7 Tips to Find A Boomer Retirement Community
Young retirees, known as boomers, want to live in active adult retirement communities with younger residents. Baby boomers have been at the forefront of many lifestyle changes over the years. They are now changing how we think about retirement communities, especially what we call them. Boomers want to live in retirement communities that emulate words like active adult, lifestyle, and resort living. The big question for many baby boomers is how to spot a younger retirement community. So let’s explore 7 tips to find a boomer retirement community. Put a few of these tips together and you might find your perfect place to call home in your silver soon-to-be golden years.
1. It’s all about the retirement community name or slogan
As a Realtor specializing in Phoenix, Arizona, active adult communities, I work with many baby boomer buyers who voice the same theme. They don’t want to live in what they feel is the traditional retirement community. Communities called retirement communities do not fit a boomer’s image of themselves. They think of retirement homes, nursing homes, or old people. “We are young retirees who are very active and don’t want an older people’s place,” explained Katie, a boomer buyer from California. How a community describes or markets itself makes a big difference in the age of retirees, it attracts.
Trading in the word retirement for active adult gives a whole new perspective and feel to a community. Boomers relate more to active adults, adult lifestyles, or adult living as these words closely match their image of themselves. Some builders and developers have caught on and have added these words to their community name or slogan. Look for those words.
2. Highly active retirement communities
Boomers are attracted to communities offering top-notch amenities where they can stay physically and socially active, along with newer homes and recreation facilities. Those with many things to do, like fitness classes, pilates, pickleball, softball, walking, and biking trials, will help you gauge the age of the residents. Pickleball, considered a younger sport, has become more popular than tennis in some 55+ communities. Look for a full-time activity director or fitness director, as they will most likely result in a more stimulating place to live. It’s all about a healthy fun lifestyle in an active resort setting.
3. Newer communities
The communities that seem to transition the best are newer active adult communities with state-of-the-art facilities, younger age restrictions, and lock-and-leave options. Most of these communities, but not all, are still building new homes with open floor plans, the latest technologies, and energy efficiencies.
4. State-of-the-art facilities and amenities
Boomers want luxurious state-of-the-art facilities and amenities in the community, including resort-style pools, golf courses, workout facilities, recreation centers, clubhouses, restaurants, theaters, and spas. Yes, they want it all.
5. Lower age restrictions
Boomer communities tend to have lower age restrictions to become a resident. The lowest I’ve seen to date is age 40. PebbleCreek and Sun City Grand allow a certain percentage of the homeowners to be 40 or 45 years of age, respectively. Only one person on the title must qualify, with the other person 19 or older. With lower age restrictions, some pre-retirees and semi-retired boomers buy before officially retiring. Joe from Chicago bought a home in a Robson resort active adult community at age 40. He rents his furnished home to snowbirds until his kids are grown and he retires. In between renters, he and his family vacation there a few times a year. Other pre-retirees buy and still work while living full-time in the community, enjoying the resort lifestyle in an adult community.
6. Lock and leave Condos and Villas
For many boomers, the first home they buy in a retirement community will be a second home that is a low-maintenance condo, duplex, townhouse, or villa. These homes are single-story with one or more shared walls. There are also patio homes that are single-family homes with zero lot lines or tiny yards. Both landscaping and exterior maintenance are covered by the second homeowners association, which is in addition to the community HOA or recreation fee. This lock-and-leave option is popular with boomers as it allows a carefree lifestyle with more time to enjoy the community, travel, pick up, and leave to return to their main home.
7. Lifestyle master-planned community with an active adult subdivision
Shea Homes, a developer in several states, does a great job building master-planned lifestyle communities. Trilogy at Vistancia, Victory at Verrado, and Sterling Grove are outstanding local examples in the Phoenix area. This is a master-planned resort community for all life stages, including family and active adult subdivisions. For some boomers, this is the perfect setting for their children and grandkids to be close by and a younger population.
To sum it all up
Now that you know how to spot a boomer retirement community, it’s time to do your homework on the web and find a community that fits your needs. Once you have done that, find a Realtor who specializes in 55+ or, I should say, 40+ communities who can help can help guide you once they know your real estate goals and criteria. And, most importantly, go and visit. There is no substitution for experiencing a community in person to see if it fits your expectations and needs.
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