There comes a time when you just want to kick back and enjoy life. Before you do, you may want to gain more knowledge about senior communities. Maybe this means retiring, or just a move to a part-time job. But it could also mean downsizing from your four-bedroom Colonial in a desired school district to a 55+ community where “they” mow your small yard, paint the exterior of your home, and maintain a clubhouse for card games and pool aerobics.
Senior Communities: What You Need to Know
But before you dive into senior living (if you can call 55 a senior anymore!), consider these factors.
To learn more about retirement, read our blog post How to Make Retirement a Reality.
Check out the climate:
Florida is a great place to escape the snow in winter, but it can be unpleasantly hot in summer. So before you buy a home in a retirement area with great weather, make sure you can live there year-round. Rent a place during the off-season. Florida in August is a good time to obtain a realistic idea of what it’s like to live there when all the snowbirds clear out. North Carolina and Arizona are other popular spots, but if you’re used to the cold and don’t mind it, there are senior communities in Massachusetts too.
Life without any kids:
Before buying anything, make sure you understand community rules about under-55 residents or guests. What happens if your adult children visit with their little kids, or, heaven forbid, need to move in while they get back on their feet? Some communities are stricter than others are when it comes to younger residents, so read bylaws carefully before committing.
Factor in taxes:
Some places are more tax friendly for older folks than others are. Florida, for instance, has no state income tax for residents, although you have to be careful about complying with rules that give you residence status. Some no-income tax places, however, have high property taxes. When figuring a budget for your new lifestyle, be sure you understand all the tax implications.
Scrutinize the financials:
Many 55+ communities are on secure financial footing, but some are not. And even well-run communities can be sideswiped with unexpected maintenance issues, like crumbling foundations or storm damage. Who do you think ends up paying for those repairs? You, in the form of a surprise assessment that could cost tens of thousands of dollars—maybe more. Scrutinize community financials, and pay careful attention to healthy reserve funds. Attend a board meeting, and ask questions about upcoming assessments. Then, if you do plunge in, make sure you have a rainy day fund to pay for unexpected assessments.
For more information about The Hayes Law Firm, visit our Google My Business page.