An overwhelming majority of retirees surveyed last year said that they’re now “living in the best homes of their lives.” and why shouldn’t they? They’re now past the “freedom threshold,” a term used to describe a life free of the responsibilities of younger homebuyers who have kids, work, and school dictating their choices.
The search for a home to live in after retirement should be a search for your best home – you shouldn’t need to settle for less than what you really want and deserve. Consider the elements of a home that would make you happy (A fireplace? A porch with a cafe table? An enviable backyard with an amazing view?) and keep them in mind as you househunt.
Here are a few features that are popular with buyers purchasing the home that will age with them and their family for many years to come:
Large Interior Space
Aesthetically, a large interior space is calming and inviting. For seniors, large interior spaces especially in the hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms also serve the practical function of facilitating mobility as residents age into their homes.
While it may seem like many retirees are downsizing into condos and apartments, that’s only true for half the population, according to Forbes. 30% of the population who have moved since retiring actually purchase a home that’s larger to make room for visiting or live-in family members.
Tranquil Outdoor Space
Close your eyes and imagine your Southern California dream home, and it probably has an amazing backyard with a breathtaking view, or a front porch perfect for sipping morning coffee and chatting with the neighbors (or both!)
As the Baby Boomer generation heads to retirement, our perception of aging is changing completely. What may have once been seen as a time to settle is now life’s best chance to seize the day. If your dream is to have an outdoor space that makes every day feel like vacation, you’re certainly not alone, and you should consider placing it on your list of must-haves.
Most renovations done in homes purchased after retiring are not to done to help with mobility or health concerns, but are rather done to increase productivity.
As Cynthia Hutchins, director of Gerontology at Merrill Lynch explains, “most people plan to work in retirement and a home office helps them do that.”
“The average retiree is not thinking about what it’ll be like when they’re ‘old’ old – they want to be relevant and connected.” -Cynthia Hutchins, director of Gerontology at Merrill Lynch
The most common renovation among retirees is adding a home office, followed closely by adding a laundry room, which often features high on the list of desired features for Baby Boomer homebuyers. Finding a home with those two features would save you the cost of adding them later when the need arises.
When relocating out of their old neighborhood, many Baby Boomers and retirees look for relaxing, picturesque communities where they can live near people who are likely to share their interests. Many find that a 55+ community fits the bill perfectly.
Among the advantages of an age-restricted community are the peace of mind gained from increased security, as most communities are gated. They also find that community groups foster easy connections between neighbors, and there’s never a shortage of community activities.
Despite what your parents may have told you, retirement is no time to settle.