Dependent on your specific desires and needs you can find something that fits the bill. Let’s investigate a few of these options.
Options Available with Affordable Retirement Communities
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Cooperative Housing (Co-Ops) — this is where you have a share in a corporation that owns the buildings. Years ago they were a very popular housing alternative, but they are now making a comeback as an affordable retirement option. It is based on shared cost and collective bargaining. The nice thing about this is that many of the costs are covered with your payment such as utilities and appliances. If an appliance breaks down it is repaired or even replaced at no cost. Each individual community has different guidelines and rules regarding what is exactly included in the homeowner’s fee. Some of these communities have a choice between apartments, duplexes, and townhomes. One of these types of communities that has locations scattered about the United States is Leisure World.
- Resale Homes and Condominiums — resale homes/condos are basically homes/condos that have been previously owned rather than new construction where you are the first inhabitant. They may have a bit more character with their more traditional layouts and they are usually in more mature neighborhoods. These homes may have lower property taxes in some states. You also may find motivated sellers so that you can negotiate a lower price. On the other side of the coin, they may require more maintenance and have less modern features.
- Manufactured and Mobile Homes — manufactured homes are usually about 20% to 50% lower in price than homes built on-site. There are land-leased communities where you buy the home and pay a monthly lease fee on the land. There are also RV park model communities and modular homes. Modular is a bit more expensive than manufactured homes but if you want a larger home you can easily expand rooms at a reasonable cost. Mobile homes communities for people age 55 and over provide either leased land or resident-owned where you own the land. Mobile homes are considered “older mobiles” that were constructed prior to 1976. Many of these communities are a mix of mobile and manufactured homes. If considering a leased community check with the owners first because if they are going to be sold anytime soon you will have to move and incur those expenses.
- The RV Alternative — for those with RVs there are RV communities for people 55 and over where you can purchase a space or rent space either short or long-term.
- More Affordable Areas to Live — you may decide that you may want to move to a more affordable area. In the United States, there are various options such as Florida, the Midwest, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Arizona. There are also many affordable places to live overseas such as Asia and Central and South America.
- Rent rather than Own — this is an affordable option as there are several 55 and over rental communities with a variety of price ranges dependent on the amenities and the location. There are also senior low-income housing available that have certain income requirements. There are usually waitlists for this type of rental living option.
- Non-Profit Communities — many of these are religious-based communities and are often open to all persons. They can be very affordable and also provide assisted living in some of these communities.
- Tiny Home Communities — tiny homes are a good alternative whether living on your own or within a community. Many large retirement communities now offer smaller square footage homes at lower prices within their larger community as well. You can also save money by choosing a community with fewer amenities.
Pros and Cons of Affordable Retirement Communities
Although affordable retirement communities provide a lower-cost alternative in living arrangements, let’s consider some pros and cons. Whether you are buying or renting in one of these communities there are a number of things to consider.
55 and over communities sprung up back in 1968 when the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was established to address discrimination in housing. There were some communities around before that serving the 55+ age class but there was no law in place at that time that prevented younger folks from moving in.
In addition to the types of amenities that these communities offer an important aspect is the sense of friendship and belonging that these communities provide. Now let’s look at some of the Pros and Cons.
- Low property taxes — this tends to be the case, especially in your larger communities. Less money is needed in taxes to support government services such as school programs.
- A preferred location — you can find these types of communities worldwide and in all 50 states in the USA. Many of these are located in areas that have year-round good weather. Also, many are located near medical facilities.
- Plenty of amenities — from a clubhouse for resident gatherings to golf courses, tennis courts, and fitness centers there is a wide range of amenities from which to choose.
- Low maintenance lifestyle — dependent on the community some degree of home and community maintenance is covered. Often a community fund is set up to handle different maintenance functions such as exterior home repair, landscaping, and in some cases even house cleaning.
- More peace and quiet — these communities are usually located in areas where there is less noise and distractions.
- The homes are smaller — this may be a plus or a minus depending on individual preference. Most of these homes are set up for two (2) people to live comfortably. Although they are easier to maintain, they do not provide a lot of room for family gatherings.
- No age diversity — many folks enjoy being around people of all ages so this would not be the case in these types of communities. Although younger people can visit, it does not provide the natural diversity of a community.
- Healthcare — although many of these communities are located near medical facilities they are not retirement centers where there is healthcare on-site. Some do offer continuing care services but this is not the norm. These communities are centered around the focus of independent living.
- Homeowner Association (HOA) — in order to pay for all of the amenities that comprise a retirement community there are community fees to be paid. It is good to research the HOA in the community that you are considering to verify that their fund is in good shape. Otherwise, if a major expense occurs and there is not sufficient money in the kitty, the residents can then incur a significant increase in dues,
Are Affordable Retirement Communities for You?
After considering the pros and cons and doing a bit of research in the specific communities that you are considering, you then should be in good shape to answer that question. These communities are not for everyone but they do provide an excellent alternative for those who would enjoy this type of lifestyle.
There are also green retirement communities for those who have environmental concerns and desire to share a similar lifestyle with like-minded folks.
Affordable retirement communities may just be the option that will provide the ideal lifestyle but don’t get distracted by all the amenities, but stay focused on what is most important to you at this point in your life. In any event, it is good to know that there are options like these available.
All the Best in your Retirement Adventure,
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