Whatever you have in mind and however your retirement plan might look like, you will need to consider your options and decide where and how you might like to live out your days.
Buying a retirement condo is a great choice for seniors who do not want the trouble of home maintenance in their ‘golden years’ of living. Retirement condos can be found in many active living and independent retirement communities and multi-unit complexes.
This A-Z for buying a retirement condo is not an entirely comprehensive list, more mentioning of the most regular considerations and points to ponder and will at least be of assistance in the process of deciding on the ‘what, when, where, why and how’ of retirement condo living.
A – Assisted Living. Your retirement condo can be part of a continuum of long term care facilities and services, when you are wishing to maintain your lifestyle with on-site support and care at your fingertips, giving you peace of mind and the option of assistance if required at any point.
B – Buying in a Complex. Your choices include a residential community and retirement complex. Depending on your finances, quality of life and healthcare requirements there are choices when it comes to the different complex options.
C – Choosing a Condo. Ensure you enlist the services of a ‘senior-friendly’ real estate agent and/or go through a retirement condo association affiliated with the complexes and communities you have in mind. Senior real estate specialists (it is a thing) are a true resource for older people looking specifically for retirement homes.
D – Downsizing. Choosing a smaller/compact future home comes with less responsibility and burdens, and you will be able to clear your life of unwanted or unused goods you are keeping/hoarding. Additionally, deciding on a property that incorporates all the maintenance that can go with owning a condo with a communal garden, on a complex.
E – Expenditure. Make sure your interest and investigations into a particular retirement home include finding out about all the extra expenses like any housing costs, ‘other fees’ and maintenance fees and other possible monthly expenses like taxes, utilities and so on.
F – Finance. The overall consideration when determining your place of retirement. It needs to be affordable as well as the ongoing affordability taken into consideration.
G – Goals. Another ‘overall’ consideration of importance. When will you buy and do you look into buying your retirement condo before you actually retire? If you are going to need a mortgage, this is easier to do when you are still working. What are your long term goals for your senior years, these goals have relevance and impact and require consideration sooner than you think.
H – Having More Spending Money. Part and parcel of ‘goals’ – preparing yourself in a timely fashion and being ahead of the game gives you more choices and enables you to have the luxury of being able to consider practical expenses like the possibility of renovations, for example, to your liking or affording unplanned future expenses that you might incur.
I – Independence. When it comes to keeping your independence, retirement communities are a great consideration and solution. Retirement communities are designed to promote independence, at varying levels, while at the same time allowing you to feel a sense of security, which compliments independence.
J – Joint Decisions. As with most complexes you are part of a community where the majority rules when it comes to decision making. Be sure that you are ok with this. Sometimes decisions are made that won’t necessarily be in your favor.
K – Key Rules of a Complex. Whilst retirement complexes hold out the promise of care-free living, the general rules and regulations within a complex must be considered and adhered to. Usually for your own safety and benefit and will rarely limit your lifestyle – if you are one who is not partial to any rules at your age, this might be something to consider too. These rules can be anything from no pets allowed to the external appearance of resident’s premises, etc.
L – Life Rights. A retirement home option that is the basis of a number of retirement complexes/villages: to buy to occupy for the rest of your life – which extends to the surviving spouse and cannot be otherwise terminated and, is protected by a ‘housing development scheme for retired persons’ act.
M – Master-planned Facilities. Many retirement complexes and communities are master-plan built facilities. That is, built with retired people of senior years in mind and therefore usually with a defined age-restriction. These complexes will give you the freedom to continue living the lifestyle you are used to, with the independence and all the facilities required to do so.
N – Niche Communities. A retirement condo allows you to live and interact with folk of the same age, stage and lifestyle bracket.
O – Owning or Renting? A question to consider. Depending on your financial situation, owning will give you stability, renting offers flexibility. Whichever route you go, housing costs will be one of your major considerations in retirement.
P – Precautions. Like with everything in life there are loop-holes and cons. When it comes to buying a retirement condo, as a pensioner, looking to enjoy retired life, make sure you leave no stone unturned. You might not know or have yet considered whether there is a reserve study (an independent analysis) of the condo associations reserve fund, usually related to large expenditures within the complex. This is something to inquire about.
Q – Quest for Costs. As with the financial loop-holes and cons involved with buying a retirement condo, further research into any further deductibles like annual budgets and financial records will potentially have an effect on you and your retirement funds.
R – Records. Official records of the condo/complex are essential and hopefully will be given to you to peruse without having to request them. Ensure you get to see the records pertaining to such aspects as condo/complex insurance and bylaws.
S – Social Scene. Activities, amenities, hobbies and daily engagements can often be found in or within the proximity of retirement communities. Most suitably located and convenient for hassle-free, care-free living.
T – Think Tank. Take time out to think about and write down what you what your future lifestyle to look like, including healthcare and leisure needs and consider the features and facilities you would like to have on the complex of wherever you choose your retirement condo to be. This is really important especially as you grow older.
U – Uninterrupted Lifestyle. Moving into a retirement condo should not alter your lifestyle but actually compliment it and enhance it. The transition should be a smooth one and one where you will find multiple benefits and advantages.
V – View Your Options. Retirement condos come in a range of property layouts and community setups. Do you want a condo in a residential building or in a village-type community; a detached residence or one in a block or sharing type of scenario.
W – Well Managed? Just how well-managed is the retirement condo/ complex and the affiliated homeowners association. This is an important consideration and something to check out. Organized doesn’t mean that day to day is overly monitored just that it runs smoothly and facilities and related provisions are in place, managed and run well.
X – X Marks the Spot. Make a priority list – figure out where you want to live and what you can afford – your perceived, realistic lifestyle; location too, including the practicalities for example of living near family, to the size of the home you want to buy – should it include an extra bedroom (visiting family) or have a private garden, etc.
Y – Your Dream Retirement Home. Buying your ‘dream’ home in a ‘dream’ location may not end up being so ideal. If you have never experienced, for example, a particular lifestyle, you will not know what to expect and can be found caught with unexpected issues and stresses and you certainly do not want to be living a ‘nightmare’ in your golden years.
Z – Zimmer Frame Friendly! Just a matter to consider, along with other accessibility features that are relevant and important in the later years. Does the condo building have an elevator? Does the condo have a walk-in shower? And other facilities and features for ease of accessibility.
On a final note. This will be a whole new chapter in life and one hopefully full of enjoyment, even in the little things – at your own pace and in your own time! Once you have considered all there is to consider, go ahead and buy that retirement condo, what are you waiting for?!
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