homes to better meet their changing needs. While many seniors are choosing to stay in the homes where they raised their families, more than ever are choosing to move. Instead of spending their golden years in a drafty house with more rooms than they need, many people in retirement are buying a new house. If you’re a caregiver, there are several easy ways you can help a senior make such a big purchase. It begins with a search for a new home.
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Finding The Right Home
Before you start pulling up real estate listings for the senior, talk to them about the types of homes available these days. For seniors, these include:
- Single-family house: Your traditional free-standing home.
- Condominiums: Smaller homes similar to apartments, but that you own rather than rent.
- Townhomes: Similar to condos, these often share a wall with another unit.
- Senior community homes: Houses, condos, or townhomes in a community dedicated to older people.
When it comes to finding a new place, the number of choices can be overwhelming. A Place For Mom has an excellent page with links to different housing options by state, major cities, and type. Once you know the type of home the senior wants, you can do a preliminary search and give some results to them. This can help the senior focus and avoid wasting time.
Downsizing For Lower Costs
As you look at possible homes for the senior, finances will inevitably come up. Retirement means less income, so it probably won’t make sense to buy a home more expensive than what the senior already has. But the opposite is called downsizing, and this can make great financial sense.
If the senior owns their home outright, they can likely sell that home for much more than a smaller house will cost. This means they can avoid mortgage payments while saving quite a lot as a retirement nest egg. And if the senior is still making rent or mortgage payments, going for a smaller home will save costs. To determine just how much they’ll be saving, use this handy home cost calculator to making crunching numbers simple. Plus, if a senior is on the fence about downsizing, seeing actual numbers might help.
The Penny Hoarder lists 10 ways to save money on mortgages, including:
- Put 20 percent down to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI).
- Ask for a tax assessor to re-evaluate the property taxes on your new home.
- Shop around for a cheaper home insurance policy, especially if the bank handling the mortgage recommends one.
Make Moving Day Easier
Finally, the senior has picked a house perfect for them, and you’re getting ready to help them move. While you can try to pack everything yourself, it usually makes more sense to hire a moving company. This is especially true if the senior is downsizing and needs to get rid of some stuff. People trained and experienced in helping pack and move can make a huge difference. However, keep in mind that downsizing the home requires downsizing items, and this can be difficult for a senior who has collected and acquired so many cherished items over the years. Encourage the senior to donate or gift belongings, or find a creative way to keep the memory as opposed to the physical item such as creating a scrapbook.
When choosing movers, be sure to do some research before making a decision on which company to hire. This way, you can show the senior different prices and companies so they can make the choice. Moving can be an emotional experience for seniors, so they need control. But as with finding a house, you can help by filtering the results to a few good choices.
Seniors Can Use A Little Help
It’s not like your senior friend cannot do this on their own, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little help. If they’ve decided against modifying their current home, go through some search results for new houses and help the senior consider downsizing. Then, find reputable movers to help make moving day that much easier. This way, both you and the senior can feel better when the moving day is over.