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55+ communities: Features, requirements, pros and cons

Published June 3, 2024| minute read

    As we grow and experience shifts in our personal identities, our lifestyles tend to change with us. This is often reflected in what we want out of our homes. After the hustle and bustle of a few years of city living, maybe you want a slice of suburban paradise. And after years of great memories where you currently are, you may be interested in learning about a new community that feels a little more like you. If this sounds about right, then you may be interested in exploring 55+ communities.

    What is a 55+ community?

    A 55+ community is a residential development designed specifically for individuals who are 55 years of age or older. These communities are typically planned to accommodate the needs and preferences of older adults. Key characteristics of 55+ communities include:

    • Age restrictions: Each household must meet the minimum age requirement, with someone 55+ (or whatever minimum age the community requires) living in the home.
    • Amenities: 55+ communities typically come with amenities that cater to the age group. They usually include lifestyle facilities that make the community more convenient and lively. For example, clubhouses, fitness rooms, pool clubs and other recreational activities.
    • Social opportunities: 55+ communities often organize different activities to help engage and provide opportunities for members of the community to have active social lives. They may use the clubhouse for weekly card games, or the recreation center to host holiday parties.
    • Privacy and security: Many 55+ communities will have certain privacy and security measures in place to help members feel safe and taken care of. Some may be gated communities with a guard or only allow approved visitors.
    • Maintenance-free living: Many 55+ communities maintain both shared spaces and provide maintenance for the homes so residents can live without the stress of yardwork and maintenance, freeing up more time to take advantage of the facilities.

    Can I live in a 55+ community?

    The rules surrounding who can live in a 55+ community may differ depending on the community. Typically, at least one member of the household must conform to the minimum age requirement. However, the age requirements and rules around actual occupants of the space will likely differ. If you’re curious about living in a 55+ community, do inquire what the rules are before making an offer on a home.

    Can someone under 55 buy in a 55+ community?

    While the primary age requirement is typically 55 or older to live in a 55+ community, it’s only natural to ask, is there an age requirement regarding who can buy in a 55+ community? In short, it depends. While some communities may allow someone under 55 to buy a home there, they may have a limit on how many homes in the community can be purchased by someone under 55. Some communities may allow a certain ratio of homes to be purchased by people under 55, whereas others might not have restrictions. Conversely, some of these communities are more stringent with their requirements and may not allow anyone under their age requirement to purchase a property.

    Should I buy a home in a 55+ community?

    Whether or not you should buy a home in a 55-plus community depends on your individual goals, preferences and circumstances. Consider using the following pros and cons to help guide you:

    Pros of living in 55+ communities

    • Age-appropriate amenities.
    • Social engagement opportunities.
    • May be easier to connect with similar peers.
    • Lower maintenance responsibilities than homes outside community living.
    • Security features.

    Cons of living in 55+ communities

    • Age restrictions.
    • Potentially strict rules and regulations.
    • More limited housing choices depending on your needs and preferences.
    • Community fees to help cover amenities and services.
    • Potential resale restrictions that could impact market value.

    In summary

    Living in 55+ communities is a step many people take to meet like-minded people, free themselves of some of the stressors of homeownership and gain access to new, exciting amenities right next door. While 55+ communities often come with rules surrounding who can buy and live within the community, this will likely differ depending on where you’re looking. If you’re interested in finding a 55+ community near you, consider connecting with a real estate agent with expertise in this area.

    Over 55 communities: FAQs

    1. Are there different types of 55+ communities?

    Yes, there are different types of 55-plus communities that cater to a variety of lifestyles and home preferences. Some may have different age restrictions, amenities and levels of care provided to community members.

    2. What is the difference between a 55+ and a retirement community?

    55+ communities are typically designed to provide an active and socially engaging environment for adults 55 and older. Retirement communities offer a range of health and lifestyle care options. They may have less strict requirements surrounding age, and care more about what the community member needs.

    3. Where are most 55+ communities located?

    There are 55+ communities located throughout the U.S. and distribution may vary depending on the region.

    4. Are over 55 communities a good investment?

    Whether over 55 communities are a good investment or not depends on your investment goals. Consider your lifestyle and personal preferences, long-term goals, historical property value, resale conditions and your personal finances to help understand if this would be a good investment for you.

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