The Honest Broker: Understanding 55+ Communities
BY: DIANE LOTT, BROKER PARADISE FOUND REALTY
This is a development that is designed to accommodate people of at least 55 years of age or older. In general, the design, amenities, and atmosphere are meant to provide for the needs of this age group. It is an age-restricted community where at least one member of a “household” must be a minimum of 55 years old.
The bylaws can vary widely with each individual community by restricting the age of any other household members to be; for instance, a person of 18 years of age or older, and there are others that restrict the age of a household member to be 40 years of age or older.
A community cannot just claim to be 55 and older, they must be registered on the governments’ website and adhere to the policies and procedures that show its intent to qualify for the exemption. For example, unless a community is registered on a government website as a 55+ or HOPA (Housing for Older Persons), they cannot discriminate or prevent someone who is younger than 55 to live there.
Generally, grandchildren, who are always a major concern for potential buyers, are allowed to visit. However, there may be restrictions on when, how long and/or where they are allowed within the community. Therefore, it is very important if this is the type of place that is under consideration, to read the rules, regulations, and bylaws prior to deciding to purchase there.
There are numerous benefits to ownership in a 55+ housing development. The purchase price for a residence is generally less when compared to a residence outside of a 55 and older making it more affordable. The amenities are usually more abundant and geared towards this specific age group; for instance, exercise facilities, theaters, and restaurants, along with potentially many more amenities depending on the community. The common areas meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities) guidelines. These details ensure that the residents experience a quiet atmosphere and companionship of other older adults.
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