BY KAREN LIBIN, KL REALTY
If you’re “of a certain age” (wince!) and buying a home, you’ll want to think about how well it will work for you when you retire, whether that’s right around the corner or down the road. Boulder County is a great place for retirees with its abundance of sunshine, outdoor activities, entertainment options, vibrant community, and top-notch medical facilities. When buying a home you’ll retire in, consider what you’ll want and need in the future when your lifestyle will change and you may encounter physical challenges. Points to ponder:
Where do you want to live?
Do you want to live in town close to the action and hustle and bustle, out in the country with the peace and quiet, or in the mountains away from it all? Within a few miles and a few minutes we have several extremely different environments in which to live.
Type of home
Do you want to live in a condo or single-family house? Many long-time homeowners chafe at the thought of sharing walls with neighbors. But people who want very little maintenance work, especially busy travelers, love the idea of no yardwork or snow shoveling. Another option is a single-family house in a planned community where the HOA fee covers all external home maintenance, landscaping work, and snow removal.
Size and layout of home
What size should your home be? Most folks downsize as they no longer have kids at home and want to simplify their lives. Consider how often you entertain, have guests visiting, and if you may have family members living with you at some point. Might you eventually have live-in help? Dens and hobby rooms are also important considerations. More of a concern than square footage is the floorplan. An ideal one has the master bedroom suit on the first floor with separation from the other bedrooms. Basements are wonderful for visiting children and grandchildren. They can be closed off and ignored until needed, but then provide play spaces and privacy.
Oh, sure, a three-story house keeps you in shape now, but what happens if you lose your mobility? Besides a first-floor master suit, other features you should look for include: easy home access (think of bringing groceries in), 36-inch minimum wide hallways, a walk-in shower, covered parking, and easily accessible storage.
How much social interaction do you want and what mix of people do you prefer living near? For instance, some older people dislike being around children; others love it. Do you want to live in a mixed-age neighborhood or something designed for people your age? Often neighborhoods geared toward retirees provide a built-in social network and activities.
Location and transportation
When you retire, how do you want to spend your new-found time? Tinkering around five acres or walking downtown to a coffee shop? When buying a house, think of your proximity to shopping, rec centers/health clubs, medical facilities, family, friends and activities. There may come a time when you should no longer drive. Bus routes are nice to live near. But if one isn’t nearby there’s always Uber.