What is an Active Adult Retirement Community?
Retirement communities are age-restricted and often located near metropolitan areas or nearby suburbs. The minimum age is typically 55, with one member of the household qualifying. Some communities restrict ownership to those age 62 and older, and all occupants must be at least 62. Driving by, though, you might think it's just another subdivision.
Many are gated and private. Homes are closer together and lot sizes smaller. Most of the homes are based on particular models, so they tend to resemble each other. Almost all offer a laundry list of activities and amenities.
Senior Living in Style: Amenities
Home owners in active adult retirement communities pay into a homeowner's association, which cares for the grounds and handles maintenance. Part of the homeowner association fees pays for such amenities as:
- Club House
- 18-Hole Golf Courses
- Fitness Centers
- Swimming Pools and Spas
- Arts & Crafts Centers
- Billiards and Card Rooms
- Tennis Courts
- Basketball Courts
- Continuing Education Classrooms
- Hiking & Biking Trails
- High-Tech Media Centers
- Banquet and Ballrooms
Benefits to Seniors Living
Why move out of a perfectly comfortable home that has served you well for a decade or more and into a retirement community filled with strangers? There are plenty of benefits that lure seniors into these 55-plus subdivisions.
- Single-story living.
One level means those facing troubled knees or aching bones aren't forced to climb stairs.
- Birds of a feather.
Your neighbors are unlikely to be screaming teenagers on skateboards; they are people just like you.
- Little or no yard maintenance.
The homeowner association mows lawns, waters gardens, trims trees, sweeps walks and, in areas where it's needed, provides snow and ice removal.
- Resort living.
Fun-filled activities are located within walking distance or an easy commute. All fees are included.
- Mix work with play.
Many of today's seniors are not ready to live a life of 100% leisure and want to continue working or perhaps start a new career. Homes in retirement communities generally include an office, den or separate workspace.
Buying a Home in an Active Adult Community
Buying a home in a newly built senior living complex or subdivision is no different than buying from a builder. You might want to hire your own real estate agent to represent you, an experienced agent who understands 55-plus communities. Here are more tips:
- Arrange your own financing. You might get a better deal over the builder's lender.
- Get a home inspection, even if the home is brand new.
- Talk to the neighbors before you buy.
- Come back on the weekends. Visiting grandchildren can be noisy.
- Question the homeowner association documents and read meeting minutes.
- Ask about utilities and other associated costs of ownership.
- If you have questions about seller disclosures, hire a lawyer.
- Consult with a tax accountant to determine if the purchase fits your retirement plans.
- Ask for a home warranty plan.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.