55+ communities are becoming increasingly popular throughout the country. Once primarily found in retirement cities, the idea of a neighborhood filled with residents who are over a certain age has appealed to many. Though many homebuyers are grandparents and parents who love spending time with their children and grandchildren, having a community with many like-minded neighbors is a great way to meet new people, spend time with friends and enjoy peace and quiet.
Struggling to find the right place to settle down in and live, when you are ages 55 and over?
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Here is the ultimate guide to buying a home within a community for ages 55+!
Know your area
Many of us wonder where we want to spend our retirement, or where we should live leading up to retirement as we reach the age of 55. Many questions arise of what to be near; which types of amenities will be needed, are hospitals close enough, doctor offices, dental clinics, grocery stores, shops, what age group will your neighbors be, honestly the list goes on. And the questions continue, as you learn about what you want and need in your life based on your age and lifestyle.
What defines an active adult community?
Adult communities are not much different than any other residential community, aside from age requirement. Most are designed with a retirement-friendly, low maintenance lifestyle. Communities ages 55 and up are usually comprised of single-family homes, multi-family homes, condominiums or even townhouses! All of which are owned, instead of the typical rented option. These 55 and over areas are built around restaurants, parks, shopping centers, clinics and more so residents can still live an active and lively lifestyle well into their retirement years.
Maintenance and upkeep of these homes within these communities are within the responsibilities of the homeowners, however, there are some low-maintenance exterior services provided which are paid through the monthly homeowners' association dues (HOA). This allows the residents to focus on other parts of their retirement and enjoy life, without the extra care and burden of maintaining the exterior of their home. Other than the HOA dues (homeowners' association) and of course their mortgage payment (if applicable at that point in their lives!), there are no other monthly fees required within an active adult community.
Adult communities do not have dining facilities included within the establishment for their residents, such as a senior home would offer. Healthcare services are also not provided, however, the dues paid to the HOA usually will pay for certain communal amenities like;
- Golf courses
- Tennis courts
- Activity centers
And more! These shared facilities really do make community living feel like a true 'stay-cation'.
When considering buying a home in a 55+ age community, there are many options out there and it is best to ensure you are reviewing both the pros and the cons of these potential choices. As there are advantages and disadvantages with any major decisions such as purchasing a home, here are some pros and cons you may want on your list when looking into your options!
Minimal to zero maintenance on the exterior of the property: This is one of the highest reasons many choose to purchase in an adult community, when retired or transitioning into retirement. After many years of maintaining your lawn; raking leaves, shoveling or snow-blowing, painting, taking care of a possible pool on your own, etc… the thought of not needing to continue this type of maintenance, is very attractive! Even downsizing has its appeal after possibly raising a family or having a larger home when it was probably more useful at a younger age. The ability to clean a smaller space and still live quite comfortably, without also needing to take care of everything else, outside the home on top of this- is very appealing indeed!
The opportunity to make friends and enjoy social gatherings: As your family, including grandkids, are welcome to visit the community it is nice to know, you will live amongst other fellow retirees and the type of lifestyle is a quiet and peaceful one. Raising a potential family, working hard for many years and maybe even dealing with loud, noisy neighbors for many pre-retirement years; the option to have a peaceful living space and area with other retirees welcomes a whole new relaxed retirement, where new friendships can flourish and grow with many others.
A mostly kid-free environment: As your friends and family are welcome to visit of course, the 55+ age community has requirements where quiet surroundings are a must and therefore any younger visitors such as your adult children, or grandchildren are required and encouraged to respect this and remain with low levels of noise and gatherings.
The Amenities: The 55+ adult community can provide many exciting yet low-key amenities to get exercise, socialize, make new friends, host or attend events and/or gatherings. This is a great way to stay in an active environment and not be locked up indoors bored, wondering how to spend your new abundance of time, after 30 plus years of work. In addition to this, residents will often organize social events, clubs, volunteer groups or even possibly have outside entertainment/ events come into the community, so you and your fellow retirees can find other ways to stay involved and active.
Lack of diversity in age: The adult communities normally require just one of the residents per home, to be at least the age of 55 or older, because of this there can be a common lack of age diversity within the community. This can place a damper on things for some people as they take these types of homes and living into consideration, although on average not too many young adults choose to live in these communities either.
Family members cannot take advantage of your real estate investment: As many people do live year-round, some are part-time residents of their 55+ age community and travel or relocate to warmer locations during the winter (also known as; snowbirds) and live in the community for just a portion of the year. This being said, if you do happen to view your property within the adult community as a real estate investment it is said to also know, that your adult children or other potential family members under the age of 55 will not be allowed or permitted to use the property or live in it, without a senior present.
Care services are not included: These adult communities do not provide healthcare services and do not have any type of assistance related to medical needs, as part of the HOA dues fee. Therefore, there are no healthcare facilities or doctors on-site; as there may be the opportunity for arranged in-home healthcare if needed and the community may even have a third party option available for these types of services, the adult community itself would not fall under the same category as an old age home, thus not providing these options directly to its residents.
This is just a small list and of course, is very far from being comprehensive; likely you will add other types of pros and cons based on personal needs and lifestyle. Note also that some 55+ communities are structured differently and based on the retirement community as a whole; an example would be (under the pro list) social events and a range of different amenities to encourage and foster positive mental health benefits and physical well being and activity, are offered.
So, is a 55+ age community the right choice for you?
As more people reach the age of retirement, active adult communities are becoming more and more popular. Purchasing a home in these areas births the idea of an ideal living situation, where those who do not view themselves as "old folks" just yet can enjoy all that a senior community offers! The facilities alone create an attractive lifestyle of, ditching external home care and chores you may have had previously and instead, introducing a wide range of options for residents so they can do more of the things they love and enjoy.
To reflect just a small starter list; here is a list of the top 10, 55+ communities in the United States of America:
1. On Top of the World- Ocala, FL.
Price Range: Below $100k- Low $400s
- One of the best in all of America
- High turnover for selling your home
- Wide variety of home styles
- Affordable home prices
- Low cost of living in Ocala
- A strong selection of amenities
- Always evolving
2. The Villages- The Villages, FL
Price Range: High $100s- High $1 Million(s)
- A pristine environment
- Hundreds of restaurants
- Multiple options in entertainment
- Access to golfing
- Hundreds of shops
- Not much of a need, to no need for driving a car
3. Solivita- Kissimmee, FL
Price Range: Mid $100s- Mid $500s
- Surrounded by natural areas, parks and lakes
- Close to downtown Orlando
- Several amenity complexes
- Several pools
- Golf club
- Cooking demonstrations, amongst other types of entertainment
4. Latitude Margaritaville - Daytona Beach, FL
Price Range: Low $200s-Low $500s
- Inspired by music
- New homes
- A town square restaurant and bar
- Fitness center
- Resort-style pool
- Private beach homes
5. Sun City Texas - Georgetown, TX
Price Range: Low $200s- Low 1Million(s)
- Prime location
- Resort-style amenities
- Attached and single-family homes
- Wide range in prices for buyers
- A large variety in activities
- 18-hole golf course
- Nine miles of trails
- Six pickleball courts
- Gardening plots
- A dog park and more…
6. Sun City Hilton Head - Bluffton, SC
Price Range: $100s- Mid $1 Million(s)
- Wide range in home prices
- Coastal spot in South Carolina
- Around 100 different floor plans for both attached and single-family homes
- Resort-style amenities
- Fishing lake
- Golf course
- 45-acre town center
7. Sun City Huntley - Huntley, IL
Price Range: Mid $100s- High $500s
- Condo options
- Attached and single-family homes with modern floor plans
- Amenities throughout the community vs. all in one town square
- Mountain view lodge
- Woodworking shop
- Wide range in outdoor amenities
8. Sun City - Sun City, AZ
Price Range: Below $100k- High $800s
- Operates more like a town
- 60 plus years thus original and innovative floor plans
- Offers easy access to medical care options
- Newer homes available
- Condo options
- Different amenities and lifestyle options
9. Laguna Woods Village - Laguna Woods, CA
Price Range: Mid $100s- Mid $1Million(s)
- Wide range in home prices
- A large community with over 12,000 homes
- Large amenity space
- Located in the heart of Orange County
- Seaside parks and beaches
10. Province - Maricopa, AZ
Price Range: High $100s- High $500s
- Large outdoor space
- An impressive outdoor space
- Walking and biking trails
- Located on the edges of Phoenix
With countless options and opportunities, the right home and community to retire in is just around the corner for you and your partner or even, a lifelong best friend to live next door to! All within reach, and with this helpful guide, you are well on your way to settling into a 55+ community with grace.
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