5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Home for Retirement in Santa Cruz

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Home for Retirement in Santa Cruz

Are you planning to buy a home for retirement? If so, you have many things to consider because buying a retirement home may involve a decision more critical than when you bought your first home. Your retirement home, after all, will have to meet your changing needs as you grow older. Let’s get started, then. Check out these 5 things to consider when choosing a home for retirement in Santa Cruz.

1. Costs of the Home Beyond Mortgage Payments

When choosing a home for retirement in Santa Cruz, you should first take a hard look at the costs beyond just the mortgage payments. 

“It can be easy to forget that the cost of buying a home for retirement doesn’t end with qualifying for a mortgage. In fact, even if you can pay cash for your retirement home, you’re not done with housing costs. You’ll still have to pay property taxes and maintenance costs, which may be higher than you’re used to if you are no longer able or willing to do your own maintenance in retirement, and possibly homeowners association dues or other fees.”

Including property taxes and maintenance costs, the average annual cost of owning a home is around $9,400. And that’s no small chunk of change. So you need to do the math before you commit to buying a retirement home. You certainly don’t want to find out too late the costs of homeownership are overwhelming on your fixed retirement income.

2. Your Financial Situation

Similarly, when choosing a home for retirement, you must assess your financial situation carefully and honestly. Can you really afford the home, and how will buying it affects your other retirement plans?

According to industry pros, “The most important thing to consider when buying a home to retire in is the impact that this house will have on your finances. If you are taking out a mortgage to pay for this home, when will you be able to pay it off? Will you need to alter your retirement budget to accommodate mortgage payments and other home expenses? Consider how big of a down payment  you’ll need to make, too, and how much you’ll need to set aside in savings for that and closing costs.”

The most important thing to consider in this regard is how much home you can realistically afford. On retiring, your income will very likely be much different than when you were working, and your monthly cash flow will be smaller. “Make sure your budget for housing expenses is accurate and based on your future income, not your current one. If you’re moving to a new, warmer state, you will also want to think about the impact that could have on the cost of your property taxes.”

3. Location

And then there’s location. This is always an important consideration in buying a home, but it becomes critical when you’re choosing a home for retirement. In assessing a home’s location, here are the important things to consider . . . 

Resale Value

“You may not be concerned about the local school district or the access to public transportation, but a future buyer might be. Your home is an asset you or your family may want to sell. Getting a deal on a home no one wants may not be a good decision.”


Think carefully about what kind of year-round climate you would most enjoy. Many retirees make the mistake of choosing a location based on what they see during the best season only. Consider this: mild winters may be nice, but do you want to deal with hurricanes in the spring?

Nearby Amenities and Services

“Your needs may change as you age, so you might choose to retire in a place that offers the kinds of amenities and services you . . . require. For instance, will you be able to see specialists in your area easily, or can you only rely on primary care if you need to go to the doctor?”

4. Lasting Livability

There’s also lasting livability to consider when choosing a home for retirement in Santa Cruz. If your goal is to age in place, this is a critical consideration because not all homes will be able to meet your changing needs as you age after retirement.

For example, “[i]f your cottage only has second-floor bedrooms, several steps from the front door to the street, narrow doorways or showers that require you to climb into deep claw-foot tubs, then you may find it more difficult to navigate the house as your physical abilities and needs change.” Experts recommend that you “make a housing choice that you can easily age in. Looking at houses that take advantage of universal design, which helps ensure the home can be used by everyone without the need for adaptation, may help you find a house that’s a good fit for your retirement.”

5. Your Future Plans

Although plans may change, you should consider your future plans when choosing a home for retirement. “If you want to live in the house for decades to come, you might buy a different home than you would if you were planning on selling it to move closer to family in 5 years. Additionally, if you plan on eventually using the house as an investment property, that will impact what kind of home you look for, too.”

Expert Help for Choosing a Home for Retirement

Ultimately, you have a lot to carefully consider when you set out to choose a home for retirement in Santa Cruz. And that’s why most retirees are better off working closely with an experienced market city agent. A good agent can help you find the retirement home that best meets your needs. So when you’re looking for that just-right home for retirement, be sure to call us at 831-588-2334.

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