Delaware is a retirement hot-spot. Our sandy beaches, proximity to urban cities and generally low property tax rates make it an ideal spot to retire. If you are planning to purchase a retirement home in Delaware, consider the following tips:

If you are taking out a loan, consider buying your retirement home five to ten years before you retire

Unless you are buying your retirement home with cash, you will need to qualify for a mortgage. If your current home has a mortgage, the bank will consider that debt when determining whether to give you a second mortgage. Most people’s incomes fall after retirement, making it harder to qualify for a second mortgage.

If you are financing, classify the property as a second home, not an investment property

It can be harder to get loans for investment properties. Loans for investment properties also often have higher interest rates and require larger down payments. For example, many investment loans require a 20 or 25 percent down payment.

Look at the property like an investment

While it’s true that your retirement home should meet all your retirement dreams, you still need to be smart about the decision. Homes in certain areas – such as beachfront properties – tend to retain their value and appreciate faster. Properties in walkable neighborhoods with shopping and restaurants nearby and other amenities also tend to be good investments.

Real estate can be a great investment, especially if you are hoping to leave a legacy for your children. Make sure you choose a home that will hold its value, not be too costly to maintain and will increase in value over the years.

Choose a low-maintenance home

If your retirement plans involve travel, or living in more than one location, consider a condo or other low-maintenance property. Being able to lock the door and take off for six months without worrying about – or paying for – lawn service and other exterior upkeep is invaluable.

Think about the future

People are living today longer than ever before. Your needs and abilities as a 55 or 65- year-old will be greatly different in 15 or 20 years. Consider buying a one-level home so you won’t be required to walk up and down flights of stairs as you age. Also consider proximity to doctors and other health care professionals, as well as family.