The Best Way to Buy a Home in a Retirement Community

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By Clever Real Estate Updated January 13, 2022


Retirement communities are booming. They’re designed to appeal to adults who are 55 and over. Each community includes social benefits and amenities geared toward older adults.

When you’re in retirement, you want comfort and security. If you’re interested in retirement property, there are a few things you should consider.

Buying a home in a retirement community is a great way to set yourself up for long-term success. You’ll own a valuable investment property as well as a comfortable place to live your life.

The Pros of Moving Into a Retirement Community

A retirement community is an ideal environment for people who want to enjoy their leisure time after they exit the workforce. There are many advantages:

  • Social life: Retirement living is about finding new ways to connect to the world. Many communities organize social events for their residents. You’re surrounded by people who are comparable in age and have similar life experiences.
  • Great weather: There’s a reason why most retirement communities are centered in a few parts of the country. The allure of sunny climes can’t be resisted. Southern Florida, Southern California, etc.
  • Quiet environment: Many retirement communities are nestled in quiet neighborhoods. They’re often gated as well. Community guidelines mean you won’t have to worry about your neighbors throwing wild house parties.

The Cons of Moving Into a Retirement Community

Before you plan your move, you should understand the drawbacks of living in a retirement community. These factors need to be considered.

  • Expense: Retirement living can be pricey. In addition to buying your home, you may also be responsible for monthly maintenance fees. You’ll have to pay whether you live in the property or not.
  • Limited inventory: You may need to do some searching before you find a retirement community that suits your needs.
  • Strict rules: If you’ve never lived under the confines of a homeowners association, you might be surprised to learn that most retirement communities have very strict rules. You may not be allowed to plant a garden, for example, without getting permission first.

What to Do Next

Are you ready to buy a home in a retirement community? There are a few steps that you should take first. You may be purchasing the last property that you’ll ever own.

First and foremost, get to know the neighborhood. It doesn’t matter if a community is a paradise on earth if it’s located in a city or town that you don’t like. Spend at least a few days in the area before you commit to major purchase.

If you can, you should try to introduce yourself to your potential neighbors. They will have a perspective on the community that you won’t be able to find in brochures and pamphlets. You don’t have to fall in love with everyone you meet, but you should feel comfortable in the environment. Once you find the right community, you’re ready for the next step.

Prepare Your Finances

Each retirement community has its own approvals process. Some require that residents be at least 55 years old while others accept applicants as young as 50.

Depending on the neighborhood, there may be stringent requirements. This is for your benefit and comfort as well. The success of any retirement community depends on its residents.

You’ll likely have to undergo a thorough financial screening. You can’t buy a property unless it’s clear that you’ll be able to afford to live in the neighborhood. You can prepare for the inquiry by keeping your financial records in order and getting recommendations in advance.

If your finances will be stretched living in your dream community, consider compromising on something on your wishlist. Sunny Florida is gorgeous but Arizona and New Mexico can be enjoyable as well.

Start Your Search

It’s natural to approach buying your last home with the same excited feeling that you approached buying your first. It’s a big step in life.

Searching for a great retirement property requires extra steps. You expect more. Some communities describe themselves as "adult playgrounds," as they’re so rich with amenities. Finding the perfect environment to throw yourself into takes time.

However, if you’re willing to be patient and you accept the potential disadvantages, you’re almost certain to discover a community that you can fit in with. You have plenty of options. Remember, retirement is supposed to be fun. You should enjoy yourself.

Has a property located in a retirement community caught your eye? Clever can help you navigate the buying process. Owning a home is a big investment. It’s important that you negotiate a good deal. Our experienced Clever Partner Agents know how to work through the kinks and hitches that may occur.

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