When thinking about buying a home for retirement it is important to remember you will be growing older in the home. In addition to getting your finances in order, you will want to remember the importance of your social network, the proximity of grocery stores and healthcare, recreation, transportation, and the layout of the home (so you can age in place). Here are several things to consider before buying a home for retirement.
Money & Finance: You will want to do your due diligence on the costs associated with your home and the cost of living for retirement. People will often encounter housing costs (homeowners association fees, maintenance fees, property taxes) that exceed the monthly mortgage in many of the country’s most desirable retirement areas.
Family & Friends: Your retirement dream home may be in a different state. You will want to maintain relationships with your circle of friends and loved ones. Plan for a guest room in your retirement home and establish regular visits from friends and family. This will help to serve your social needs as you develop new friendships in a new state.
Food & Healthcare: You will want to consider what amenities are important to have close by. Perhaps you would like to be within walking distance of a grocery store or healthcare provider. Sanibel Island has several healthcare providers and several grocery and general stores (and a farmer’s market) for your weekly supplies. Consider what businesses are within walking distance when you shop for your retirement home.
Recreation: The recreational opportunities near your retirement home are very important. You will want to consider your lifestyle: would you prefer to be close to the mountains for skiing, snowboarding, and hiking or close to the ocean for sailing, swimming, and snorkeling? Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are a retirement homeowner’s paradise for those who enjoy the ocean. Water sports will be part of your weekly recreation. Walking through the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge to observe nature and reflect on life will provide tranquility. There are several tennis clubs and golf courses to enjoy, and the City of Sanibel manages a recreation center with treadmills, weight equipment, heated pools, fitness classes, and pickle-ball courts.
Transportation: While Sanibel Island and Captiva Island don’t have public transportation, they do have several taxi services to get you where you need to go (when the time comes to turn in your driver's license). Bicycling is also a viable form of transportation on the islands. And it’s always a good idea to make new friends who still have their driver’s license (paying for the next round of golf, or the next round of beers at the local watering hole will keep you in their good graces).
Age in Place: You will want to consider elements of “universal design” as described by AARP. Many architects and designers consider these elements when planning homes for the 50+ community. Factors such as a main-floor master bedroom, wider doorways, and step-free entrances are thoughtful considerations for those who will remain in their retirement home throughout their golden years. But don’t overlook homes with an upstairs bedroom when shopping, that will be the perfect guest room for younger friends and grandchildren (and help to keep your social network in proper order).
Phaidra McDermott is a lifetime resident of Sanibel Island. She has been enjoying the tropical island paradise since she was three years old! When you partner with Phaidra to find your perfect retirement home, you will be connecting to a lifetime of island resources and relationships. Contact Phaidra McDermott today!