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Retirees’ Guide to House Hunting in Durham

Thinking of buying a new home for your retirement? You’re definitely not alone. According to the recent report “ Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report ” by the National Association of Realtors, people between the ages of 52 to 61 made up 16% of home purchases, while older adults between 62 and 70 made up 14% of recent homebuyers. So the question is – where to?

If you haven’t already considered Durham, North Carolina – you really should! U.S. News ranked Durham among the top 15 best places to retire in the U.S. – and it’s easy to see why. Home to Duke University, and only 15 minutes from UNC Chapel Hill, Durham is best known as a college town. It is also quickly becoming known as a “foodie” town and local restaurants and craft breweries abound! The pace is relatively slow and the vibe is quaint and liberal. Durham experiences mild winters with hardly any snow, if any at all – which makes it an ideal location for retirees looking to escape the colder winters of the Northeast.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are among the seniors ready to downsize and find a new home for retirement:

Take the Time to Establish a New Budget (and Stick to it!)

This process isn’t as obvious as you may think. You’ll need to have a solid sense of what kind of mortgage payment you’ll be comfortable with during the years after leaving your career job…and how should you adjust current savings plans for the future? The good news for those looking for a retirement home in the Durham market is that housing is affordable.

Durham offers better value than many similarly-sized metropolitan areas. The median home value in Durham is $221,7000, which is just a hair over the overall national median price of $221,500. This is a good number when considering the many amenities and conveniences Durham offers for its dwellers. The property taxes are relatively low in Durham, with the current tax rate being 1.23%. At this rate, for a median value home, you can expect to pay $2,727 in annual taxes.

Be Strategic About Home Amenities

Partnering with an experienced real estate agent can help you target the best homes for your needs and preferences for the years to come. Perhaps you plan to travel more? Your children aren’t living at home so you have less need for a large yard for playing in? School district is no longer as important as local restaurants, museums, parks and sporting events? Examples of senior-friendly home and neighborhood amenities include:

  • One story floor plans or Master bedrooms on the first floor

  • Open floor plans with extra floor space for entertaining

  • Bathrooms with safety features, such as shower rails

  • Easy access to major highways or RDU Airport for traveling

  • Smaller yards or low-maintenance living options

Consider Alternative Living Options in Durham

One option for seniors moving to Durham for retirement is an active adult community – also referred to as a “55-plus community.” These planned neighborhoods are perfect for older adults who want to remain independent but would rather avoid the high maintenance parts of homeownership. As a bonus, many of these communities also offer luxury and enjoyable amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness centers and happy hours for residents to enjoy their time to the fullest. You can relax and enjoy the sun without worrying about the huge lawn. 

If you have an aging parent you’d like to remain close to, there are a host of assisted living facilities and other senior care options in the Durham area. These facilities can provide peace of mind for people who currently need or may soon need assistance with activities of daily living.

Ready to House Hunt in Durham?

If you have any other questions or would like more information about living in Durham, contact The Perry Group! We’re passionate about the real estate market want to provide you with the best local content and additional professional services, if and when your situation requires it. We look forward to earning your trust and respect through our ‘on-call’ level of service and our extensive local knowledge. Let’s get started!


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