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Choosing the Best Retirement Communities when Buying or Building a Home

The decision to buy or build a home is a momentous occasion at any phase in life, but the decision to buy or build a new home and choose the best retirement living community can be especially intimidating. While some of the best retirement communities are springing up everywhere in the United States, Florida remains one of the most popular choices for retirement because of its favorable climate, relatively low cost of living, and variety of active senior lifestyle communities. When considering buying or building a home in a retirement living community, the first and most obvious thing buyers take into consideration are qualities of the community itself. However, there are many additional factors that should be considered in making a decision about buying or building a home where you will spend the rest of your life. Knowing what to look for as a potential homeowner in a retirement living community can help buyers make better decisions for their golden years.

Several things to consider when trying to choose the best retirement communities for your new home:

  • The community's qualities - Consider the positive things the retirement living community has to offer. Does the community promote an active senior lifestyle? Offer a variety of activities? What types of amenities are available to its residents? Is the surrounding landscape pleasing? Consider the location and nearby attractions. What is it like getting around the area? What is traffic like? Another thing to consider is the community's demographics-what types of people live there? The best retirement communities are places where one would feel comfortable and be happy living day in and day out.  Different communities appeal to different lifestyles and interests, so be sure to visit a variety of communities before making your final decision.  Discover Florida Realty can assist you by using our in-depth experience to point you toward communities that best match your needs.
  • The builder's reputation - Another important thing to determine before buying a home in a retirement living community is the reputation of the builder.  If you're buying a new home, ask residents in the community about the builder's reputation for warranty service and follow-up.  If you're buying a resale home, ask if the builder has provided any extended warranty protection that might transfer to you as the new buyer.  You'll want a home that is as maintenance-free as possible, so the builder's reputation for quality of construction will be an important factor to consider.
  • Taxes and fees - Before purchasing in an over-55 community, make sure you understand all the cost involved in living in that community.  These costs could include association maintenance fees and additional taxes on your home from Community Development Districts (CDD's). Other fees may include leases paid to the developer or a third party for recreational facilities, golf courses and other amenities. The best retirement communities will disclose any additional costs you might have prior to closing, but be sure to ask for a complete listing of these charges.
  • Closing costs - Buyers often get caught up in the excitement of a home purchase and don't think to ask how much it will actually cost to get into the new house. Closing costs can vary widely among different communities, and financial institutions also add closings costs for financing a retirement home.


When considering buying or building a home in a Florida retirement living community, performing a thorough evaluation of the builders and their policies is just as important as evaluating the community itself. Once you've compared the best retirement communities and found a retirement living community whose location and amenities fit your lifestyle, look for builders who have a good reputation for quality and service, and be sureyou understand all potential costs upfront. You might save thousands of dollars, and you'll be certain to enjoy an easy transition to retirement.

About the Author

Tom Eleazer is the broker for Discover Florida Realty. He has more than 30 years of experience in selling over-55 communities throughout the state of Florida.

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