I make a list when I have a big decision to make. It helps me think through my options even if I don’t actually use the list to make my final choice. If you are planning to make a move in anticipation of retirement or a change of career, how do you choose the right community in which to buy a home?
Moving to a community where everyone is new to the area is particularly attractive to many boomers. If you have been moved around during your career, you know that it can be difficult to be the newcomers when everyone else has known each other forever.
But let’s talk specifically about whether or not an active adult or age-restricted community is right for you. Active adult communities are all the rage and each new one seems to offer more amenities than the last. Depending on the community, the minimum age is typically 50 to 55 or over. Some allow a certain percentage of homeowners to be younger as long as there are no children living at home under the age of 19. How about visitors? Can your family visit? Yes, but check the restrictions to see how long your grandchildren will be able to stay with you and when they are allowed to use the community pool.
When someone tells me that they do not want to live where there are any children; that tells me they are potential for an age-restricted community. But there are also communities here in Coastal Delaware that have naturally appealed to couples whose children are grown and the average age is similar to that of an active adult community. Would that work for you? So, how do you make your list?
As always, start with what you enjoy doing. Do you play golf, love the beach or prefer gardening in your own backyard? Are you a social person who loves to get together with a group of friends on a regular basis? Would you rather live in a smaller home in order to be close to the beach or do you want a brand new home in a community with all the amenities right there?
Some of these decisions are easy. Close to the beach, on a golf course, in a town or cultural center – but others are more difficult. What do you do if you want to be in an age-restricted community full of compatible active adults just like you BUT you want a larger lot that backs to the woods? What if you want a fenced back yard for your dogs? Some communities do not allow fences. Do you want all the amenities but you’re concerned about the monthly fees and how much they might increase over time?
We’re back to making that list. Start with the “must haves”, then proceed to the “nice to haves” and don’t forget to list the “absolutely nots”. Most important, do a budget and determine what you are willing to pay for when you stop working 24/7. Everyone wants to find the perfect house in the perfect community, but if you can’t describe what that is then how will you find it!
Finally, get professional help and share your list with your Realtor®. That will help him or her focus on the towns, communities and properties most likely to be a good fit. Choose a Realtor who is trained as a Buyer Representative and a Seniors Real Estate Specialist especially if you are relocating to a new area and choosing a home to live in for the rest of your life.