Tips on How to Purchase a Home in an Active Adult Community

Q&A with a Reader

Been wanting to ask you for years……

I believe you have a “permanent residence” in Arizona.

Knowing how money conscious you are ( I am the queen of frugal ) do you have to pay steep HOAs on your modular home residence?

I had a serious health issue two years ago “Livin’ the dream” now but this has made my hubbie and I seriously look at how we can spend more time together.

While cutbacks in spending are a huge part of this equation, so is trimming down housing costs.

We have so learned this from being an avid reader (and fan!) of you both!

Keep rockin’ it. In spite of COVID you have done us all a great service!

Pam

Hi Pam,

Thank you so much for your kind words about our website! We appreciate it.

Our place is in an active adult community in the foothills of Arizona. Let me just say that there are literally dozens and dozens and dozens of these communities in the surrounding area and you probably will not have a problem finding a community that will suit you. You could even try New Mexico, Texas, or Florida.

Ours is small (350 sites?) and we chose this place years ago because it had a tennis instructor and we wanted to learn the game properly. We were blessed with this greatest guy to teach us…

But there are also communities that have 1,000 spots – some more and some less. The bigger the community, the more pools, community areas, and activities you will have. And I would imagine, the higher the HOA or “Lifestyle Fees” would be. But you also have a choice to purchase the land in some of these places (that means higher property taxes and insurance) or lease the land (which is what we do) and this gives us lower insurance rates and our property tax is based on our place being a vehicle, instead of a brick and mortar home — savings of thousands of dollars a year.

I would recommend going online, “virtually viewing” a few of these locations, and then go out there in person to see them. Then… when you have a location narrowed down, rent for a season to see if you like the community, the activities, where you are in relationship to shopping, theaters, professional ball games or what-have-you.

Then…

When you are ready to purchase, we would recommend that you purchase from an owner instead of through an agent. (This will also save you thousands of dollars).

If you go at the time the yearly “rent” or “Lifestyle Fees” are due, there will be units for sale by owners who might choose not to return to the area for any of a number of reasons. It might be they can’t afford it, it might be they are Canadian and have decided to spend their lives in Canada (for the healthcare), it might be because a spouse has died or is ill, and they cannot return to their place in AZ.

You can get a good price for their unit, because they would rather sell it than spend the $1,000s of dollars for the yearly fee if they are not returning.

Yes, it will be used, and yes, you might not be “in love” with their decor, but you will have saved so much money by

1) not purchasing the land

2) not going through an agent, and

3) buying at the time when rent is due

Then you can realistically purchase whatever bed, couch or curtains you want to make the place yours.

Another benefit to having the place used, is that it will be completely furnished. Our used unit came with EVERYTHING including pots, pans, glassware, hammers, nails, light bulbs, sheets, towels, mops, brooms, bleach, laundry detergent, TV, stereo, … you name it. Again, it might not be your perfect style, but you will have saved a lot of money by not having to furnish the place completely from scratch. If you have doubles of things, just give them away to a senior home, church, orphanage, school or a charity.

Take a look at this piece, Worry Free Housing if you haven’t already.

Please feel free to ask us any other questions. We hope you find this information to be useful.

Again, thank you for your very kind words about our website.

We are thrilled that you have overcome your health issue and that you have many years ahead of you to enjoy your life with your husband and family.

Sending you our very, very best.

Akaisha and Billy

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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