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10 Tips for Buying in an Active Adult 55+ Community

There are many reasons you might be considering buying a home in an Active Adult 55+ community. Your goal may be to sell the family home with all the upkeep and downsize especially if retirement is on the horizon.  Whatever your reason, thinking of making a move to an Active Adult 55+ community can be as overwhelming as it is exciting.

Here are 10 things you should consider before making your decision. 

1. Location 

Decide first where you want to live.  Will you choose to live in the Tampa Bay area or move to another state to be closer to family and friends?  If the tropical Florida weather is enticing—then staying in Florida may be your best choice.  Choosing a location that checks all the boxes for your future dreams and goals will ensure you are making the right decision. 

2. Type of Housing 

What type of home are you looking for?  Active Adult 55+ communities usually consist of detached single-family homes, a duplex where you share 1 common wall or multi-floor condominiums.  The landscape maintenance is almost always covered in the HOA fees.  A single-family home offers the most privacy.  Check to learn what maintenance you are responsible for and what is taken care of by the HOA fees.  A duplex or condominium offers less privacy as there are shared common walls.  Some offer a balcony or small yards.  

3. Understand the Rules and Regulations 

What are the HOA rules and restrictions?  Active Adult 55+ communities are governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA). Be sure to obtain a copy of the HOA documents to review prior to signing a contract as you will want to know what rules and regulations govern the neighborhood. Is landscape maintenance taken care of by the HOA? What are the rules concerning, house colors, yard flags, parking on the street, etc. Are visitors allowed to use the neighborhood amenities? Can your grandkids use the pool and tennis courts?  It would be a shame to find out after the fact that your family cannot enjoy neighborhood activities when they are visiting.  You may want to review the financial status of the association to confirm everything is in order and whether there is an adequate reserve fund for repairs of common buildings. 

4. Minimum Age Requirements 

What is the minimum age for residents? Not all Active Adult 55+ communities are alike. Some require all persons living in a household to be age 55+, while others only require one person to be 55 years old. The minimum age can also vary. It might have a minimum age of 50 or the minimum age may be 62. 

5. Consider All Your Options 

Once you have decided on a geographic location, visit various 55+ communities  to tour the community to experience its vibe.  Talk to residents who are out and about and ask them what they like/love about their community. 

6. Notice the Details 

What are your first impressions of an Active Adult community?  Are residents out and about?  Noticing the details will tell you how well the community is managed. Are the grounds well maintained…is the grass cut and are flowers blooming? Are the buildings in good repair? A well-maintained community means the HOA is on top of things. 

7. What Amenities Are Offered 

What amenities are important to you?  If your goal is to play golf every day, then narrow your search to Active Adult communities with its own golf course or golf courses nearby.  Many Active Adult 55+ communities offer a community clubhouse, one or more pools, a resistance pool for exercise, a community hot tub, water aerobics, Bocce Ball Courts, Pickleball and Tennis Courts, gym, yoga and aerobics, golf leagues, book and travel clubs—check to make sure the community offers the activities you are looking for.  You might want to stop by the clubhouse and get a copy of the monthly newsletter that shows the scheduled activities calendar to see what is offered.   

8. Talk with Neighbors 

What do the residents think about their community?  Drive or walk through the neighborhood and notice if people are out and about enjoying the amenities. Are there people playing pickleball or tennis? Is the pool busy? Are people walking and riding bikes? Stop and talk with neighbors. Most will not hesitate to give you the skinny on the neighborhood. 

9. Consider the Surrounding Area 

What is nearby?  Buying in an Active Adult 55+ community is not just the neighborhood but also convenience–what is offered nearby?   Where is the closest grocery, pharmacy, hospital, restaurants, banks, churches, etc.   What cultural activities are nearby?  If you need public transportation, is it accessible? What is the crime rate and safety rating for the area? Is the neighborhood affected by noise from a nearby highway, airport, or railroad? 

10. Trust Your Gut 

If the Active Adult 55+ community looks good, feels good, offers the amenities you are looking for with easy access to services and you see lots of happy residents, it just may be the perfect Active Adult 55+ community for you!  

We hold the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation and have special training to work with people and families looking to sell their family home and consider relocating to a low-maintenance or maintenance free community.  In fact, we live in an Active Adult 55+ community in the Tampa area and love it!!  We would be honored to help you find the perfect Active Adult 55+ community in the greater Tampa Bay area. We are here and ready to help!  Give us a call today at 813.728.3880! 

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