Living in Community - Boomer Style

They're On the Move

As the Baby Boomer population hits 65 this year, the move toward a different way of living is on. Retirement communities are popping up everywhere - gorgeous walled cities with golf courses, swimming pools, and fabulous homes. The people who live in these communities are active, adventurous, and inclined to enjoy life. They were kids when the Beatles arrived in North America and they still remember all of the words to Yesterday.

What Is A Retirement Community?

Retirement communities are age-restricted and are usually found just at the edge of the city, or in the suburbs. Typically, the minimum age is 55 and one member of the household has to qualify for that age. There are other communities that require the age to be 62 for both partners, and it's not negotiable. The communities are usually gated with smaller lot sizes and homes that are closer together. The homes are built from specific plans, so they tend to look alike. Amenities are the ticket in these communities and the list of activities goes on ad infinitum.

Oh, The Perks!

People who buy in an adult community pay into a homeowner's association that handles the maintenance and cares for the community's grounds. The fees are used to defray costs for such amenities as the club house and golf course, swimming pool, spa and fitness center, the library and arts and crafts center as well as continuing education classes. Tennis courts, basketball courts, hiking trails and media centers as well as banquet facilities and ballrooms are included in the fees paid by homeowners. The list is endless. Today's seniors are active, social, and they don't sit still. They connect with others who are just like them and together they form close relationships, enjoying life and having fun.

There are many benefits to living in a retirement community, even if the thought of leaving a comfortable home that is well broken-in seems silly. The attractions are many when it comes to drawing seniors into this style of living. Most of the homes are one story, which means fewer steps and less stress on joints that may be aching. The yards are maintained, but you still get to play in the dirt if you want to. You're hanging out with people who have the same or similar interests as you, who come from the same era and share a lot of the same general history. It's like living in a resort - a lot of fun things to do and all of the fees are included. If you're not ready to retire and you still want to work, no problem. The homes are big enough to include a den or office where a home business can be run - so you can work without leaving home. Enjoy the best of both worlds.

Buying in a Retirement Community

Buying a home in a new senior living communities is no different than purchasing a home from a builder. You might want to have a Senior Real Estate Specialist work for you - someone who is experienced with the 55+ market and 55+ communities. Although, you may want to take care of arranging your own financing since you could likely get a better deal over the builder's lender. Even if the home is brand new, have a home inspection done - sometimes there are surprises. Talk to the neighbors before you buy, you want to like them and have them like you before you move in. They can also answer questions you won't get answers to any other way. Come around on the weekends, when the grandkids are around. Volume and noise changes with kids on the scene. Read the minutes of homeowner association meetings and question the documents. Find out about utilities and other costs of ownership. Hire a lawyer if you have any questions about seller disclosures and consult with a tax accountant to determine if the purchase fits your retirement plans. Ask for a home warranty plan and know what's covered.

Moving into an adult community is like taking a long vacation - enjoyable and fun.