3 things to remember when picking a post-retirement property
In Australia, our life expectancy has been increasing steadily every year, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Whether it’s a result of better medical technology or greater understanding of illness that strikes primarily in later life, you have to be aware that you are likely to live a fairly long time – and your choice of retirement home has to reflect that.
To help you make the right decision, here are just three factors to keep in mind when shopping for a home post-retirement.
1) You may not be as spry forever
Make sure you get a property inspection and construction report.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 4.3 million Australians with a disability – around about one in five people across the nation. However, this rate suddenly shoots up when you start taking age into account.
Just over half of those over 65 reported living with disability, which then increases again to 85 per cent for those over 90 years old. Considering how we are to that being the average life expectancy now, potential disability should be high on your priority list when looking for a home to retire to.
There are some obvious features to a home that could make it tough for an older person to get around, such as too many stairs or a lack of hand supports. However, some are a little more difficult to spot: If you are planning to install some support bars in the bathroom, for example, you could discover that the home you bought doesn’t have the structural integrity to handle them. Make sure you get a property inspection and construction report before committing to a home for sale.
2) You may need more medical support
You might be able to snap up a bargain before the value of local homes increase as a result of the improved infrastructure.
In a similar vein, it is important to remember that as you get older, you may need to visit the doctor more often. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that 98 per cent of those aged 65 and older had consulted at least one health specialist over a 12 month period.
Combine that with the chance of limited mobility, and proximity to health services becomes that much more important. Make sure you scout out the locations of current hospitals and check with the local council if there are any plans to build or support any local health services in the vicinity.
If you can find a place that has a hospital already being built, you might be able to snap up a bargain before the value of local homes increase as a result of the improved infrastructure – perfect for retirees who may be working with a smaller budget.
3) Stay within a community
Social interaction and communities are integral to longevity and wellbeing in old age.
Now that you are downsizing and don’t need to work, it can be tempting to head out to rural real estate to get the best value for money. It’s true that proximity to places of work is no longer a concern for a downsizer, but there are other factors that should encourage you to try and stay at least somewhat near an urban centre.
A recent study from the University of Queensland has found that social interaction and communities are integral to longevity and wellbeing in old age, and that could be tough to find if you live an extreme distance from anyone else.
Buying a home post-retirement requires a fair few different considerations from your first home. Rather than schools and work, health and community should be your priorities when downsizing. Remember to spread your net wide when speaking to a real estate agent to ensure you get the widest choice of properties possible!