Thinking of buying your next home in a 55+ community? You'll likely want to know the pros and cons, and whether the restriction makes your property hard to sell or bequeath in your will. Here are the key points to know.
The Upside: Worry-Free Maintenance
These communities are designed for low-maintenance ownership. Over-55 or "active adult" communities are usually quiet and well-watched, with a good number of retirees in the mix. Maintenance staffers are there if anything breaks down.
As well as limiting the number of young people who live on the property, there might be a no-dog rule—supporting the quiet environment. Be sure the rules fit your own expectations before you start shopping in the community.
Your children can visit your condo and usually even stay for the summer. Ask for a Rules and Regulations binder so you can find out what time limits apply for your guests, and review the community standards.
But Do Consider How You'll Sell or Pass Down Your Property
Check into the rights of your family members to live on the property after the 55+ owner passes away. Your real estate agent can help you obtain this information.
A federal provision allows senior living communities to impose age restrictions, as long as they keep their 55+ population at least 80%. Particular active adult communities can require even more than 80% to be aged 55-plus. Some 55+ condo properties, but not all, will let an owner's child inherit and live in the unit. Still, that only works if the heir's presence wouldn't break the federal rule that says at least 80% of occupied units must include one or more residents aged 55+.
These communities also have minimum age rules (18 or 21 are common) for residents. If you bequeath your condo to someone with young children, that person will need to sell it after you pass away.
Note that these rules could reduce the pool of potential buyers if you later decide you'd like to sell the condo. Your realtor can tell you how fast condos in a given community tend to find buyers.
Condo Living at a Relaxed Tempo
There may be restrictions on grilling, thanks to the community insurance policy. And everything from how much space is yours to garden, to the shades of paint you'll use on your front door, will likely have to conform to rules. But then, that's a given with most condos.
In return, you'll have peace and quiet, professionally pruned shrubs, and snow-free walkways. And you'll likely have peers who share your appreciation for a relaxed style of living.
Ready to look? Call my office to tour desirable 55+ communities in your preferred price range.