If you plan to be in a house through retirement, the factors involved will change. You will want to make sure that the home will be accommodating to all of the needs that will come up over the years. Here are some things to think about.
Which Location Is Best?
You may have dreamed of being in a specific location during retirement. That is often somewhere warm or near the beach; many people share that dream. If the property is also in an affordable real estate market, that's another big plus. However, you will also probably want to be accessible to family, both to see them more frequently in retirement, and to get help if you should have a health issue. If you can't be close to family and still fulfill the other goals that you have for your new home, at least try to choose a location that is near an airport with affordable and quick connections to the rest of your family; certain airports are better hubs than others.
How Big Should the Home Be?
Size is another thing that takes some balance. You probably don't want to have a humongous home that will take a lot of effort to clean and navigate. But you may wish to have at least one spare bedroom for friends and family to easily visit you often.
What Accessibility Features Should it Have?
You might not want to think about accessibility right now. But if you want this home to last the rest of your life, it's at least worth thinking about whether the home would support the addition of accessibility features. Homes with wide hallways and long stretches of wall space make for easy walkways that could support a railing or a chair lift.
What Features Does the Community Have?
It's not just about the home itself; a great community for retirees should have active people in your age range. It should also support social services and community activities for older adults. Ideally, it would also have good public transportation and not be too crowded or fast paced. Whatever it is you value in a community, do a bit of sleuthing to see what the community could offer you. And also don't be afraid to reach out to your real estate agent so that they can help you pick areas and properties that will balance your budget, your goals for your home, and your goals for your new community.