Why 55+ Home Buyers Should Build Custom Homes

An elderly couple smiling at the camera as they hold hands and stand in front of their home.

Enjoy your morning coffee and newspaper in the sunny breakfast nook. Prepare lunch at the kitchen island. You may realize you’re out of bread, but it’s no problem because the grocery store is just a few blocks away. When friends and family visit, everyone gathers in your spacious living room or on the back patio. There is always plenty of room for everyone’s coats in the closet. Everything is just the way you want it, because you designed it that way!

Does this sound like a dream come true?

For many buyers over the age of 55, this is a dream come true. At some point between age 55 and retirement, many find themselves moving to a new home. Maybe the kids are grown and gone, or their current home no longer fits their lifestyle. And when it comes time to find a new nest, this demographic is increasingly choosing to build custom. NewHomeSource is exploring why this is – and why a custom home may be perfect for you if you are entering your golden years.

Why Custom Homes Are a Great Fit for 55+ Home Buyers

Most 55+ buyers have been homeowners before and by now, they know exactly what they want in a home. Lauren McKinney, a realtor at Judd Builders in Arden, N.C., says that buyers at this stage in life may feel more financially stable, so they know what they want and they can afford it. Building a custom home lets you start with a “blank canvas” says McKinney. Buyers get to build their dream by having control over the design from top to bottom.

Adjustments for aging in place. McKinney lists some of the most popular features a custom builder can work with buyers on: Zero-step entrances, wheelchair accessible doorways, handicap-friendly bathrooms, and technology to make it easier to turn lights and devices on and off.

No need for remodeling. Instead of paying to remodel an existing home, many 55+ and retired buyers are opting to build a new custom home. Francine DiFilippo Kent, a certified appraiser and 68-year old homeowner in Florida says that replacement costs for things like windows, roofs, bathrooms, and kitchens quickly deterred her from modifying an existing home.

Customize your floor plan. Sunroom, reading room, breakfast nook, man cave or craft room - whatever it is you’re looking for, you can have it when you build custom. DiFilippo Kent and her partner had very specific needs and wants for their new home, such as wider hallways, a covered breezeway, and a library that could double as a guest room. The “cookie cutter” design of many homes they looked at didn’t have all the right features.

Possibility for a smaller home. Many production homes are built with the young and growing family in mind. For people who don’t fit that life stage, the average existing home size is often too large. With a custom home, you can build whatever size footprint the lot allows, big or small, based on what you really need.

Choose your ideal amenities. High ceilings, natural light, security features, covered outdoor spaces, energy-efficient technology, and storage space are some of the most common requests of the 55+ crowd. Location is also an important factor, as these folks demand a safe neighborhood with lots of amenities nearby.

In the end, this buyer demographic is happy when they don’t have to settle for something that’s not everything they want. You don’t have to settle either, build custom!

Rebecca Rosenberg is an international digital media consultant and freelance writer.

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