Columbus, Ohio is a hidden gem of the Midwest. If you’re looking to buy a new home in retirement, and you haven’t thought about Ohio’s biggest city as a destination, now is the time to do so.
According to rankings from US News, Columbus ranks among the top 100 cities nationwide to be named as one of the best places to retire. The city has something for every retiree – a vibrant food scene, art, music and the typical Midwestern friendliness – all while still being an affordable place to live.
Ready to hit the ground running on the house-hunting process? Keep these four tips in mind to help keep the process as smooth as possible:
1. Consider Your Long-Term Financial Plan
One of the best parts about living in Columbus, OH is the relatively low cost of living compared with other large metro areas. This is especially true for housing costs, which are just $171,075 this year versus $222,408 across the rest of the U.S.
Real estate in Columbus is very reasonable, but it’s important to remember that buying and owning a home comes with ongoing costs and expenses – namely a mortgage, property taxes and maintenance. To ensure you can live comfortably in your new home for years to come, you will need to take a close look at your financial situation. Here are some steps you can take to get a clearer picture of your long term finances:
- 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 stopped working
- Review the property tax situation and other cost of living nuances applicable for Columbus
According to consumer financial services company SmartAsset, the state of Ohio is a tax-friendly destination for retirees – especially those who plan to live on a fixed income. Social Security Income is not taxed, while income from public or private pensions is only partially taxed. If you plan to continue working, you’ll be relieved to hear that income tax is just 2.97%. Additionally, Ohio offers a homestead exemption for eligible older adults. This can produce extra savings. Your real estate agent can help you determine your eligibility for this exemption.
2. Consider the Logistics of Aging in Place
If you are like many retirees – you want your next home to be a home you can stay in for the long haul. This might be easier said than done, but with the right real estate agent, you will be able to find a home with the necessary amenities to make this possible. Your future home will need features that will help you stay there even if your health and mobility needs change. For example, your realtor can help filter your choices to only include one-story homes, which can ensure you will not have to climb stairs to get to your bedroom. Amenities like wide hallways, no-step entryways, and shower grab bars can also help ensure your home will remain appropriate for you in years to come.
3. Consider Other Senior Living Options in Columbus
Living the lifestyle you want in a city you love should be a top priority for retirement, but sometimes, buying and owning a home outright during your Golden Years isn’t the best option. Your needs will undoubtedly change, and you may ultimately require different living arrangements to accommodate these changes.
The idea of managing an entire home could be overwhelming for some retirees. If you feel you fit into this category, you should ask your real estate agent about an active adult living community. These “55-plus” communities offer many amenities – including pools, fitness centers, and transportation options. Living in one of these communities typically requires payment of extra fees, so be sure to discuss these fees with your real estate agent prior to deciding on any given community.
If, at some point, your health and mobility needs change to the point where you cannot live fully on your own, you can consider moving into an assisted living facility. There are many highly-rated communities in the Columbus area – each offering amenities for or seniors who need help with activities of daily living – which can include bathing, dressing, managing medications and keeping up with general housework.
4. Connect with a Reliable Realtor
Having a reliable realtor in your corner can make all the difference when it comes to house hunting for retirement. When finding the right realtor, make sure to ask about their experience in helping senior home buyers find new homes in retirement. You should also make sure you feel fully comfortable discussing your preferences, needs and budget with any prospective realtor candidly.
Seeking more valuable advice on how to maximize your real estate experience? Call the Alfriend Group today to get started!