Last Updated on August 10, 2023
If you or your spouse are 55 or older and are searching for a home that feels like a permanent vacation destination, a 55+ community might be what you need. Also known as active adult communities, these 55 and up communities are designed to support an active, healthy lifestyle while allowing residents to age in place. Thinking about downsizing in the future? Here’s everything you need to know about a 55+ community.
Designed to allow residents to age in place
Homes in active adult communities are typically smaller, giving those seeking less upkeep the option of downsizing. Typically, these communities offer a variety of housing options, from condos to townhomes, apartments, and even single-family homes.
Built with aging in place in mind, homes are built with universal design principles for maximum functionality. Some common items you might notice with homes in 55+ communities are no step entries, one-story living, easy-to-reach cabinets, wide doorways and hallways, extra space in living quarters and bathrooms, curb-less showers, and more.
While most 55+ communities meet active adults where they are, it’s worth noting that most residents will ultimately have to move again in their lifetime, as these communities aren’t set up for the additional assistance needs that typically come as you age. For those looking to stay put, it’s worth checking out a community that offers many levels of care within the same property so that you can initially start off in an independent home and easily move as your assistance needs increase.
While no two active living communities are alike, one can expect no shortage of amenities when house hunting in a 55 and up community. Everything from tennis, golf, pickle ball, lakes, walking paths, gardens, aquatic centers, and even casual and formal dining may be available. Depending on the active living community, you might either pay an initial amenity fee or be assessed an HOA fee monthly that covers lifestyle amenities. HOA fees in 55+ communities tend to have a wide range, so it’s best to factor this in when making your budget.
No more maintenance
One of the more challenging things to tackle as you get older is keeping up with the ongoing maintenance of owning a home. When you’re living in a 55 and up community, the tasks that once seemed impossible to tackle—whether it be fixing a leaky sink or keeping your lawn maintained—will be a thing of the past.
Home prices are often lower
With a smaller buyer base due to age restrictions, you will often find that 55+ communities are very affordable. However, as a general rule, the more amenities offered, the higher the home prices and/or HOA dues, so factor this in mind when searching for a home within an active living community.
Typically built with the safety of residents in mind, 55+ communities often feature gated security, and some even have security officers on duty. Beyond gated entry, due to the nature of these close-knit communities, residents often feel at ease living here as they age, enjoying the fact that community members look out for each other.
Pros of 55+ communities
- Some communities offer a cheaper cost of living
- Ample amenities
- Enhanced security measures
- Low-maintenance living
- Properties built with universal design
- Quieter community
Cons of 55+ communities
- No on-site healthcare
- HOA fees can be steep
- Convenience items will still need to be purchased off-site
- Homes are smaller
Our Senior Real Estate Specialists are here to help
As you enter the next phase of life, you may be thinking about downsizing or aging in place. Whatever your plans are, our designated Senior Real Estate Specialists are here to help you make your next move. Contact us to get started today.
Keep reading: A beginner’s guide to aging in place
About Allen Tate Realtors
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