Mar 16, 2022

How Much Does it Cost to Live in an Active Adult Community?

Stuart Mason

An increasingly popular housing option for people when they retire is to move to an active adult community. An active adult community is a master-planned community that is limited to residents of a certain age (most commonly, age 55 or above). These communities often include amenities like tennis and pickleball courts, as well as pools and community centers (although the range of amenities is pretty wide, we’ve even seen a community with an R/C airplane field). Along with these amenities, people often choose to live in active adult communities because they reduce the burdens of home ownership as many times the landscaping or maintenance details are handled by the community on behalf of its residents. Finally, the social aspect of active adult communities is another great perk as it allows you to quickly make friends of a similar age and with similar interests instantly upon arrival. 

When you consider all of these benefits, it makes sense why so many people want to live in active adult communities. If you’re considering moving to an active adult community, a good first step is making sure that you’re looking at communities that fit your budget, as well as your retirement and lifestyle goals. Thankfully, many active adult communities provide affordable, high quality living experiences. 

The Basics

At a high level, the cost of living in an active adult community will be similar to that of other planned communities in the local economy in which it sits. In other words, if you are looking to buy a home in an active adult community in the Sarasota area, you can expect to pay roughly in line with what the market rate is for a home in a planned community in Sarasota. While this may seem rather general (and of course, every community will be different) it’s important to keep in mind that oftentimes buying a home in an active adult community is a roughly equal financial commitment to any other independent living option, as sometimes people assume that all the amenities that come with an active adult community make the price much higher than the cost actually turns out to be. 

Further, the range of prices in any given community will depend on factors that are probably already familiar to you, like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the existence of any additional features like a swimming pool. In addition, the purchase of a home in an active adult community will look much like any other real estate transaction, with the buyer securing a mortgage to pay for the new property.  

Home Owner’s Association

Along with the cost of purchasing and financing a home, many active adult communities also have Home Owner’s Associations, which charge fees in return for doing things like coordinating landscaping and maintenance as well as setting community guidelines. Unfortunately, it’s hard to generalize too much on how much HOA fees are as they often change a good deal from community to community based on how much value the HOA is providing. For instance, some HOAs may only provide maintenance and lawn care, while other communities may include golf club memberships with the fees. 

A Home Owner's Association (or HOA) will generally take care of things like lawn-care and other basic maintenance.

In addition, some communities will breakdown their HOAs by individual neighborhood within the community, adding further complexity to the question of what is an “average” HOA fee at an active adult community. Finally, there’s added difficulty calculating HOA fees for these communities because communities do not make a habit of advertising these fees. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you ask any community you’re thinking about living in what their HOA fees are, as these could be a meaningful part of your ultimate monthly housing bill.

Buy or Rent

One additional thing to keep in mind is that buying in an active adult community is not the only option, as many active adult communities also have rental options available. Much like a rental in any other building or community, a rental in an active adult community will involve signing a long term lease, usually paid monthly. Many communities will also have some sort of down payment associated with moving in. If you rent in an active adult community, the cost of your rent will often include the amenities that come with the community like access to the pool or workout facilities, as well as maintenance staff and/or security personnel.    

Active adult communities provide an affordable way to find your retirement home. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, there’s likely an active adult community option that works within your budget. If you’re thinking of making the move to an active adult community, but want to learn more about how to think about budgeting for the move and life thereafter, give us a shout at info@sunboundhomes.com. We will work to make sure that we find the right home for your budget and your retirement goals.

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