Considering becoming a first time homebuyer at age 53. Single no kids. Not rich, aggressive retirement savings because I’m a bit short. Not looking for a palace, looking for a sound structure with a bit of nature around that’s got maybe one or two nice-to-haves and the ability to put in some sweat equity and projects (paint, trim, fixtures, lighting, landscaping, the like) to keep my project-loving self busy (I LOVE to take care of whats mine and make improvements so I would probably never rest on my laurels—and never expect to, I’m sure). Not actively house hunting bc of current interest rates. More like house looking at what’s out there to set expectations.
I have worked up my finances to see what I can expect to afford mortgage-payment-wise, with down payment nest egg, while still contributing to retirement, saving for expected and unexpected expenses, and being able to cover taxes, other bills & necessities. I have over 800 credit score. Trying to learn as much as I can while also realizing I don’t know what I don’t know. Probably need to read “First time home buying for dummies” but wonder if that book is written primarily for younger folks with different outlooks. I wish there was “First time home buying for 53-year-old dummies” lol
Is there some common logic around: “you can expect to need X% of the home value (based on things like the age of the home maybe?) of money set aside for yearly repairs/upkeep”?
I’d also need some time to build back up my emergency (read: if I lose my job) fund bc I would be throwing that toward a down payment. And I recognize that is a risk. I’ve been lucky to get sizable yearly bonuses at work so that would help.
Is there “if this home doesn’t have X replaced based on age, don’t buy it” or “if this home DOES have X thing, don’t buy it” or “if you’re X age, don’t live in a remote area where accessing medical care in future years would be difficult” logic?
My 80 year old dad owns a home with a bit of land (read: mowing needed) and nature that i could probably consider (he’s actively planning for a downsized place), but it needs ductwork for AC, and has a rickety wood spiral staircase to the lower walkout level that’s in a terrible location and, if changed to regular stairs somewhere else in the house, it would open up the floor plan significantly and allow for an expansion on the tiny kitchen. I suppose that could be a future plan, but adding AC would be an up front non-negotiable for me. And good internet is a must for remote work. A wood-burning fireplace or wood-burning stove is one of my would-love-to-haves, but that’s also wood cost and I realize, not critical. In short, at least there are knowns about this house my dad has owned for a few decades, it’s in an area I love, it has pros/cons, so I’d know what I was getting myself into with it.
I’m adaptable and not a primadonna, but I feel so much like a complete noob in this area that I could easily not consider something critical in the whole undertaking and be full of woe after a purchase.
Any words of getting-started wisdom for this semi-old badger?