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The decision about what city to live in for retirement is not one that should be taken lightly - especially if you intend on buying a new home. Chicago is a world-class city with many great amenities. The combination of Midwestern charm and urban convenience and excitement is not something you can find just anywhere. Below you’ll find just a few of the reasons why Chicago is an ideal place for retirees settle down for their Golden Years:


You’re Close to Many Healthcare Options


Even if you feel perfectly healthy right now, your health status is something you should always be thinking about. Aging comes with a lot of health changes - many of which can prove dangerous if left unaddressed. The best way to mitigate any of the risks that come with aging is to live as close to good healthcare facilities as possible.


Proximity to good healthcare is crucial. Luckily, two Chicago hospitals, Northwestern University Memorial Hospital and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, landed on IBM Watson’s 2018 ranking of best hospitals in America. A few others on the list are within close driving distance of Chicago, so if you ultimately opt for a Chicago suburb, you could have even more healthcare options.


Review the Tax Situation in Chicago


When it comes time to establish your price range for buying a home in Chicago, you should keep in mind that you will be paying more than just the face-value cost. You’ll need to cover home maintenance needs down the road, as well as property and sales taxes. Laying out the full scope of the taxes you will and will not be burdened with in Chicago can help you figure out the true cost of living in the city. It’s important to note that Illinois is home to some of the highest property and sales tax rates you’ll find in the US. The property tax rate is 2.25%, while the sales tax rate is 10.25%.


Living in Illinois does have some tax benefits, however. The state exempts nearly all types of retirement income from taxation. This includes income from Social Security, pension income or income from retirement savings accounts.


You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do in Chicago


One of the greatest things about your Golden Years is getting more time to focus on things that bring you joy. According to WalletHub, Chicago is among the top 100 cities across America for retirees - largely due to its #10 ranking overall for things to do and entertainment. Hyde Park, Millenium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and Navy Pier are just some of the world-famous places you can spend your free time in Chicago.


Think About What Design Elements You’ll Need to “Age in Place”


Buying a home in retirement is different than buying a home during your younger years. Your health considerations and potential mobility limitations are two things you will need to keep at the forefront of your home buying decision-making process. The best way to ensure your next home will remain appropriate for you in years to come to target homes with “Universal Design” amenities.


Universal design elements help make a home friendly for retirees in both the short and long term. Amenities you and your real estate agent should look for include:


  • Walk-in showers, preferably with a balance bar

  • No-step entryways for the home

  • Ranch style floor plan (no staircases)

  • Wide hallways and doorways

  • Low counters and sinks in case you ever need to be in a wheelchair


Review Different Senior Living Options in Chicago


Chicago is home to many different senior living options in case you one day decide you need a change of pace.


If you can still get around on your own and remain in decently good health, but don’t want to take care of a house completely on your own any more, you can choose to move to an active adult living community in Chicago. These senior living communities are designed to accommodate the needs and preferences of people 55 years of age or older. Beyond things like snow removal and landscaping services, many active adult communities offer luxury amenities for retirees to enjoy, including fitness centers, transportation and organized happy hours. An important thing to remember is that residing in a 55-plus community typically includes extra fees, most notably a homeowners association fee. Make sure to discuss these potential fees when reviewing these communities with your real estate agent.  


If your health is declining a bit, or if you feel like you may need help getting around safely, you can consider moving into an assisted living facility. There are many assisted living communities throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Assisted living facilities are a great choice for retirees who need help with certain activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, bathing, keeping their medication organized and performing general housework duties.


If you decide that buying a house for your retirement in Chicago is indeed right for you, make sure to contact The Mike Zapart Group as you get started. We are a team of experienced, licensed real estate agents serving the Chicago, IL metro area. With a proven track record of getting results quickly and a direct line of communication at all times, you can be sure your house hunting experience is everything will be everything you are hoping it will be.