Shopping for a Home in a Retirement Community
- posted 5.13.2014
- Rebecca Singer
- Real Estate Tips
Buying a home in an adult community or retirement community is completely unlike purchasing most other homes, with the possible exception of an investment property. Aside from many communities having so many amenities they might as well be amusement parks, it's just flat-out hard to find an available home in a retirement community as today's retirees flock to nicer climates and active communities.
In fact, the nation's fastest growing metro area is one huge retirement community, the Villages in Central Florida. With such strong interest in adult communities, the competition for finding a home in some developments can include waiting lists, buyer lotteries and more. If you're retiring soon or if you're a new retiree looking to pull up stakes on your way to greener pastures, here are some important things to consider when choosing a new community.
Do Some First-Hand Research
Choosing any new home can be a difficult decision, but once you hit retirement you have the freedom to choose wherever you want to live, rather than being tied to a job. Since you have a lot of freedom to pick a new place to live, you should know exactly what you're getting into before you move—and that means you need to do your research. There is plenty of information about retirement communities out there, but nothing beats visiting your potential new home in person. If you're interested in a particular location, plan an extended vacation so you can acclimate to the weather and discover some of the local amenities around a retirement community.
Know the Approval Process
Research can be very important considering that many communities have waiting lists or developer-run lotteries for potential residents. Since you may be waiting a while, you want to make sure you're moving on to your dream retirement. And this includes being ready for a strict approval process. Many homeowners are surprised when they have to go through a review and approval board at a retirement community. Many times this process involves a board reviewing your financial history, calling references and more. This is often too much for people who never sat through a condo review board or a homeowners' association meeting, so make sure you know what will be required during this competitive process.
Search for Medical Care
Many communities compete for residents with activities and amenities, but you should also consider the medical care that you'll need to maintain an active lifestyle. Some communities provide housecalls or will have basic medical care within the community itself, but you should consider how far you'll have to travel for hospital care or for a primary physician.
Membership or Residency?
Just like some homeowners may be unused to a review board when they're buying, there may be other surprises for retirees who have not lived in a community before. The active lifestyle provided by adult communities is typically supported by monthly fees from each homeowner, similar to HOA or condo fees. While these fees help put a wide range of activities within financial reach for everyone in the community, they can become a pain for those who don't plan to partake in certain activities.
Paying For Your Retirement Home
One of the most common methods of financing a home in a retirement community is to sell the family home and consolidate in an adult community, but there are plenty of solutions available. Buying a retirement home before you're actually ready to retire can have many benefits: it allows you to carefully plan your retirement location and to begin paying any mortgage before you're living on a fixed retirement income. New American Funding offers a number of customized loan packages for financing a retirement home, and our loan officers can help plan financing that fits your needs.
Planning for a home in an active adult community is one of the best ways to prepare for your golden years—but there is a lot that goes into that decision! Contact us today to learn more about loan options that fit the life you want in retirement.