Many adults pay off their mortgage by the time they retire and then remain in the home they own. But what if you've been renting all of this time and only recently, after retiring, have decided you want to purchase a home? Buying a home after retirement is possible, but it can be quite a challenge -- especially you'll need to take out a mortgage in order to do it. Consider these factors to help determine whether this is the right move for you.
Your income may not remain stable over the next 30 years.
You might be able to afford the monthly payment on a 30-year mortgage right now. But consider whether your income will fluctuate in the coming years. If your income is coming from a pension and social security, you may be confident that you'll be bringing in the same amount a few decades down the road. On the other hand, if you're relying on investment income, there's a chance your income will decline in the future, making it harder to make those mortgage payments.
If you do suspect your income may fluctuate, one thing to consider is taking out a shorter-term mortgage, like a 10- or 15-year mortgage. The payments will be a little higher, but you can have more confidence in your ability to pay them because it's easier to predict what will happen to your income over this shorter period.
Your housing needs may change.
If you're 50 or 60 now, you're probably fine living independently in a single-family home. But 15 or 20 years down the road, you may need a little more assistance to get by. Tending to the lawn and caring for an entire home may become a burden, so you may end up selling the home anyways.
You can get a little more "time" out of your home by buying one with few to no stairs. Also consider looking for wide doorways, just in case you or your partner end up requiring a wheelchair before planned. When it comes to space, it's better to under-buy than to over-buy. A few spare bedrooms may sound appealing, but in a few decades, you can bet you won't want to spend time cleaning them.
If you want to spend the next few decades of your life in a home you can call your own, then meet with a real estate and a lender to learn more about your options. If you consider the financial and physical factors that make owning a home as an older adult a challenge, they can help you find the right home for your needs.