If you’re a senior veteran who’s in the market for a home but it has been a while since you purchased one, you might be wondering how to approach things. The process is not as difficult as you might believe. And thankfully, not that much has changed over the last few decades. However, there are a few things that might not have crossed your mind the first time around. Check out this great advice from Mortgages for America on how senior veterans can find the perfect home for the next chapter of their lives.
What Can You Afford?
The first thing you need to consider before beginning your home search is what you can afford so you can do the proper financial planning. There are many factors that go into determining how much you can spend on a house. Your annual income, monthly spending, current APR, and ability to provide a down payment all play a part. You will also need to look into different types of loans and their terms to see which one is best for you.
For example, if you are a veteran, you may qualify for a VA loan even with a low credit score so long as you served the required minimum number of consecutive days and were honorably discharged. If you’re considering a VA loan, research your options carefully. You’ll need to take into account the term of the loan, interest rate, and closing costs.
Location Is Key
Once you have a good idea of what you can afford, you will want to choose the best location for you. Depending on your health, you might want to consider a home close to a hospital, especially if it’s affiliated with the VA. Vets may also benefit from living near an American Legion or VFW chapter to help keep their social lives thriving.
Mobility at Home
Purchasing a new home in your senior years means looking out for your future. It may not be wise to invest in a two- or three-story property that you won’t be able to use if you are injured or unable to handle the stairs. You should also consider if you’ll be able to manage lawn care and maintain your home. This will help you determine if you want a house or a condo. Condos often offer maintenance, while you will be responsible for maintenance if you have a house. If you choose a condo, you will also have to factor in a monthly fee, according to financial expert Suze Orman.
Your Choice of Agent Matters
The vast majority of realtors just want to help their clients find the right home in a fast-moving market. However, despite their good intentions, many do not fully understand the needs of senior citizens. When searching for the right agent, ask about their experience helping older adults buy and sell properties. Sunrise Senior Living points out that the National Association of Realtors offers a Senior Real Estate Specialist credential, which is given to those who have taken special classes and proven their intent toward helping older adults manage the challenges of a late-life move. Realtors who have the expertise to help you will make your home purchase much easier.
Don’t Move Alone
Even if you live alone, you should not attempt to move by yourself, especially if you are moving heavy furniture. If possible, plan to call in friends and family to help with both the heavy lifting and the hard decisions. There might be personal belongings that will need to be distributed among those you love if you plan to move into a smaller home. AvaCare Medical notes that you should also hire a professional moving service to help avoid injuries on moving day.
The house-hunting process can be rewarding if you know what you can afford, where you want to live, and what type of home you’re looking for. Keeping all of this in mind at the beginning of your home search will land you the perfect home in no time.