Downsizing Your Home: Looking For Options

Thinking of downsizing to simplify life and ease into a lifestyle with less overhead and more free time? Lots of options are available now, or in the pipeline, for those who want less house, less taxes, and more time for recreation and socializing.

There are various names for these communities and each offers something unique for the mature homeowner as they move into or through their retirement years.  An age-restricted community is a housing area that typically limits 80% of the ownership to individuals who are over a set age. Often the minimum age for one of the owners is 50 years, but it could be 55 or even 60. There are few or no restrictions on the age of visitors to your home such as your adult children and grandchildren.

These communities offer small lots with either detached or patio style homes, and take care of the exteriors and/or landscaping via monthly dues assessment.  Most offer amenities such as clubhouses, pools, walking trails, and may even facilitate activities and schedule special events. Continuing Care Communities are designed to be a single solution to retirement living, offering graduated housing situations from a detached home or condo to full-time nursing care. These usually require the purchase of a home and a higher monthly fee to cover amenities, meals, and health-related contingencies. Because many of these mature adult communities in our area are relatively new or now under construction, it is easy for new homeowners to establish connections among the many recent arrivals and quickly plug into the lifestyle.

The homes in these communities mostly offer one floor living with main floor master suites and progressive floor plans.  There is often at least a second bedroom on the main floor.  Upgrades can include screen porches, second floor bonus areas, upgraded kitchens, fireplaces, skylights, and finishes such as flooring and molding which add to the base prices that typically run, in the Triangle area market, in the mid $200’s to the high 300’s.

Communities in our area include offerings from the following national builders, with some local developers in the mix: Pulte (Dell Webb), Epcon, Toll Brothers, AV Homes, David Weekley, Lennar, etc.

To finance the purchase of a downsized home, there is a reverse mortgage option known as a HECM, which will provide a majority of the purchase price with no monthly mortgage payments for buyers age 62 or greater. This may be an option for buyers who either don’t possess enough equity to make a cash purchase, don’t want to make mortgage payments, or would rather use some of their cash equity for other purposes such as a vacation home or travel. There are upfront fees for this option, and the loan balance is paid off when you sell the home.

 Realtors can provide effective representation for buyers who want to explore these communities at no cost to the buyer, since builders set aside a portion of their marketing budget in advance for commissions to their on-site agents as well as to Realtors representing buyer clients. Benefits of having Realtor representation include understanding the lot selection process, navigating lot premiums and site restrictions, negotiation of upgrades and timing of construction, inspection regimens, and having a sounding board for decisions on financing, home finishes, and other practicalities related to a resale or new construction process. 

 *Our agent, Glenn Simon, has first-hand knowledge of many of these communities and is willing to serve clients on an hourly or full-service basis.   Email or call to find out more about these communities and representation options.