5 qualities that make a house great for seniors

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Just like every other part of aging, buying a home becomes a different proposition when you're a senior or soon-to-be senior citizen.

Certainly there are still matters of personal preference, but some features will almost always make a house better for senior buyers, according to Pam Neighbors, an associate broker with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta North.

Neighbors is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, or SRES. That means she's a realtor who is uniquely qualified to assist seniors in selling and purchasing homes. Here are five features she says are typically good for seniors:
  1. A stepless entryway from garage to kitchen. "Some people also want a front entryway with no steps," said Neighbors. "But others still want those steps for exercise."
  2. Wider doorways. "You want to make sure that a wheelchair could fit through them," she said. "It's also a good idea to have a shower a wheelchair could fit through."
  3. A bedroom on the main floor. "Ideally that will be a master suite, but you should look for a property that at least has one bedroom on the main floor," Neighbors said.
  4. An HOA that covers exterior maintenance and landscaping. "Some seniors don't want to have to worry at all about home maintenance and you may be able to find a place where the HOA fees cover some outdoor maintenance," Neighbors said.
  5. Manageable amounts of garden: Some older folks include gardening in the "that's not my thing anymore" category, but others really want to still be able to garden. If a garden is desirable, find a place that has one, certainly. But according to Neighbors you should consider whether the property might have too much garden space that would require too much maintenance when choosing a home.

As for picking a real estate agent to work with during this all-important transition time, Long Realty in the retirement hub of Tucson offered these tips on the Active Rain real estate blog:

  • Do not just pick a real estate agent out of the phone book or stick with the first agent you meet. Interview at least two agents.
  • Question the agents about their experience in handling clients dealing with the issues that you are dealing with.
  • Make sure the agent is willing to deal with other family members if necessary.
  • Discuss the percentages that the agent will charge you for selling your property.
  • Pick a real estate agent who is willing to show you a marketing plan.

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