My uncle told me he was having a new home built at age 70, and I was surprised. I imagine most of us staying in our homes as we age, but that isn't always the case these days. It's a wonderful privilege to be able to buy a home at any age, and you can do it too!
My uncle is in good health and looks like he's in his 50's. He has a lot of living left in him, and he gets to do it in a new home. Surprisingly, 14% of recent home buyers fall in the 66-74 age range. It's never too late to buy a home. Let's look at some home buying options and tips so you can buy a house at any age, just like my uncle did.
"Buyers 56 to 65 consisted of 18% of recent buyers and buyers 66 to 74 consisted of 14% of recent buyers." - National Association of Realtors®, Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2021
Depending on what's happening in the housing market, most of us will have to compromise when buying a home. Your real estate agent will look at your list of "wants" in a home and do their best to find a home that will check every box, but there will be compromises. You'll get a lot of things on your home-buying wishlist, but some you'll have to go without (ex. inground pool). Did my uncle have to compromise? Yes. He's moving 125 miles from everything he knows, including his friends, and he's ok with that.
While my uncle bought a newly constructed house, a friend of his decided to buy a fixer-upper. Talk about compromising! His friend, let's call him Bob, purchased a home in the area he currently lives in, Hollywood, Florida, and paid just over $325,000. The last reported median price in Hollywood was $356,978, so Bob got a good deal. Or did he? The house is circa 1950's. He gutted it and will likely spend over $100,000 to refurbish it. Doing the math, that brings the cost of the home to over $400,000. So why didn't he find a house at that price point and skip the renovation? He compromised because:
1) Housing inventory is low
2) A $400k house would need some updating too
3) He wanted a house in a specific neighborhood
Bob made some compromises to find a house in his preferred area and at a reasonable price. He will gradually refurbish it over a few years and make it exactly the way he wants it. What are you willing to compromise on to find a house of your own?
- Give up a few "wants"
- Move outside of your preferred area
- Buy a fixer-upper and spend less upfront
Knowing your FICO credit score and how to improve it will help you get into a new home faster. Your credit score determines how likely you are to repay a loan from a lender. The higher your credit score, the more likely you will qualify for a mortgage. Here are a few things that determine your credit score:
- How long have you had credit?
- How much credit do you have?
- How much available credit are you using?
- Are you paying your credit card bill on time?
If you have a low credit score, there are many ways you can improve it. Check out the tips in this article and boost your credit score so you can buy a house.
Real Estate Agent
Talk to a real estate agent about your home buying goals. A real estate agent can help you find a lender so you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. They can show you houses before they ever display on big real estate websites like Zillow. They can explain the details in the buy-sell agreement and help you negotiate the price. There is so much value in utilizing the services of an experienced real estate agent!
- See houses before they appear on sites like Zillow
- Get help understanding the buy-sell agreement
- Get help negotiating your offer on a house
Buying a house is possible at any age, even in your 70's. Be willing to compromise on the list of things you want in a home, know your credit score and how to improve it, and have an experienced real estate agent on your side. When you have all of this lined up, you will find it much easier to buy a house that will meet your needs.
Need help finding a real estate agent? Please send an email to email@example.com or comment below, and we will do our best to find you a preferred agent from our professional network.
Learn more about home buying with our extensive home buying guide: