Archive: November 2007

    As a former sales manager for one of Del Webb's largest active adult retirement communities, I've helped many people, from all walks of life, purchase a home. Most people were a joy to work with. There is something truly rewarding about helping people make one of the biggest decisions of their lives. There are, of course, occasions when the excitement of buying a new home fades a bit when the issue of money arises. Trying to negotiate the best price for a new home can be a scary and overwhelming task for some. There is bound to be some tension when two parties are trying to work out an agreement. The developer is hoping to see a return on his investment and buyers are rightfully looking for the best deal. So what is the best way to go about getting that deal? Here are five important things to keep in mind when trying to find the right home at the best price.
    A recent story in the Denver Post discusses the increasing popularity of gay and lesbian adult retirement communities. The article highlights RainbowVision in Sante Fe. RainbowVision is the nation's first development for retiring gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people. However, it is not likely to be the last. According to the article, as many as 28 GLBT adult retirement communities may be up and running by 2010.
    If you have spent any time researching adult housing options, you probably see these headline terms a lot. But what do they really mean? The terms "retirement community" and "senior community" seem to dominate the adult community industry. Yet, for some people, the thought of moving to a retirement community or senior community turns them off. After all, many of the people moving to these communities are far from retiring and even further from being classified as senior, and the notion of moving to some place labeled with these terms brings about visions of elderly seniors, shuffleboard and bridge clubs. Plus, most people find it easier to tell their friends that they are moving to an active adult community as opposed to a senior retirement community.
    Spending years working in a Del Webb 55+ active adult community, I heard from many single people that didn't feel welcome in an active adult community because they thought it was a "couples" community. They felt they would be ostracized by their neighbors because they would be unable to participate in typical activities without a partner. If you are a single person, the notion of making a move to a 55+ active retirement community may at first seem uncomfortable, but there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, there are sure to be many other single residents in the community, both male and female. In my experience, I have seen the singles population in active retirement communities range from 24-46%.

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    Many people in their fifties and beyond, who have both the inclination and the means to buy a new home in an active adult community, have done a good job of preparing financially for this exciting stage in their lives. Likewise, many of those same people have also learned that the stock market rewards prudent investors who buy low and sell high. While that type of popular stock market wisdom may sound matter-of-fact to some, you have to remember that logic regarding when to buy stocks or mutual funds at their lows often runs 180 degrees counter to emotions and circumstances that are screaming at people to sell stocks and, instead, get on the "flight to safety"--CDs, cash, etc. The reason I bring this up is that we all keep hearing about the housing downturn across the country. Yes, some areas of the country are seeing a slowdown of real estate sales, but the active adult community market has been somewhat insulated from this trend. Buyers in active adult communities often have the equity and resources that protect them from many of the market vagaries that are affecting younger buyers. And that is exactly why NOW might be the right time for people in the 50+ age range to buy a new home. This recent downturn has created a buyers' market for people who have equity and don't need jumbo or subprime loans to finance a move.
    One of the fastest growing relocating trends for those ages 55+ is active adult communities. As the name implies, you are buying much more than a home; you are buying the tremendous value-add of an entirely new community. And because most of these communities are age restricted, you get the benefits of living in a place that is defining the living environment and amenities based on the needs of a specific target market. Some people enjoy the eclectic nature of older, unplanned neighborhoods, but there are others who desire the substantial benefits that a newer, planned active adult community can deliver. Certainly, it is vitally important to explore where you want to live geographically in your fifties and beyond, but there are also a number of other key considerations you should keep in mind when contemplating a new location. These other important attributes are summarized nicely in a Business Week (BW) article that was published this week (A Smooth Move Into Retirement).

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