Experience the community lifestyle, meet neighbors and enjoy the amenities before you purchase a home.

When searching for a retirement destination, you want to be sure you are choosing an active adult community which will be your perfect fit. You can get a good idea of what a community has to offer by reading reviews and looking at online pictures, but you won't really get a feel for the community until you visit it in person. Fortunately, many active adult communities have programs that let you try before you buy.

There are many different home builders who offer their own active adult community brands. Just a few of the more well-known brands include Sun City by Del Webb, Trilogy by Shea Homes, Four Seasons by K. Hovnanian, and Regency by Toll Brothers. There are also many smaller builders and individual developers creating their own resort-style active adult communities.

Active adult communities often offer many of the same amenities and activities, and there may be similarities among communities that belong to the same brand. Yet visiting a few communities will quickly show you that each development has its own personality and unique characteristics.

To make it easier for you to decide on a retirement destination, many active adult communities offer some version of a "try before you buy" program. These may include a day pass to try the clubhouse amenities, a round of golf, a spa service, a meal at an on-site restaurant, or even an overnight stay in one of the community's finished homes.

These programs differ from builder to builder, and may even vary from one community to the next. Some communities do not advertise a formal program but may offer a day pass or other perk if you call to arrange a visit.

Del Webb

Many Del Webb active adult communities provide day and overnight passes, with visitor programs including up to a three-night stay. These programs often let you try out some of the amenities, meet some residents, and explore the community in a golf cart. They may even include lunch or dinner with a current resident who will be happy to share their experiences and answer your questions.

Shea Homes

Shea Homes also offers a try before you buy program for many of its Trilogy communities. A reasonable fee lets you spend three nights and four days experiencing the community first hand. The visit includes many benefits, such as a meal for two at a community restaurant, two spa treatments and unlimited use of the clubhouse amenities.

As you begin to narrow your search, contact your favorite communities to arrange a visit. Be sure to ask about any programs for visitors, whether you will be able to try any of the amenities and if you will have an opportunity to talk to current residents.

When it comes to relocating, it's always a good idea to visit the destination in person so you can try it out before you buy it.