As baby-boomers have aged, the development of more over-55 communities has proliferated. Where these active lifestyle neighborhoods were once seen only near resorts and golf courses, smaller-scale developments are springing up near large cities. If you are thinking about relocating to one of these communities, you need to understand the pros and cons.
While you can certainly downsize without moving to an over-55 community, the choice may be much easier in one. Often, it is difficult to find a home that is both nice and small. The trend is still toward huge, multi-story mini-mansions. In an over-55 neighborhood, the largest homes are typically fairly small, so finding the right sized home may be easier.
These neighborhoods are typically maintenance free as far as exteriors are concerned. Part of your homeowner’s association fees goes toward all exterior maintenance. This maintenance includes lawn care, painting, roofing, etc. As you reach retirement age, you may be tired of the work involved in maintaining a home but still want to live in a detached or semi-detached house.
Peace & Quiet
Older people usually mean less noise. There won’t be kids running around making a racket. It also means that nights will get quieter early and tend to stay that way. Also, as most of the community is retired, you won’t have the morning and afternoon rush of traffic in and out of the neighborhood. If you aren’t used to or want this level of quiet, this could be considered a con also.
As people age into their 60s and higher, they tend to enjoy the same activities as others in their age group and have similar lifestyles. Being the older couple in a neighborhood full of kids may leave you feeling isolated. Having a community of similarly aged people who enjoy quiet walks, activities at the pool and clubhouse and similar pursuits may be an attraction.
One of the downsides to these communities, especially for people in their late 50s and early 60s may be the median age of the community. You may think you are ready to slow down and move to a quiet neighborhood, but the median age may be somewhere in the upper 70s. You might want to spend some time cruising a prospective community and see how you fit in.
No maintenance is a good thing for many people, but it also means you get little to no choice on the exterior of your house and yard. You may be restricted in what you can and can’t do in your yard or with your house. If you like to garden or have other outdoor hobbies, you will want to check the homeowner’s covenants before buying.
Having no kids around will be a pro for some people and a con for others. Many people don’t want to be around or listen to other people’s children. The quiet of a neighborhood with no kids is a huge plus. Other people enjoy the laughter of youth and would miss living day to day with no children about. This is a personal decision you will need to make before considering one of these communities.
Over-55 neighborhoods may be exactly what you are looking for as you reach retirement age. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to living in one. Consider the pros and cons of an over-55 community before committing to one.
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