Blog May 15, 2021

4 Things Seniors Should Keep in Mind When House Hunting in Winston Salem Copy


Ready to find a new home for retirement? As an older adult, you will have a house full of memories to clean up and sell, but the good news is that house-hunting gives you an opportunity to find a home that suits your retirement needs and wants.


Winston-Salem is an ideal place for seniors looking to buy a home and enjoy their retirement. According to rankings from US News, Winston-Salem is among the top 45 cities nationwide to be named as one of the best places to retire. The weather is mild and comfortable almost all year, the overall cost of living is manageable, and the city offers a southern sensibility while still having all the amenities that come with urban life.


Ready to start to house-hunting process? Keep these four tips in mind to help keep the process as smooth as possible:

1. Figure Out Your Budget

If you’re set on Winston-Salem, the good news is that buying a home in Winston-Salem is extremely affordable when compared with most other cities across the US. According to real estate website Zillow, the median price of homes sold in Winston-Salem is $152,500, while the national median price of homes that sold is $229,800.


Even though real estate in the city may be cost-effective, you need to keep in mind that affording a house requires more than just accounting for the down payment and mortgage. You will need to review your financial situation as a whole to determine if you will be able to manage the cost of buying and owning a new home for the long haul.


Some steps you can take to get a clearer picture of your long term finances include:


  • 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 Winston-Salem


Thankfully, according to consumer finance company SmartAsset, Winston-Salem is considered to be tax-friendly for retirees. The state of North Carolina exempts all Social Security retirement benefits from income taxes, while other forms of retirement income are taxed at the state’s flat income tax rate of 5.499%. The state’s property and sales taxes are both moderate.

2. Think About Aging in Place

For many seniors, their home in retirement will ideally be one in which they can stay for the long haul. The best way to ensure this can happen is to talk about the amenities you’ll need based on changing health or mobility needs. Focusing on one-story homes, for example, ensures that 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 Winston-Salem

Getting everything you want and fully enjoying your retirement are top of mind concerns for many seniors, but it’s important to remember that your housing and living needs will likely change as you continue to age. You may require different living arrangements to accommodate for changing health and mobility needs.


If you want to stay independent, but would rather not manage an entire house, an active adult living community could be the right option for you. 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.


For seniors with more intensive needs, an assisted living facility may be the best choice. There are a wide variety of top-rated communities in Winston-Salem and around the  areas.  Assisted living facilities are a great option for seniors who need help with activities of daily living – which can include bathing, dressing, managing medications and keeping up with general housework.

4. Hire a Reliable Realtor

This might seem obvious, but there is a big difference between a realtor and a reliable realtor. Having a reliable realtor is especially important if you are relocating to the Winston-Salem area from elsewhere. Ask prospective realtors if they’ve been trained in helping senior homebuyers in the 50-plus age range, and have transparent conversations about what you’re looking for in a new home, including budget and timeline.


Seeking more valuable advice on how to maximize your real estate experience? Give me a call and let’s get started! Just call 336-575-7249 and ask for Ellen Dudley, your realtor with over 25 years of real estate experience.