For some seniors, the thought of buying a home at this stage in their lives may seem overwhelming, but for others, it can mean finally reaching an important milestone after apartment living for many years. While there are many pros and cons to buying a home, it can be a very positive thing in a senior’s life. It’s important to know the risks, however, and to be prepared and knowledgeable about the process and terminology.

There are many ways you can help your senior parents in making this decision, including doing some research on neighborhoods, sellers, real estate agents, and what the home-buying process entails. Assisting your parents in being well-informed will ensure they don’t get taken advantage of or miss out on making a good deal.

Here are some of the best ways you can help your senior parents in the home buying process.

Research the pros and cons

Buying a home is a big decision, so it’s important to review the pros and cons with your parents before they begin the search. Homes generally go up in price over the years, so investing in real estate is a great way to earn some security for the future. For seniors who have already owned a home, this is a good chance to downsize a bit while keeping something that belongs to them, rather than putting money into an apartment every month. It’s also a good way to build up equity and use that to take out low-cost loans for improvements or needs outside of the home.

As far as the cons go, it will be necessary to think five or ten years down the road when choosing a home, not just for financial reasons but for health concerns. Seniors in a certain age bracket often deal with a decline in health or an inability to move the way they used to, so homes with staircases or big lawns that need to be taken care of are probably not an option. Also, dealing with a big life change such as buying a home–and all the things that come with it, like moving–can be stressful for a senior, which can negatively affect their health.

Read more about the pros and cons of buying a home as a senior here.

Be knowledgeable

Seniors are sometimes taken advantage of in the real estate world, especially when there’s a big sale on the line. Be sure to do some research on your parents’ rights and make sure they know that a good real estate agent will never pressure them into making a quick decision. Read through the paperwork and fine print and help your loved ones understand their responsibilities as thoroughly as possible so there will be no nasty surprises down the road.

Check out financing options

If your parents own a home already, they can use some of the money from the sale as a down payment on a new home; otherwise, they may need to look into obtaining financing from a lender. Many states have special financing options for seniors, so look online for the guidelines in your state. It’s a common misconception that lenders won’t provide financing for seniors; in 2016, 68% of seniors buying a home did it through a loan. In fact, it’s illegal for a lender to turn down a client based on their age.

There are so many things to think about where buying a home is concerned, so any sort of help you can give will likely be greatly appreciated. Just keep in mind that the final decision rests in the hands of your parents, and be as supportive as possible once the process begins.

Author: Jim Vogel
jim@elderaction.org | http://elderaction.org/

Photo via Pixabay by MarvinRoaw