• Dolly Lopez

4 House Hunting Tips for Seniors in Louisville

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

The retirement years are considered an exciting stage of life for many people. Upon leaving the workforce you have the freedom to choose a new place to live, and that choice can be based almost entirely on your preferences. If Louisville is not already on your short list of potential retirement destinations, it needs to be added.

Louisville is located on the northern border of the Commonwealth of Kentucky - affectionately called the “Bluegrass State.” Thanks to the Commonwealth's location, people in Louisville are known for their mix of southern hospitality and Midwestern warmth. Retirees quickly find their place within this welcoming environment, and they can enjoy the wide array of urban amenities. The city boasts museums, most notably the Kentucky Derby Museum, as well as parks, restaurants, distilleries and a vibrant music scene. It is, by most accounts, a perfect place for retirees.

Ready to start house hunting for your retirement? Read on for a few tips to help keep the process as seamless as possible

1. Consider Your Budget Before Targeting Dream Homes

It should not come as a surprise that your budget should be a top of mind concern when house hunting - especially when it comes to house hunting for your retirement. While searching, you have to keep in mind that affording a house requires more than just accounting for the down payment and mortgage. You will need to review your financial situation as a whole to determine if you will be able to manage the cost of buying and owning a new home for the long haul. This can be tricky for retirees who plan to live on their fixed income.

Some steps you can take to get a clearer picture of your long term finances include:

● Evaluating your eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid for your present or future health expenses

● Checking in on your 401k or other retirement plans to calculate your expected monthly income after you’ve left your career

● Review the property tax situation and other cost of living nuances applicable for Louisville

Retiring somewhere tax-friendly with a low cost of living can stretch your earnings enough that you can retire a few years early - and Louisville is among the most affordable cities for retirement. Consumer finance company SmartAsset ranks Louisville #5 on the list of most affordable cities in the US for retirees - earning especially high marks in affordability of healthcare and state and local tax rate. The Commonwealth of Kentucky does not tax income from Social Security, and other forms of retirement income (pension income, 401(k) or IRA income) are exempt up to a total of $31,110 per person. Kentucky also has a sales tax of 6%, which is below the national average and far below the sales tax rates in neighboring states.

2. Ensure Your Prospective Home is Senior-Friendly

An important consideration seniors need to keep in mind when buying a home for their retirement is how appropriate that home will be down the road. Changing health and mobility needs may ultimately limit your ability to move through or take care of your home in a safe manner. Ideally, any home you choose will be appropriate for you through the years to come.

To avoid having to move within a few years of buying a home, you should work with your real estate agent to ensure any prospective homes you go to look at have amenities that will allow you to age in place. Amenities to target include:

● One story floor plan/layout

● Shower grab bars

● No-step entryways

● Wide hallways

● If there’s any lawn, it should be small

3. Explore Other Senior Living Options in Louisville

Owning a home during the golden years of retirement is not for everyone. Even if you decide that buying a house isn’t right for you, you can still retire in Louisville and enjoy all the benefits the Commonwealth of Kentucky has to offer.

One such option is a retirement community, which is ideal for seniors who want to own a home and stay independent, but do not want to be responsible for managing the full maintenance of their property. Buying into one of these communities often comes with extra fees, however, so you’ll want to run through the specific financial obligations of each community with your real estate agent prior to visiting them.

If you think you will need help managing your activities of daily living, you may be better suited from an assisted living facility. There are over 30 top-rated communities in Louisville and more nearby. These facilities offer more specialized health services and they always have someone on staff to help manage any emergencies you may experience.

4. Connect with a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent

Finding a real estate you feel comfortable with is a crucial component of a successful house hunting experience - especially if you’re relocating from another city to Louisville. Ask prospective realtors if they’ve been trained in helping senior homebuyers in the 50-plus age range, and have transparent conversations about what you’re looking for in a new home, including budget and timeline.

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