Prospective buyers often have a pre-conceived vision of the home they hope to buy. But when you are looking at listings online or walking through available single-family homes for sale, it can be easy to lose sight of the features and amenities that once seemed important.
This problem is often worse for those families who are looking for a long-term home — the one where they plan to continue living even in their retirement years. Luckily, there are a few tips prospective homebuyers can use to help increase the odds that the home they buy now will still be comfortable for them throughout their lives.
Buy enough house, but not too much
When the kids are small and life is at its most hectic, having tons of extra space can seem like a dream come true. In actuality, the child-rearing years pass very quickly, with many homeowners living as empty nesters for the last 30-plus years of life. Once the children are grown and gone, heating, cooling and maintaining all that extra space is likely to become tiresome or even too expensive for reduced retirement budgets.
Choose a design that will age gracefully
Homes built to the latest design trends can be beautiful to look at, but not all of them will help their owners age with comfort, economy and safety. Home design features with the most potential to be physically and financially comfortable to live in over a long period of time include:
- a large kitchen with space for casual meals and a pantry for food storage
- a conveniently located main-floor bath or half-bath for guests
- a main level attached garage with minimal stairs for entering the home
- a home with wider doors and hallways and bath, kitchen and living areas that could easily accommodate the use of wheelchairs and walkers
The actual design of the home is also important, especially when considering the cost of utilities and maintenance. Heated air rises within any structure, so buyers in cold climates may want to take advantage of that fact by looking for homes with a two-story design where the upper story benefits from the heat that rises from the lower one. No matter the design, buyers who plan to someday retire in their home will want to be sure to buy one with a main-floor master suite to avoid stairs that could be difficult for them, should mobility or physical health issues arise later in life.
Having a realistic plan will help ensure that prospective buyers find the right home for their needs, both now and in the future. To get additional guidance, prospective buyers should schedule a time to discuss their housing goals with a reputable real estate professional. Contact a real estate agent for help with finding single-family homes for sale in your area.