AJC Interview- Downsizing to an Active Adult Community

Buying in an Active Adult community with downsizing in mind

Buying a home in an Active Adult community with downsizing in mind doesn’t mean living without all the comforts.  Jim Chapman, president at Jim Chapman Communities, said moving to a 55+ community is a luxury.  It offers an opportunity to embrace a ‘lock & leave’ lifestyle. “Most communities offer landscaping services covering both common areas and individual yards.  This means no, or much less, yard work,” Chapman explained. When you move into a brand-new home, there is always much less need for maintenance.   Many 55+ homes are built with maintenance-free materials.

According to local REALTORS, Ben Staten and Kathy Seger with RE/MAX Around Atlanta, “One of the biggest reasons to consider the concept is the 55+ lifestyle,” Staten said. “Residents are looking to simplify their lives in general. They are no longer interested in paying the landscaper and handling stairs.  This buyer wants to live with like-minded residents at the same or similar stages in life.”

Atlanta appealing market for Active Adult buyers

Since Atlanta is such an appealing market for residents over the age of 55, the choices of housing run the gamut.  There are resort communities with single-story detached homes numbering 550 to 1000 homes.  Amenities include clubhouse, pools and full-time activity directors. Smaller communities range from 70 to 250 homes. These communities organize activities on their own and have fewer amenities.  Smaller communities have a variety of house styles to choose from.

Adding to that, Seger said another big draw is inexpensive property tax.  “Property taxes in general are lower here than other parts of the country.  Additionally, some Georgia counties provide Senior Tax exemptions. The exemption in most cases is the school portion of the property tax and thus a large savings.”

Buyers looking for community stability

As a rule, most 55+ communities require residents to buy, not rent. In fact, seldom are there rental opportunities in these communities.  “Developers understand that the stability of the neighborhood and Homeowner’s Association is important to senior homeowners and that these residents do not wish to be in a community with multiple investment properties.” Seger said.

“The most consistent feedback we get from buyers who make the decision to live in a 55+ community is that they wish they had done it sooner.” Staten said.

This a reprint from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. May, 13, 2016

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