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Everything You Need to Know About Active Adult Communities

For older homebuyers looking for not only a home, but also a lifestyle, an active adult community might be the perfect fit. Promoting convenient locations, abundant amenities, quiet neighborhoods, and mostly maintenance-free living, active adult communities are quickly becoming the preferred choice for baby boomers. Read on to learn more about active adult communities and how to find one that’s right for you.

What Is an Active Adult Community?

Managed by a homeowners’ association, active adult communities are developments that offer an easier way of living for residents aged 55 and over. Not to be confused with a senior-living facility or a retirement community, active adult communities offer independent, mostly maintenance-free living. Many who live in these communities still work and aren’t reliant on in-home care. Active adult communities are separated into two different categories: age-targeted and age-restricted.

  • Age-targeted community: These communities are marketed towards people aged 55+ with amenities that appeal to this age group. There is no age restriction to live in an age-targeted community.
  • Age-restricted community: Under the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995, 80% of homeowners in an age-restricted community must be 55 and over.

Benefits of Living in an Active Adult Community

The common element among residents in active adult communities is age. That means homeowners are typically at similar stages of life and have similar interests, making it easier for neighbors to connect. In addition, while many residents have older children and grandchildren, the community rules help reinforce a quieter neighborhood. Plus, the amenities, location, and cost-benefit can make it a fun, convenient, and affordable place to live.

Types of Housing in Active Adult Communities

Typically, housing in active adult communities consists of single-family detached homes and range from 1500-2000 square feet. While the setup in these homes tends to be three beds, two baths, options vary. With housing considerations for different budgets, you’ll find active adult communities consist of:

  • Single-family houses or patio homes
  • Townhouses
  • Apartments and condos
  • Mobile homes
  • Custom-built or manufactured homes

Overall, active adult housing is often designed for complete single-floor living, and many active adult homes have few, if any, steps to get into the home. A benefit for this age group, some homes include special details like toggle or rocker light switches, lever handles, shower stalls with seats, wide doorways, and other simple-to-use features.

What Do Active Adult Communities Offer?

Designed for the independent adult that’s 55 and over, these communities offer amenities that make life simple and enjoyable for this age group. The community and home exteriors are planned to require little or no maintenance. Often, the monthly association fee includes landscaping, yard maintenance, and snow removal. Typically found in metropolitan areas, the location of these communities alone makes them ideal. With proximity to shopping and dining, they’re just as convenient to wellness facilities and hospitals. While amenities vary from each community, you’ll frequently find:

  • Walking trails and parks
  • Clubhouses
  • Indoor and/or outdoor pool
  • Whirlpool tub and steam room
  • Fitness facilities
  • Great room with a commercial kitchen
  • Tennis courts or golf courses
  • Outdoor games like shuffleboard and bocce

It’s important to note that these communities don’t typically offer daily assisted living services, like meals, medication, housekeeping, and personal care. Nor do they usually provide transportation services.

How to Find One That’s Right for You

For anybody buying a home, location plays a big part in deciding where to live. For homebuyers 55+, factors like climate, proximity to friends and family, proximity to metropolitan amenities, and scenery play a role in deciding if the location of an active adult community is right for them. Some other things to consider when looking for an active adult community:

Review the rules and regulations to see if they’re all within limits of your lifestyle. For example, those with kids or grandkids visiting might want to see if there are age requirements to use certain amenities.

You must first decide if the move makes sense for you financially. Also, take a deep dive into the HOA fees, assessments, and costs associated with other services such as cable and internet or shuttle bus transportation.

You’ll be paying for the amenities on a monthly basis, so it’s helpful to find a community with amenities you’d put to good use. Golf and tennis courses are expensive to maintain, so if you don’t participate in either, it’s probably an expense you wouldn’t want to have.

To get an idea of who your neighbors will be, tour as many communities as possible. Some communities offer a trial membership, where you can visit for a day or two to help you decide if the homes, amenities, and neighbors are a good fit. 

Are there activities and ways for neighbors to connect? Are there arts and crafts, social hours, gatherings, or community cookouts? Having these functions will help everyone feel part of the community.

Get the Most Out of Your HOA

Active adult communities are managed by homeowners’ associations, which have a lot to offer. To get the most out of your HOA, check out our post, HOA 101: Tips for Living in an HOA Community.