Buying a home is always a complex process, but house hunting as a senior introduces an additional set of considerations. If you’re looking to retire in Dallas, there are a few things you should think about as you pick out your new property.
Location, Location, Location
It’s such a popular real estate mantra it’s practically cliché, but the importance of choosing a great location can’t be overstressed. Sure, picking the right street or neighborhood is a big deal, but first you have to select the right city. Dallas is home to a number of highly-rated medical facilities; Medical City Dallas Hospital, Baylor University Medical Center, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and Medical City Green Oaks Hospital are conveniently located in or near the downtown area.
There are also a number of senior centers, and the Active Senior Adult Programs (ASAP) initiative provides Dallas residents aged 55 and over access to affordable activities including aerobics, fitness and nutrition classes and arts and crafts.
Finally, seniors in Dallas looking for culture will find opportunities everywhere. Visit the Dallas Museum of Art, listen to authentic country-western music at a cozy venue, take in some modern dance, immerse yourself in the words of the Bard at the Shakespeare Festival or get some fresh air in the gardens at the Nasher Sculpture Center.
Swap Out a Big Pad in Favor of More Perks
Bigger is not always better, especially when you’re an empty nester who would rather be able to walk to the neighborhood pool than have three spare bedrooms to clean. It can be difficult to let go of extra space. Perhaps you like the idea of a formal dining room or you dream of one day having a dedicated crafting area, but are those bonus areas more important than a community with a clubhouse? Master-planned communities come with higher HOA fees and property price tags to offset the cost of amenities, so enter the house hunting process knowing what you’re willing to pay for and what you can live without.
Be Aware of Hidden Budget Busters
Seniors are often on a fixed income, and unexpected expenses can easily derail a tight budget. Use a mortgage calculator to figure out how much you can comfortably spend per month. Remember that the number you come up with won’t be your only monthly expenditure; HOA fees, recreation charges and utilities all need to be factored into your housing allowance. There is at least one thing that seniors can rely on for savings: Washington has an average property tax rate of 1.06%, which is below the national average.
Account for Accessibility
Mobility concerns aren’t much fun to talk about, especially for seniors who still get around just fine. But with 40 percent of seniors over the age of 65 living with at least one disability, it’s an issue that needs to be discussed—especially for those buying a home. Seniors who find themselves needing a wheelchair will also need a home that’s either built or renovated to meet ADA standards. Ramps, wide hallways, low countertops, and chair lifts can all be retrofitted, but it’s far easier and more affordable to choose a disability-friendly home from the outset. Even if you don’t think you’ll have major mobility issues, a single-story house or two-story property with an en-suite master bedroom on the ground floor could make life simpler.
If mobility is already an issue or you no longer want the upkeep that comes with home ownership, Dallas offers a large number of assisted living facilities located within the city with another 30 located nearby. Seniors looking to transition to supported living have many options, so they can choose the community, amenities and care plan that best fits their needs.