Condos For Seniors: Retirement And 55+ Condo Communities
Senior condominium communities are living arrangements that require residents to be at least 55 years old. These communities offer more independence than assisted living facilities, and may also feature gyms, swimming pools, libraries, salons, and social activities.
If youre sick of keeping up with pesky lawn or plumbing issues, read through this guide to see if this kind of living arrangement fits your needs and budget.
Federal Rules: Hopa And The 80/20 Rule
The Fair Housing Act, enacted in 1968 under the Civil Rights Act, was designed to stop discrimination within the real estate market. This includes buying and selling homes or property, refinancing loans, and signing leases for rent.
Because of the Fair Housing Act, individuals cannot be denied housing based on judgment or bias towards race, skin color, gender, country of origin, and religious affiliation.
In 1995, an amendment was added to the Fair Housing Act. Known as HOPA, the Housing for Older Persons Act is an exemption to the original discrimination rules focusing on age restrictions for potential home buyers and persons who may desire to live within an age-restricted community.
To be listed as a legal 55+ housing, the community must meet three qualifications:
- 80% of the units/homes must have at least one resident aged 55 or older .
- The community has to create, publish, and follow policies that show its intent to house residents age 55 and older.
- The community must follow HUD’s age verification rules. This can mean enacting procedures to verify a resident’s age.
All three of the above qualifications need to be met if the community is listed or promoted as age-restricted housing.
What Is The Average Cost Of 55+ Communities
Because the services and amenities provided are limited, 55+ communities tend to be the least expensive senior living type. Most 55+ communities cost the same as comparable homes in planned communities in the area. However, senior lifestyle communities with on-site amenities tend to be priced slightly higher than average home costs. To get an idea of how much it would cost to live in a retirement community in your area, look up housing costs for similar homes. For example, to gauge senior apartment pricing, look at the average monthly rates for standard apartments in your zip code.
Every retirement community can set its own pricing structure. Some communities may charge a standard monthly rate that just covers rent and charges additional fees for any extras like reserved parking, Wi-Fi, and electricity bills. Others will charge an all-inclusive monthly payment that includes all amenities and bills. So, while one community may appear more expensive than another, it may be because the monthly cost is all-inclusive. Be sure to ask each community what is and is not included in the quoted monthly price.
If youre looking into a homeownership community rather than a rental, find out about any homeowners association fees. Additionally, some senior communities require residents to pay an initial buy-in fee or a lump sum payment in addition to their housing costs. In some cases, the buy-in fee may replace monthly HOA fees.
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Questions Our Elder Helpline Can Answer
If you are unsure about what kind of questions to ask when you contact our elder helpline, here are a few examples of questions we commonly hear:
- What are the senior living options near me?
- How much does senior living cost?
- Does Medicare or Medicaid cover senior living?
- What senior living options exist?
- How do I pay for senior living?
- Where do I sign up for senior housing in my community?
- How do I find affordable senior living services?
- How old do I have to be for senior living to apply to me?
- What are the different types of retirement communities in my city or state?
- What should I expect when signing a contract for senior living services?
What If I Need Help With Something Unrelated To Senior Living
Some types of senior needs are unrelated to senior housing or senior care. For example, if you have questions about elder law, elder abuse, senior scams, or senior finances, please contact organizations that specialize in these types of senior services. To assist you, here is a list of phone numbers and web pages that are associated with senior helplines, but unrelated to senior living:
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Are Over 55 Communities Worth It
It’s not unheard of for buyers to purchase a home in an active adult community with the intention of reselling it later. However, if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck when selling down the road, you may be disappointed as research has shown that resale values can decrease significantly after residency is established within 55+ communities.
Who Lives In 55 Plus Communities
Contrary to common belief, these communities are not old-age homes. Residents must be at least 55 years of age, but do not have to be retired. In fact, many residents are in their peak earning years of their careers in their mid-fifties. Many are choosing to ease into retirement by phasing into a part time work schedule. Some 55+ Communities might offer medical assistance services, but as a general rule, 55 Plus Communities are not like the health care facility near you. Most residents are still leading active and productive fully mobile lives.
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Crisis Hotlines For Seniors
Please note, if you are in an emergency situation, call 911 for assistance. Other types of crisis situations include depression, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, and being isolated. If you are experiencing one of these types of crisis situations contact:
- Institute on Aging Friendship Line at 800-971-0016
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- I Need a Lighthouse for depression hotline at 1-800-784-2433
Residential Options For Older Adults
Descriptions of facilities that provide residential services for older adults are presented below. Providers of these services are listed in Connecticuts Community Resources Database.
Independent Living Communities/Complexes for Older AdultsService Name:Independent Living Communities/Complexes for Older Adults
These are market rate apartments or planned communities or condominiums that are age restricted. They are designed for older adults who are in reasonably good health and can live independently. The minimum age is usually 55 for at least one of the residents, but sometimes it is 62. They generally offer recreational activities and supportive services, but such services vary by community. This type of housing is not licensed by the state of Connecticut.
Subsidized Rental Housing for Older AdultsService Name:Low Income/Subsidized Private Rental Housing for Older Adults
Subsidized rental housing for low income older adults, also known as Elder Housing, is usually for people age 62+, but some sites accept ages 55+. Rent is based on income, and is funded and managed by federal, state, or local housing programs. This type of housing is for older adults who can live independently. It is not licensed by the state of Connecticut.
Residential Care Homes/Rest HomesAdult Residential Care Homes
Nursing HomesSkilled Nursing Facilities
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What Are Senior Living Apartments
Senior living apartments in your area might also be advertised as senior citizen apartments, 55 and older communities, low income housing for 55 and older or senior retirement apartments. They can be independent buildings or part of a senior living community, as in 55 Plus communities, independent senior living communities, or age-restricted communities. Unlike assisted living and nursing homes, senior apartments generally do not include any care options, unless part of a larger community that offers multiple senior living lifestyles. Senior citizen apartments can come in the form of studio, one bedroom, two-bedroom apartments and even shared apartments.
55 and over senior citizen apartments and 55 plus communities are designed with the senior in mind. They often resemble a resort in layout. There is usually a community of homes, either freestanding condos, mobile homes or apartment style. There is usually a central clubhouse or common area for use by the residents.
The homes or senior living apartments within this type of age-restricted community are designed to be low maintenance and address the daily living concerns of seniors. There are usually walk in showers, single story buildings to avoid stairs, and wide entryways to allow for wheelchairs and walkers.
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Senior Condos For Rent
Renting a senior condo is a more affordable option, but it comes with the drawback of not outright owning the property. For those who wish to rent, the good news is that costs range widely but tend to be rather affordable. Depending on where you live and the amenities you have onsite, you may find that renting is ideal because it takes less out of your pocket.
You can find condos to rent for seniors in most communities. Some are labeled 55 and over communities. Others are designed as assisted living locations. In these, you will rent out the portion from an assisted living community or provider. You will find that these are becoming more prevalent as the senior population ages.
Condos differ from one area to the next in size and structure. In addition, the types of services offered to seniors will change. This means seniors really need to get to know the provider, location, and the community to find out what is best for their specific needs.
How Can I Pay For A Retirement Community
Financial assistance programs available for other types of senior living cannot be applied for 55+ communities. Programs like Medicare, Medicaid , and long-term care insurance can not be used as a payment source for a 55+ community because these communities do not offer any type of personal care assistance or medical care.
However, if a retirement communitys cost is too high for you to cover completely out-of-pocket, other assistance options are available. Some ideas for sources of financial assistance include:
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How Do I Choose A 55+ Lifestyle Community
Choosing a retirement community to call home is no easy task. A great place to start is our senior living directory, which you can search by entering your zip code at the top of this page. Youll be able to see a curated list of retirement communities in your city and view photos, descriptions, and contact information for your top choices. In addition to searching the directory, the following three tips can help you find the best retirement community for you.
Determine your priorities and limitations
While looking through your options for retirement communities in your area, try to get clear on these three things:
- Budget: How much can you spend per month? Is there wiggle room for additional amenity or HOA fees?
- Preferred Setting: Do you want to live in a senior apartment complex where youll be living closer to neighbors, or would you prefer a sprawling retirement community?
- Must-Haves: Are there any amenities or services that are must-haves for you, like an on-site pool or in-unit laundry?
Once you know your budget and the type of community youre looking for, it is much easier to narrow down your search. Getting clear on your priorities and limits from the start can save you valuable time and prevent you from putting effort into researching or visiting communities that dont meet your needs or fit your budget.
Tour some communities in your area
Dont be afraid to ask for assistance
Housing Assistance For People 55 And Older
The Housing Bureau for Seniors recognizes that stable housing is imperative to physical and mental well-being. HBS informs and empowers older adults and those who care about them with guidance and resources regarding sustainable housing.
Visit our Housing Bureau for Seniors Programs and Events page for a list and description of the programs we offer.
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Luxury Senior Living Communities
A luxury 55+ community is just that. Generally, the homes will be larger with more amenities and features. They tend to be significantly higher priced as well. Luxury communities may offer more services to residents including more onsite amenities. Most importantly, the higher price ensures that more affluent individuals live within the community.
+ / 62+ Senior Apartments
Senior apartments are age qualified apartment communities geared toward senior living. Senior apartment communities are often categorized for 55+ or 62+. Senior apartments are multi-unit housing structures with each senior having their own self-contained unit to live in. Senior apartments vary in size ranging from just a few units to several hundred. Also called senior housing.
Accommodations and amenities vary greatly from basic to luxury units. Some senior apartment for rent offer transportation, meals, activities and in-home support at an added cost while other apartment communities offer no such care. As with non-senior apartment communities, grounds keeping and maintenance are included. Seniors pay rent in exchange for living in the apartment and can choose from short or long term rental contracts based upon their needs.
Senior apartments are an excellent senior housing option for active seniors who are mentally and physically healthy enough to be completely independent, but desire to live amongst their peers. Many senior apartment complexes have a clubhouse geared towards senior activities and socializing.
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Recreation Culture & Entertainment
Most people associate Texas with an image of a cowboy and the motto Everything is bigger in Texas. Texans follow this motto and tend to be larger than life and accepting of everyone making the state a huge melting pot of many cultures and lifestyles.
Texans love their history and take pride in their state. There are many popular attractions in Texas for active adults and retirees including The Alamo, Houston Space Center, State Capitol, Paseo del Rio, Galveston Island, Gruene Hall, Natural Bridge Caverns, Cowboy Stadium, Big Bend National Park and much more. Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.
Texas is best known for petroleum and natural gas, agriculture, steel, banking, insurance and tourism. The state leads the nation in livestock and cotton production. Texas has more farms than any other state as well as the highest acreage. Texas is also home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state including AT& T, Dell, NASA and Men s Warehouse.
Assisted Living Or Nursing Facility
An assisted living center or nursing facility provides specialized care and services to disabled, mobility-impaired seniors.
The level of care each facility provides varies on a case-by-case basis. For example, assisted living homes likely have limited services and will only help residents with basic day-to-day activities, such as bathing and eating. Meanwhile, a nursing facility might offer more specialized treatments and services.
These facilities best suit adults who need 24/7 maintenance and assistance. Most patients and residents here can no longer move on their own, carry risks of life-threatening illnesses , or require memory care treatment.
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Con #4 Rules And Regulations
While the HOA does collect fees from community members, it also enforces regulations and community bylaws that residents must abide by. If a resident violates a rule, the HOA may impose a fine. These regulations can be quite extensive, so its best practice to read the rules thoroughly before joining a retirement community.
Pro #2 Community Location
You can find a 55+ community almost anywhere in the United States. However, the ideal location for these communities is in areas that see the sun all year round, which is mostly in the Sun Belt states, like Arizona and Florida. In fact, Florida has the highest number of active adult communities at 969 locations.3 Plus, youll find that most of these communities are strategically placed near quality medical facilities.
Neighborhood trends at your fingertips.
Check your local market.
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Senior Condos For Sale
Buying a condo offers all of the benefits of owning a home. Senior condos come with the same costs associated with homeownership including mortgages and homeowners association fees. Most often, individuals are responsible for paying for utilities and other costs on their own.
Condos for sale are a good idea for those who plan to live in the area long term. They can be an investment because you will own them in most cases. Senior condos for sale are often purchased with a mortgage. They are not provided, in any way, by the government through Medicaid or Medicare.
Assisted living condos are also privately paid for in most cases. Some states allow for senior condos to be paid through Medicaid, but this is rare.
Amenities In 55+ Communities
The kinds of amenities you’ll find vary greatly from community to community. But in general, most will have a clubhouse and exercise facilities, indoor/outdoor pools, hobby and craft clubs, security, and maintenance. Others offer golf courses, marinas, tennis courts, on-site health care, restaurants, professional entertainment, walking trails, billiards rooms, card rooms, library/media center, bocce courts, lakes for fishing, and many other lifestyle-related options. For older adults who need some assistance with daily tasks, there are communities with this care available.
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Are 55+ Communities Legal
It is a common question. The Fair Housing Act does not list age as a protected class against housing discrimination. A community qualifies as a 55 Plus Community if at least 80% of residents are a minimum of 55 years of age or all current residents are over 62 years of age. Meeting either of these guidelines allows the age-restricted community to limit the age range for residents. Generally, this means no children under the age of 18 years of age are allowed to be permanent residents.
55 Plus Communities differ from 62 Plus Communities. 62 Plus Communities specify that 100% of residents must be at least 62 years of age with no exemption or clause to allow younger residents.