Nearing Retirement? 12 Features To Look For In Your Next Home

Anna Lee


I had the privilege of being able to participate in this article published on

As people move toward retirement, they may be looking for a new home a little ahead of the start to the next chapter of their lives. Some people may be looking to relocate; others may want to downsize or simply make a change before they enter their golden years.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to keep in mind the aspects of a property that may be appealing during retirement. We asked Forbes Real Estate Council members what features or traits they recommend to people who are nearing retirement and are looking for a new home. Here is what they advise:

1. Minimal Yard Maintenance

People nearing retirement will want to consider properties that best facilitate how they have planned for and envisioned this exciting time. Lock-and-leave homes with minimal yard maintenance are an excellent choice for clients who wish to travel or visit family at a moment’s notice. I always recommend their bedroom is on the main level to ensure that the home makes sense for years to come. – Anna Morrison Lee, Anna Morrison Lee, Broker Associate, Moreland Properties

2. Low Tax Burden

Most buyers who are close to retirement should search for a property that does not have large maintenance or tax expenses. The majority of buyers at retirement age will take little to no financing to purchase. Their only cost will be the upkeep and taxes on the property. If those costs are low, it can be a great investment. – Ralph DiBugnara, Home Qualified

3. Proximity To Family And Essential Amenities

Consider the amenities you may need as you age that might not be priorities now, but will be down the road. Is there access to public transportation? Are there medical facilities nearby? If you plan to travel, how far is the airport? Do you have family within driving distance? – Joshua Lybolt, Lifstyl Real Estate

4. Single-Story, Open Floor Plans

Homebuyers planning to live in their “forever” home should anticipate potential health issues and opt for single-story homes with no stairs, an open floor plan and a big kitchen for easy wheelchair accessibility. The home should have a flat lot, with no stairs leading into the home or built into the landscaping. – Sumant Sridharan, HomeLight

5. The Ability To Easily Modify For Changing Needs

Retirement is a huge accomplishment, but not without challenges for homeowners. Affordability is usually the biggest concern for fixed incomes. Mobility may also become an issue in the later years—so consider the size of the doorways, hallways, and bathrooms in particular. Pick a home that can be modified as needed. Consider the proximity to a hospital and food delivery options. – Katie Brown, Downtown Katie Brown, Realtor

6. Public Transit Availability

Similar to millennials, retired individuals want to be located near transit and amenities as they find it more difficult to drive. It should also be economically feasible while living on passive income. – Ali Jamal, Stablegold Hospitality LLC

7. Passive Income Potential

I recommend large multifamily and mini-apartment buildings with tenants and a super, or multiple condo units purchased specifically for generating passive cash flow. This can make life in retirement much more enjoyable. – Elliot Bogod, Broadway Realty

8. Suitable For Your Long-Term Usage And Needs

I believe that people nearing retirement and contemplating moving need a current needs assessment. Also, they must be realistic about mobility in the home. Sure, it’s paradise until you have to go upstairs to the bedroom. Plan for your long-term usage of what you acquire. Relax, you’ll enjoy it. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties

9. Low Overall Living Expenses With Community Amenities

The average income for a retiree in the U.S. is $4,000 per month. Most retirees are living paycheck to paycheck. Housing at $1,000 or less is mandatory for a comfortable retirement that includes discretionary funds. Mobile home communities may be an answer! The average lot rent is $280 a month and a brand new home is often $500 a month with golf, shuffleboard, swimming pool and clubhouse. – Sam Hales, Saratoga Group

10. Modern, Long-Lasting Systems And Materials

For buyers nearing retirement, I tend to recommend properties that will have more predictable and consistent maintenance and carrying costs. Look for newer construction with efficient systems and modern materials with longer lifespans, such as composite decking, metal roofing, radiant heating, solar and smart home technologies. First-floor master bedrooms and fenced yards for pets are best. – Yana Nirshberg, Haus Mortgage

11. Adjacent Hotels And Entertainment Options

I believe a condo residence that may be connected or adjacent to a hotel is a great place to retire because you get the best of both worlds. If you want to relax and take it easy, you stay on the condo side but if you’re bored and want some action, you can head to the hotel and use the amenities they have to offer as well. – Robert Rahmanian, REAL New York

12. Accommodates Your Desired Lifestyle

Properties and features are less age-related than a lifestyle. Look at what you love about life. If you love nature, that is likely not going to change much. If you love easy access to dining or shopping, design your life around that. If you don’t like driving in traffic, live to minimize having to drive in it. Consider things like main level living as you age, but put your life first. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Team Texas/Independent Realty


Anna Morrison Lee, a fourth generation Austin resident, has always embraced her family’s core belief in service. You will immediately realize, she brings this dedication to every transaction.

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