Retirement and aging mean something different than they used to. Our attitudes toward it are changing. At one point, it was seen as inevitable that aging just meant decline, an inability to fend for yourself, and eventually, being put into a home. Now, though, we feel that your golden years are a time to keep on learning, to explore, to enjoy life, and above all, to live with independence and dignity. This change is being reflected in how we arrange our houses, and how people retrofit their homes for the elderly. As a fix-and-flip professional, knowing how to make these adjustments could be key to succeeding in a growing market.

As we talked about on Monday, the retirement home market is exploding, thanks to Boomers retiring. There are a lot of places in California, like Santa Barbara, Riverside, and Malibu that are ideal for an aging population. But once you have bought property there, what should you do with it? What residential rehab renovations should you make with your hard money loan from Socotra so that you are able to target an older market? Knowing what to do can be the difference between making a sale and holding onto a property past the point of profitability.

Retrofitting for the Elderly

What is is that older people need in a house in order to maintain independence for as long as possible? It is a mix of convenience, safety, and security. This can take a few different forms:

Physical Convenience

It’s no slight to say that as we age little things start to get harder (most people begin to realize this around the age of 33, when getting out of bed first brings weird pangs and creaks). For the elderly, of course, this is much more pronounced. There are a list of things that renovators can do for an elderly retrofit, including:

  • Higher toilet seats to make standing up easier.
  • Grabber bars in the bathroom.
  • More lighting (with options to turn multiple lights on or off)
  • Light switches no more than four feet high
  • Unobstructed switches (such as fuseboxes- these should be immediately and easily accessible)
  • Sturdy railings
  • Wider doorways (for maneuvering through with a wheelchair or walker)
  • Movable chair in the shower, so home-owners don’t have to stand. (Many seats are on the other side of the shower from the nozzle, which makes them impractical for many.)

A great thing about these retrofits is that they appeal to the elderly without turning away any other buyer. Even grabber bars, which might not be used, aren’t inconvenient, and they can be very easily removed. But having them there when retirees come in to look at the house is an instant sign that you have their potential needs in mind.

High Tech Security and Safety

It isn’t all physical convenience, of course. You have to make the renovated house tech-enabled, for two reasons. One is that Boomers have adapted incredibly quickly to the tech revolution, and won’t want a house that isn’t properly wired. A smart home is exactly the kindof house that can appeal to a well-off Boomer retiree. What do we mean by that? A smart house can include a Nest thermostat that learns how to adjust itself based on temp and needs, smart lights that turn on and off depending on what is needed, a security system that can lock or unlock itself with your phone, or even automatically, and other items that are ready to program.

A smart house can learn to adjust to your voice. You can tell it to turn the heat up or down, or to turn on the TV, or to make coffee. If it is properly wired, you can make it a communication center to easily talk to the whole world.

What’s neat about this is what is convenient for some is a matter of great safety and security for others. For  the elderly, a smart house can be a huge boon. Being able to live in a house that can learn and adapt and handle crucial things like heat, lights, and security guarantees more independence. It is less to worry about, helps provide safety, and allows the elderly to feel more comfortable in their own homes.

So when looking at a growing market, there are many things you can do to make it more appealing. Using your residential rehab loan from Socotra to implement a mix of high-and-low tech solutions can turn your property into a retiree dream home. Contact us today to find out more!