The 55+ buyer makes up 1/3 of all households in the United States. By 2022, 55 million households will be over 55 years old. With a large portion of home sales going to 55+ buyers, what are their requirements for a new home and how do we meet them while also providing the type of lifestyle they are looking for?

The first thing to remember is that the 55+ buyer is NOT old. The population today is more active and living longer than ever before. Our buyer is young at heart and wants that to shine through in all aspects of their life, including their new home.

Because of this younger frame of mind, builders, designers and marketers have shifted the way they design, merchandise and reach out to the 55+ community. The 55+ home design is not your grandmothers type of house.

More than just downsizing, the 55+ buyer has many reasons why they are motivated to move. Providing a home design that matches their lifestyle and goals for after retirement makes them even more eager to buy new, pack up and make the transition from their prior family home. These buyers are looking forward to the next chapter in their lives and it’s our responsibility as builders and designers to provide them with their dream in the form of a home.

When considering features that the 55+ buyer dreams about in their new home, don’t limit the ideas to just ranch plans with large doors. Expand on their needs by sticking to these key factors:

•    Build fun, bright spaces that shine but are still warm and welcoming.
•    Embrace casual lifestyle living, while creating a stylish place to relax.
•    Provide plenty of storage – the buyer is downsizing but doesn’t want to throw away memorabilia.
•    Gourmet kitchens with plenty of room to entertain are very desirable.
•    Offer a great outdoor living space where buyers can kick back and enjoy leisure time.
•    Make sure your community is close to shopping, dining and entertainment.
•    No more crafting spaces in the laundry room – think modern flex spaces with multiple uses.
•    Rethink your community amenities (for example, replace the tennis court with a community garden or dog wash).
•    Don’t confuse aging with handicap accessibility. Use universal design to maintain a modern aesthetic without making it feel old.
•    Avoid using stairs!
•    Don’t ignore the guest room. This space can be converted to a multitude of uses, as well as an additional place for storage if desired.

Every buyer is different and no two buyers want to exact same features in a home. But, if you keep in mind the type of lifestyle that your 55+ buyer is wanting to accomplish at this phase of their journey and apply it to your design, you’re sure to attract several excited buyers within this thriving market.

For more 55+ home buyer design ideas and how an interior merchandiser can help, please contact us today. And, be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for all kinds of creative interior design ideas.