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Choosing An Active Adult Community

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					Title:
Choosing An Active Adult Community

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840

Summary:
Taking the plunge into retirement or semi-retirement can be daunting
enough without making the choice to move into a new home at the same
time. But many people age 55 and above are choosing to leave their high
maintenance or too large family home to move into active adult
communities, which are restricted to households with at least one member
age 55 and older.

According to the 2005 Senior Sentiment Survey conducted by Financial
Freedom, the nation’s largest reverse mortga...


Keywords:
golf course communities, retirement, seniors, active adults


Article Body:
Taking the plunge into retirement or semi-retirement can be daunting
enough without making the choice to move into a new home at the same
time. But many people age 55 and above are choosing to leave their high
maintenance or too large family home to move into active adult
communities, which are restricted to households with at least one member
age 55 and older.

According to the 2005 Senior Sentiment Survey conducted by Financial
Freedom, the nation’s largest reverse mortgage lender, the number one
reason older adults choose to move into a retirement community is safety.
Fifty-four percent of the survey, which included younger seniors age 62-
75, said they feel safer in a planned community. Other reasons given for
moving into an active adult community include the desire to be with
people their own age, the amenities and services provided and the lack of
daily demands of owning a home. Most active adult communities feature
low-maintenance homes, and usually lawn mowing and snow removal are
included in the community fees.

Making the decision to sell the family home and move into a new community
requires couples or singles to determine when they want to move, where
they want to move and how much they can afford to spend. Active adult
communities, which used to be found primarily in the Sun Belt states such
as Arizona and Florida, are rapidly growing in popularity all across the
nation. Seniors are often choosing to move into retirement communities
close to home so that they can be near family and friends, rather than
moving out of state. Builders are aware of this and have begun developing
active adult communities in every part of the country.

An Internet search can provide a list of hundreds of active adult
communities around the country. To narrow the search, older couples and
singles should begin by determining whether they want to stay in their
home state, look at nearby states or move farther away. In addition to
considering the importance of proximity to family or friends when
deciding on a retirement location, seniors may want to think about the
climate they wish to live in and whether they want to live in or near a
city or a smaller town with cultural amenities. For some older adults,
owning a home on a golf course, near lakes and rivers for fishing or
within driving distance of the ocean is more important. For others, the
ability to drive to a city or resort area for short weekends is
important.

Obviously, seniors who still intend to work full-time or part-time need
to stay within commuting distance of the office, but even seniors who are
retired need to spend time discussing lifestyle plans with their spouses.
Many seniors choose to take on a new part-time job or do volunteer work
in an area of interest. Others want to pursue education in a new field.
In any of these scenarios, the location of the new home must be within
access of a college or university, a place to pursue volunteer interests
and work locations.

Transportation needs are just one of the many considerations which can
change over time. According to the National Association of Home Builders
(NAHB), the average age of buyers in active adult communities has dropped
over the past ten years from 67 to 61. Younger seniors are usually
driving, extending their careers, and are more physically and socially
active. As they age, their needs change and they may no longer be able to
drive, so public transportation or services provided by the active adult
community should be investigated.

Younger seniors, according to the NAHB, don’t like to think of themselves
as “seniors”. But they do want their homes to incorporate what are known
as “universal design” features which provide easier accessibility if
mobility becomes a problem. Buyers in active adult communities should ask
their builders if they have included universal design in their homes and
if there are optional features which can enhance future accessibility
problems. Universal design elements include raising electrical outlets,
lowering light switches and replacing them with rocker switches, using
lever handles instead of doorknobs, widening doorways and placing a seat
in the shower. Most of these features are appealing to buyers of all ages
and they can make it easier to convert a home to accommodate a wheelchair
if this should become necessary.

Buyers in active adult communities need to determine when a home will
actually be ready for them to move in, as in some developments it can
take ten months to a year or more before their home is ready. In
addition, if planned amenities such as clubhouse, fitness center or golf
course are important, it would be wise to make certain these amenities
will be completed as soon as possible. Some developments provide these
amenities only after most of the homes have been completed, which could
mean a long wait for the first group of residents.

Doing the research on all these topics can help any active adult make the
right decision about buying a new home.

				
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Description: Taking the plunge into retirement or semi-retirement can be daunting enough without making the choice to move into a new home at the same time. But many people age 55 and above are choosing to leave their high maintenance or too large family home to move into active adult communities, which are restricted to households with at least one member age 55 and older. According to the 2005 Senior Sentiment Survey conducted by Financial Freedom, the nation’s largest reverse mortga...