Considering Buying A House In A 55+ Community? 3 Things To Do

Posted on: 24 March 2017

If you're at or approaching retirement age and looking to relocate, you've probably at least considered the possibility of buying a home in a 55+ community. These age-restricted communities come in many forms, such as condos, apartments, mobile homes, and single-family homes. The one thing they all have in common is that they cater to the needs of seniors. If you think that a senior community might be the right place for you to settle in, take a look at some things you should do when touring communities.

Meet The Neighbors

Assessing the personality of the neighborhood you're moving to is always nice, if you can do it. But when you're working a full time job and raising a family, you may be too busy for frequent interactions with the neighbors (and they may be too busy as well) so it's not absolutely necessary that you meet and like the people you'll be living near.

Moving to a retirement community is a different proposition. If you're retired, you'll have a lot more free time than you used to, and most of your neighbors are likely to be in the same position. You're going to be seeing these people around. These communities also tend to offer a lot of communal amenities and community activities. Participating can be a lot of fun, but it's important that you like the people you'll be living near. Get a feel for the community before you commit to it.

Read The Fine Print

Like many gated communities, people who live in 55+ communities often agree to certain restrictions in order to live in the community. However, the restrictions are sometimes more stringent in retirement communities than in other types of gated communities. It's important to make sure you know what you're agreeing to and whether or not you can live with it.

For example, pets may be banned or restricted to only certain animals or certain breeds. There may be rules about how many vehicles you can have on your property and where you can park them. Noise restrictions are common, and some communities even ban things like outdoor grilling and cigar smoke. There may even be rules about how many guests you can have and how long they can stay. Usually, the goal of all of these rules is to ensure a quiet, pleasant community for all, but some people find them too restrictive. You need to know what to expect before you buy in.

Look for Local Healthcare Options

Some 55+ communities have medical facilities on-site or provide some level of medical care. However, many do not. Even if you don't need it right now, it's important to know what your options are for local healthcare. How far away is the nearest hospital? Is there public transportation that's accessible if you needed to get to the doctor's (or anywhere else) and couldn't drive yourself?

If you're house shopping in an area with many seniors and senior communities, you may find local physicians who are willing to make house calls. If the community you're considering is remote and far from any hospital, it should at least have a helipad so that an airlift can be done in an emergency. Don't make the mistake of thinking you'll never need these services. Choosing a community that gives you easy access to healthcare services could be a lifesaver.

A good real estate agent can help you narrow your search of 55+ communities. With a list of your preferences, they'll be able to guide you to the communities that match, so you don't waste time with communities that don't meet your needs.