Living in 55 Plus Communities


When you reach the age of 55 there are a lot of important choices to consider, not the least of which is your living arrangements. Perhaps you’re an empty nester isolated in a community of families, or perhaps you’ve lived closer to the office for convenience in your commute but now don’t appreciate the hustle and bustle. Regardless of your reasoning, you’re looking for a residence that’s a better fit for your needs. You think a 55+ community could be just that.

The first thing to understand is that living within such a community is only open to individuals 55 or older or married couples if at least one of you meets that age requirement. This means one of you could be under the age of 55 and these communities would still be a viable option. With this in mind, let’s examine some aspects to investigate when considering 55+ communities.

One of the first elements of the community to understand is its HOA. The HOA, or Homeowners Association, is an elected board of residents who consistently meet to establish the community’s rules and guidelines. An HOA does require a budget to fund their projects, and these funds usually come from the community’s residents in the form of a monthly fee. Community members are welcome to attend HOA meetings. You could also consider joining the HOA’s board to have a say in how the budget is spent – though keep in mind that having a board position won’t waive your HOA fees. 

An HOA will maintain the exterior of all homes within the community including landscaping, trimming, watering, and painting. Usually an HOA will paint the exteriors of homes every five to seven years. They generally handle deck maintenance, gutter cleaning, and bug spraying. With a good HOA, you can rest assured that your home’s exterior will be clean and tidy even when you vacation; you won’t even have to hire anyone to mow the lawn.

To live in a community with an HOA, you would have to follow the rules and regulations they put forth. They decide what you can plant or do on the outside of your home. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of whether or not the HOA is supportive before moving since an HOA can be frustratingly picky or lazy. Have your realtor ask questions of the HOA and do their best due diligence on your behalf. Speak with an HOA member if you can to get a feel for their atmosphere and values. The right HOA can be a boon. The wrong one could be detrimental to your living experience.

The main attractions of a 55+ community are often their amenities available to residents. If you’ve ever wanted to live with a golf course at your doorstep, many 55+ communities would make that dream come true. These communities also usually have some combination of pickleball, tennis, and bocce ball courts to keep their residents active. 55+ communities often have fitness gyms. Some might even have hot tubs and swimming pools available. 

Other kinds of recreation are also supported, with activity rooms dedicated to creative hobbies like crafts, sewing, art, and woodwork. There are also shared spaces for social events and everyday recreation such as card games. Last but not least – some even have a horse barn! Imagine riding into the sunset of retirement with those you love and cherish. A resident of a good 55+ community would have no shortage of options for a fun time – just remember your family and friends from outside will likely require you to be with them to use amenities.    

55+ communities house people not only in their fifties and sixties but also in their seventies and older. You could meet and interact with people twenty years senior or more on a daily basis. While not necessarily a deal-breaker, this is a fact people can miss when considering such a community.

Another factor to consider is that younger family members or friends won’t be able to stay with you for extended periods of time as these communities, which you may guess, like to keep it 55+. When you’re shopping for a home in such a place, one question that’s important to ask is how long you’re allowed to have visitors. You want to avoid situations such as your family planning a month-long stay with you when you’re only allowed two weeks. It also may be valuable to ask whether you’re allowed to have younger people house sit for you when you’re away.

If you love your pets, you will need to be aware of your community’s restrictions for pet ownership. There are generally limitations on size, weight, and number of pets permitted in each household of a 55+ community. Additionally, not all communities allow fencing for your private yard.

Yet another factor to consider is whether you’re ever going to resale. On the one hand, if you desire to live out your years in a single home, a 55+ community would offer that experience. On the other hand, if resale value is something with which you’re concerned, you’ll need to investigate whether your area is saturated with 55+ communities and for how much the homes in these communities sell.   

Not all 55+ communities are made the same, and there are always different choices to weigh.  That SV Life is here and ready to help with your questions and concerns regarding 55+ communities. Please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] or call us at 408-612-5969. Also, be sure to keep an eye on our blog or social media for more gems of real estate knowledge.