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Pros and Cons of 55+ Active Adult Communities?
Old 06-06-2019, 02:38 PM   #1
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Pros and Cons of 55+ Active Adult Communities?

Greetings:

I am going to purchase a home where I and DH can spend the rest of our lives. I am 60 and still working, and DH is 59 and working part time. DH and I are not "handy" and would prefer to live somewhere where basic maintenance, landscaping, pool maintenance, etc. is taken care of by some type of homeowner's association.

I have been looking at various options in the southern California area and ran across Friendly Valley in Santa Clarita. Does anyone have any experience with this development or a development like it, or with a 55+ active community in general?

So for, the pros for me are price range (units available in the $300,000 to $400,000 range), single story, pool and hiking available, lots of open space, quiet area.

The current con would be the commute to my job, but I have some flexibility and can work from home some days.

I would appreciate any information about the pros and cons of living in a 55+ active adult community from people who have experience living in one.

Thank you.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:46 PM   #2
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:20 PM   #3
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It’s a individual thing, no right answer.

I’m 65 but I’d much rather live in a mixed generation neighborhood. We thought we’d buy in a 55+ community like an Epcon neighborhood but after a long look, we’re deliberately buying in a mixed gen neighborhood, closing in two weeks.

Every 55 community we considered had higher prices/sqft and much higher HOA fees. If you want to contract out mowing, landscaping (for a tiny lot BTW) and other services it could be a wash. If you want to care for your own yard while you’re able, why pay $250-400/mo?

The 55+ communities we looked at were much more cookie cutter homes inside and out than any mixed gen neighborhood in the same price range. No thanks for us.

It’s probably fun when the community is new and the median age is about 60-65. Twenty years from now when the median age is 80+ it could get pretty grim - ‘misery loves company?’ Drive around one of the much older 55+ communities (20-40 years after they broke ground) and see what it’s like at the clubhouse and around the neighborhood. We drove around an established Del Webb community and you couldn’t pay me to live there. YMMV
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:58 PM   #4
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The problem with 55+ communities is that you lose a lot of flexibility. Suppose you wanted to have a young family member live with you because that is a better living situation for him/her, all those rules would preclude that. Also, that limits the number of possible purchasers of your home. If you thought condo HOAs were a pain those communities are far worse. Frankly, those communities work for some, but not me.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:21 PM   #5
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You can buy a condo (apt or townhouse) in many places, and since they are condo's most take care of the exterior maintenance and grass and snow, etc.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:11 AM   #6
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Nothing wrong with 55+ communities. We really enjoy living in ours even though our participation in the social life is virtually nonexistent. Higher HOA fees because they include yard maintenance which is by far the largest expense - yay! We love having our yard taken care of and not having to deal with hiring landscape folks.

Neighborhood is quiet. Lots of pedestrians out walking in the morning and little vehicle traffic - most of what little there is is due to new home construction and that occurs briefly early and late and not really noticeable even when construction is down the street. Nice green spaces and decent facilities.

This is predominantly a snowbird destination with second (winter) homes, although there are a decent number of us here year round. As a consequence, it's fairly common for folks to sell out as they approach mid-80s to be closer to family members. So we don't have any very elderly folks here.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:29 AM   #7
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My dad and his lady friend live in a big one in Clearwater, Fl called On Top of the World, and seem to love it. I envy the ease and the community of it and, of course, lack of snow and ice. It has all the organized activities and social opportunities and amenities and they especially enjoy the two golf courses. 2 BR units are around $125K and the HOA fees are less than most condo buildings I know of. The buildings are older cinder block construction and dorm-like. There are some rules, like my dad can’t grow vegetables due to Florida critters. DW would not be interested but, when I visit, it sure seems like easy, basic living among friendly retired folks to me.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
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The problem with 55+ communities is that you lose a lot of flexibility. Suppose you wanted to have a young family member live with you because that is a better living situation for him/her, all those rules would preclude that.
The rules in my 55+ community do not preclude that at all.

Different communities have different rules. Read them before purchasing.

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Also, that limits the number of possible purchasers of your home.
In my locale, there is a long waiting list. No worries about possible purchasers.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:39 AM   #9
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In the area where I live, the +55 communities vary quite a bit in price and floorspace. We looked at 2, and decided against it. Compared to our present home, the A community was higher in price and ongoing costs. The B community is very small floorspace, and dated. We still have a few years to decide.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:40 AM   #10
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I would appreciate any information about the pros and cons of living in a 55+ active adult community from people who have experience living in one.
I live in a 55+ active living community on the beach. It's been terrific.

Do your homework before purchasing. Learn the financial situation (history of fees and assessments). Learn all the rules and regulations.

Every community is different.
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Old 06-07-2019, 05:54 AM   #11
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Every one is indeed different. We live in a gated HOA non 55+ community. So it has some of the same aspects as a 55+ community, but due to being mixed age, we have made friends with retirees and folks in their 40's to low 50's who are still working.

The fact that it is not in a retirement area also means no waits for daytime errands or night time eating anywhere except Saturday night which we cook then.
I also wonder what resales would be like in a 55+ community after the baby boom generation.
On the flip side, we don't have the wealth of built in activities and clubs like a Villages for example.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:22 AM   #12
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I live in a 55+ active living community on the beach. It's been terrific.
We have looked and cannot seem to find a community that does not have $1m homes on or really near a beach. We do not want a condo just yet.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:39 AM   #13
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I should have also added size matters to my earlier post.

We’ve looked at several with 80-125 homes/lots. They seemed to have the advantages of a 55+ community but you’re still part of the larger city/town. Best of both worlds for some seniors?

We also visited a couple Del Webb communities with 1000-1200 homes/lots. They seemed more self contained, less a part of the surrounding city/town, with many residents relying on the 55+ community a lot. Of course you can get out as you please, but they had a different vibe than the smaller communities we looked at.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:43 AM   #14
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You can, but the whole point is you probably won't, because these places are usually built on cheaper land farther out. When you stick with the "community" providers, you don't have to drive distances to run errands. What I wouldn't like about that, is running into the same people everywhere all the time. I like to fly under the radar.

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I s
We also visited a couple Del Webb communities with 1000-1200 homes/lots. They seemed more self contained, less a part of the surrounding city/town, with many residents relying on the 55+ community a lot. Of course you can get out as you please, t.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:27 AM   #15
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We bought into a new 55+ community of Single family homes (but ownership is condo so we only maintain the inside). Being a new community, it was very easy to establish new friends as we were all in the same boat. We definitely have taken advantage of the social opportunities. Prior to retirement, I was your basic workaholic, so I never took time to "play". Now its bowling, golfing, weekly socials, house parties, and dinners/lunches out with friends. Couldn't be happier. But to each his own.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:33 AM   #16
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I live in a +55 MHP in Ventura County, not far (28 miles) from Santa Clarita. The prices on 2BR 2BA units run around $200-250 K. for new units. Space rent is reasonable.
I commuted for a year until I retired. Just crossing into Ventura dropped my stress level totally.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:37 AM   #17
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We have looked and cannot seem to find a community that does not have $1m homes on or really near a beach. We do not was a condo.
So just curious, when you sell your place, where are you planning to move ?
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:41 AM   #18
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So just curious, when you sell your place, where are you planning to move ?
We would buy first, move our stuff, then sell our current place. But until we find some place suitable (that we really like) it is moot.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:10 AM   #19
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We are not 55+ yet, but have looked into it as an option.

I prefer the layout of those homes much better than most other developments. I dont' need 4 bedrooms, we need more living space... bigger kitchens, more indoor/outdoor space, etc which is what 55+ communities build for.

I also liked all the amenities (workout, pool, hiking paths, pocket parks, community garden etc) and you are really buying into a lifestyle. I also prefer to have a pool that is kiddy free which these types of communities often have 1 pool to bring the kids to and 1-2 pools that are adult only.

HOA dues are roughly equal to town home living plus a good gym membership.

The major downside for us is really am I willing to pay up for the lifestyle.. that we are unsure of as price/sq ft is significantly more and the HOA dues are more to cover all the amenities which if we ended up not using would be very costly.

I currently live in the community next to a Del Webb, they come over to walk around our ponds and I go running on their trails so I have time to figure out if it is for us. Many of the people buying in our community are those that looked at Del Webb and bought here as it was cheaper and some didn't want the limit how long the grand kids could stay.

I did find it interesting that they would let us buy-in if one of us was 50 by the time we closed and they said that was only applicable during the initial building phase, else from then on you would have to be 55+. So that also means you can't just will the house to your kids or grand kids if they aren't going to be 55+ when they inherit it. Renters also had to be 55+.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:59 AM   #20
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The ones locally are very expensive. Property taxes are higher and than HOA fees are high. Plus they are built in the suburbs and we really enjoy being walking distance to downtown and all the events.
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