Retirement Properties: Upscale Downsizing

The kids may be gone, but today’s seniors are busier than ever with friends, family, jobs and even weekend escapes. With a house to clean, snow to shovel and those flower beds that seemed like such a good idea 20 years ago, many seniors often think about downsizing. Trading routine maintenance chores for fun sounds like the definition of retirement.

The trick is to find retirement properties that offer downsizing without downscaling expectations. All retirement communities offer independent seniors the chance to live near neighbors of similar age and interests. Most are located close to medical facilities, shopping, places of worship and large metropolitan areas. Many offer club house activities, a pool, tennis courts and even shuttle bus or van service.

The Pros and Cons of Retirement Properties

According to the National Association of Realtors, more retirement properties for seniors age 55 and older were built in the last five years than at any other time, so today’s seniors have plenty of choices. Purchasing property enables seniors to continue as homeowners near friends and family without spending so much time and money on upkeep and routine chores. However, seniors who buy into 55+ retirement properties could find themselves moving once again if they need assisted living in a few more years.

Since this kind of retirement property is also statistically more difficult to resell due to the age restriction, the expense of buying and selling is another consideration. Expect to pay approximately six to seven percent in fees when selling and nearly that when buying. Will the equity from the oversized house be used up in buying the new downsized house? Then consider property taxes. Any homeowner knows that taxes have gone up, but often new houses come with even higher taxes. Plus, all of those maintenance chores come with a cost, and monthly fees cannot be deducted from your income taxes.

Types of Retirement Properties: Senior Apartments

Senior apartments are a good choice for active adults, and plenty of upscale 55+ complexes exist. Residents come and go without worrying about their homes, and the environment feels safer because of security systems, gates or guards. Look for a comfortable kitchen and dining room to gather all the kids and grandkids for holiday meals.

Other amenities for senior apartments include:

  • In-unit laundry facilities
  • Pet- and child-friendliness
  • Elevators and stairs
  • Non-slip floors and grab bars in bathrooms
  • Accessible light switches and electrical outlets
  • Additional storage
  • Garage or covered parking
  • Satellite or cable TV
  • Internet connection

All-Inclusive Retirement Properties

Age and health impact any decision to downsize. Active seniors in their fifties and sixties may anticipate many years to enjoy 55+ retirement properties. However, seniors in their seventies or those experiencing health problems may feel differently.

It’s not always possible to predict when and if we’ll need extra assistance. For that reason, many seniors choose 55+ properties that offer assisted living and skilled nursing options in the same complex, often called continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). This way, they move only once and still have the benefits of assistance in the future.

Find Retirement Properties

There are thousands of retirement properties located across the United States with more being built each year. Browse our nationwide directory to find the retirement property that’s right for you!

Written by senior housing writer Lisa Logan, PhD.