I just spent an hour or so researching 55 Plus Communities on the internet – and I have a headache.

CLEARLY, while many things can be profitably learned from an internet search, deciding on the IFs and WHICH ONEs of moving to an age restricted community requires some honest self-evaluation, on-site visiting and maybe even the simple willingness to try something new.

Honest Self-Evaluation is the first thing:

  • What climate do you want to live in?  Do you want to stay close to where you live now or are you ready for a new landscape?
  • Where does your family live?
  • How will personal finances and the state tax structure impact your decision?
  • Do you prefer urban, rural or suburban settings?
  • How do you want to spend your time?  Do you prefer a large community or a smaller one?
  • Are you looking for a single family home?  A Condo?
  • How far is too far to find an airport?  Professional theatre?  Sports teams?  World class health care?

You may find that websites like 55places.com, and their search capabilities, are helpful.

Once you have those questions answered, you may be able to put together a manageable list of communities to visit:

  • Resarch the developer and the HOA financial situation.  Is there a capital reserve fund?  How big is it?  What are the mandatory HOA fees?
  • If there is a restaurant, sit at the bar and talk to people.
  • If you plan on being a year-round resident, visit during the “off season.”   
  • Check out the surrounding community…  where are the stores, the places of worship, the libraries, the parks.    Folks who live in 55 Plus Communities can become active participants in the outside community as well!

Take the Leap and Try Something New!

It is likely you have never lived in a 55 Plus Community before.  So, moving to one could be seen as a leap of faith.   Make some peace with that! Choose a community that is healthy and in demand…  and be confident that if the experience is not for you, the worst case is that you will sell the house and try something else.   Yes, moving to an active adult community can seem like a big change – but trust me, living ANYWHERE – including where you live right now – is going to be a big change too.  We all know that the only constant in life is the change that surrounds us!

THEN… it is time to find a house that you love.   The Active Adult Community home buyer generally starts by finding the Community first, then settling on a Floorplan/Model(s) that work for them.    After that, the home search can go very, very quickly.  Homes move on and off the market in days and qualified buyers should be ready with proof of funds and/or mortgage prequalification paperwork.