Calgary Real Estate for Seniors
If you're a senior and finding your current home too big, or posing too much hassle to maintain, you might be considering a variety of alternative living situations. There are many options for seniors, but many of these choices involve renting. Renting is okay, but it's money out of your pocket and not an investment. You worked hard for your money, so why not keep it working for you.
You could invest in a smaller home, but you run into those pesky upkeep and maintenance problems which you were hoping to avoid in the first place. If you're not really interested in a retirement community and would like more independence, what other choices are out there?
How about considering investing your money into a condominium instead? The condo market is alive and thriving in Calgary, and if you plan to live in your new accommodations for awhile, then maybe you want to get a better bang for the bucks you're going to spend.
Moving into a New Condo
New condominium concepts now exist that have been designed and created specifically for the senior market. The new wave of baby boomers has begun to enter their golden years of retirement and they want options. Developers are listening.
The first thing you need to know is that there is a difference between age-restricted condos and adult-oriented condos. The latter allows children, and even though you love kids, you might not want to listen to them. Age-restricted condominiums give you the ability to enjoy your space and freedom while allowing you to interact and socialize with people in your age group.
Many of these age-restricted condominiums come with amenities that are of special concern to seniors for partially assisted living requirements. On the lighter side, senior based condominiums also offer a vibrant community with many activities to keep you busy and mingle socially. It all depends on your needs, the location you want, and what your budget can afford.
A newer concept being offered for seniors is the ‘life lease' purchase. What it means is that you purchase the contract so your occupancy is for life. You don't exactly own it, but you do buy the lease at the value currently appraised. When you sell it back, the same applies.
Before you buy a condo though, do your research thoroughly. This is a major investment, so you want to be well prepared before you begin your search. You want to learn everything about the condo/management fees. Additionally, you will want to know what maintenance is covered, how much property taxes cost, what the locale is like and available local services, security, and that your deposit is refundable. These and many other issues need to be weighed and considered before you sign on the dotted line.
What Seniors Should Look For In a Senior-Friendly Home
Aging in place is difficult for many people. Home buyers who hope to age in place can make life easier for themselves by purchasing a home with senior-friendly features. Knowing what to look for makes the home buying experience simpler and more successful. Here's what you need to know.
Walkability in a Home
Driving can be unnerving for people as they get older, especially as their reflexes and eye sight begins to change. This is why many people drive less and less as they age. Walkability is a feature that helps ensure seniors will be able to get around independently without driving.
What makes a home walkable? Proximity to businesses, good sidewalks and safe streets. Seniors who like to take public transportation may also take into consideration a home's proximity to bus and train stops.
Good Lighting in a Home
Good lighting is important for seniors. Good lighting prevents accidents like slips and falls, by ensuring that seniors can see where they're going. Buyers who are seeking a home with good lighting should look for:
- Large windows with unobstructed views.
- Multiple light fixtures in each room, including recessed lighting, track lighting, overhead lighting and pendant lighting.
- Lamps in each room connected to outlets that are controlled by switches.
Although more lighting can be installed if needed, this presents an expense to the home buyer and should be taken into consideration when deciding how much to offer for a home.
The bathroom is a room where many seniors have accidents. Slippery floors, shadowy showers and lack of grab bars are all factors that can be a hazard. Here's what to look for:
- Grab bars. These are usually attached to the wall in the shower and near the toilet.
- Curbless shower. Showers that have no curb can be easily accessed by seniors who lack lower body strength.
- Non-slip floors. Non-slip tile floors prevent slips and falls, even when the floors are wet.
- Good lighting. Lighting in the shower, over the toilet, around the vanity and in other parts of the bathroom prevent seniors from having accidents.
Not all bathrooms in the house need to be senior-friendly, but there should be at least one bathroom that is.
Later in life, many seniors lose their ability to walk up stairs safely. Seniors who want to remain independent for as long as possible should look for single-level homes. Stairs to get into and out of the house must also be taken into consideration.
Small, Level Yard
Hills, rocky terrain and steeply graded yards can all be dangerous for seniors. In addition, big yards can be hard for seniors to maintain as they get older. The best yards will be relatively small and as level as possible. Well-maintained pathways around the yard make it easier for seniors to get into and out of the house.
Work With a Real Estate Professional
Looking for the right house can be overwhelming. Working with a real estate professional makes it easier. If you're a home buyer who is concerned about aging in place, communicate with your real estate professional about your needs. Your real estate professional may know of some senior-friendly communities or neighbourhoods that are especially safe for seniors.
Working together with your real estate professional can help ensure that you'll successfully find a house that fits your lifestyle.
It might be a good idea to check out your local senior organizations to find the most knowledgeable real estate brokers that specialize not only in the condominium market, but with seniors in particular.
Calgary real estate for seniors is alive and thriving.