House hunting for your dream home for retirement doesn’t need to be stressful and overwhelming. When you have the right tools, resources and strategy - the process can actually be quite enjoyable and smooth. Here are a few tips to optimize your house hunting journey in Rochester:
1. Plan Your Retirement Housing Budget
Drafting your retirement budget is the first and most important thing you need to do to ensure your house hunting journey is smooth. You don’t want to get invested in a house that you ultimately can’t afford or that will cause you undue stress down the road. Buying and owning a home comes with ongoing costs and expenses - namely a mortgage, property taxes and maintenance.
You’ll need to take a dive into your finances to map out exactly what you can expect to spend comfortably. Here are some steps you can take to get a clearer picture of your long term finances:
Evaluating your eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid for your present or future health expenses
Checking in on your 401k or other retirement plans to calculate your expected monthly income after you’ve stopped working
Review the property tax situation and other cost of living nuances applicable to Rochester.
According to consumer financial services company SmartAssett, the state of New York is a tax-friendly destination for retirees - especially those who plan to live on a fixed income. Social Security Income is not taxed, while income from public or private pensions is only partially taxed. Additionally, Rochester offers a homestead exemption for eligible older adults. This can produce extra savings. Your real estate agent can help you determine your eligibility for this exemption.
2. Think About “Aging in Place” When Checking Out Homes
Your next home should be one that will make sense for you in the years to come, and to make sure this is possible, you and your real estate agent will need to keep your future needs and potential limitations in mind. For example, your realtor can help filter your choices to only include one-story homes in case the time comes when climbing stairs every night to go to bed is too much for you physically. Additional amenities like wide hallways, no-step entryways, and shower grab bars can also help ensure your home will remain appropriate for you in the long haul.
3. Consider Other Senior Living Options in Rochester
Living the lifestyle you want in a city you love should be a top priority for retirement, but sometimes, buying and owning a home outright during your Golden Years isn’t the best option. Your needs will undoubtedly change, and you may ultimately require different living arrangements to accommodate these changes.
The idea of managing an entire home could be overwhelming for some retirees. If you feel you fit into this category, you should ask your real estate agent about an active adult living community. These “55-plus” communities offer many amenities - including fitness centers, organized social activities and transportation options. Living in one of these communities typically requires payment of extra fees, so be sure to consider these prior to deciding on any given community.
If, at some point, your health and mobility needs change to the point where you cannot live fully on your own, you can consider moving into an assisted living facility. There are many highly-rated communities in the Rochester area - each offering amenities for or seniors who need help with activities of daily living - which can include bathing, dressing, managing medications and keeping up with general housework.
4. Work with a Reliable Realtor
Perhaps the most important key to a successful house hunting experience is having a trustworthy and experienced realtor. Read our blog here on how to go about choosing the right real estate agent!