Category Archives: Real Estate Market

happy senior couple hugging over living house background

Turn Your Home Equity Into Your Next Project

With fall just around the corner, the seasonal transition is a busy time for homeowners. It’s like the second phase of spring cleaning with yard cleanup in full force and making plans for upgrades, and renovations. Many baby boomers and empty nesters prefer the idea of “aging in place” versus selling and find this phase in life to be the perfect opportunity to fulfill their home improvement goals. From installing a pool to turning the basement into a man cave, homeowners planning to turn their home into the ultimate retirement retreat can take advantage of the equity they’ve earned through a variety of financing options.

Reverse Mortgage – One route many take to fund a major renovation or buy the living room collection of their dreams, is applying for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage aka., HECM. In this scenario, a buyer can either replace their existing mortgage loan, or tap into their home’s equity without making a mortgage payment until the home is sold, or the last homeowner has passed on. An HECM loan is an attractive option for borrowers who have paid down their traditional mortgages, and have a healthy amount of equity because it allows them the option of receiving a tax-free disbursement to use however they desire.

Diving Into The Summer Housing Market

As we make the shift into late spring, early summer, there’s a communal feeling of renewal, and awakening that comes with later sunsets, warm weather, and gardens coming to life. For many of us, the transition unearths goals, and aspirations we made for the new year giving them a new burst of energy whether it was getting fit, launching a new career, or perhaps finding the perfect home? As things heat up outside, so does the housing market, and for 55+ active adults looking for their dream home this busy season requires some savvy shopping tactics.

Act Fast
According to Realtor.com, March-July is prime time for homebuyers with spring, and summer months boosting home inventory, but buyer beware because with an increased supply comes an increased demand. It’s not uncommon to walk into a home that’s been on the market for two hours to find out it already has a half dozen offers on the table. Keep your options open, and be prepared to dish out your bargaining chips on “the one,” or be ok with exploring other possibilities. Depending on the situation, a personalized letter to the seller, or builder can help stake your claim on the home you love.

Embracing Your Single Lifestyle

I confess that I’m guilty of typical “single girl” habits like eating ice cream out of the carton (on the couch), dancing to my playlist of guilty pleasure tunes, and while I don’t own a cat, my golden retriever is the love of my life. Sure, having a man in my life someday would be amazing, but I’ve realized over the years that being single has its advantages, and I’ve met more than a few senior singles in my day that are living it up with enthusiasm, and vigor. I have much to aspire to! Society seems to base everything around being in relationships, touting all the things to do with your honey, but there are also plenty of ways to celebrate your independence.

55+ communities are great for filling your social calendar, with groups like book clubs, dance, and fitness classes. They are almost designed with singles in mind, with many featuring outdoor gathering areas, walking trails, and hobby activities. Many residents say they enjoy the camaraderie and have made more friends than ever since moving to their active adult communities. The best part about living in a 55+ community is being surrounded by like-minded individuals that share common interests. From organizing an early morning golf swing to meeting up for a group hike, friendships during these golden years are likely to be the most meaningful ones.

Live the High Life Estate Style

If there was ever a time for a senior moment, it would be to spend it in an estate community. These elite developments, are the creme de la creme of the real estate world, and home to the affluent 55+ crowd who know how to live, and play well. It’s not just the amenities that make these active lifestyle communities luxurious, but sprawling landscapes, and the grandeur of these estate homes are quite the experience for both residents, and visitors. Imagine your driveway becoming the runway for your private jet, or coming home to a Mediterranean inspired villa? Living in paradise, with resort style services at your fingertips is what an estate lifestyle is all about.

BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, is a prestigious private club community where the architecture alone is breathtaking. The Palm Beach Gardens area boasts high end retailers, five star dining, and is the headquarters of the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA). This expansive community is also close to sparkling beaches, and Palm Beach International airport. The estate homes within BallenIsles are nothing short of stunning with golf course views, and a price range above $2 million. The country club lifestyle offers 55+ residents an array of resort style amenities including 19 tennis courts, a salon and spa, a world class fitness center, and an endless list of social clubs. Even the grand kids have their own piece of paradise with a play area, and kid’s pool.

How to Become a Canadian Transplant

An increasing number of retirees, and Baby Boomers are choosing to spend their retirement years outside of the U.S, and Canada with its natural beauty, and national healthcare system, is also one of the happiest countries to live according to the United Nations. As with any big move, relocating will require research to navigate the how to’s, and red tape.

Try before you buy. Plan a visit to the provinces you have in mind to get an idea of where you want to be, and to get a feel for the neighborhood. The national capital of Ottawa for example, is widely popular amongst tourists with its architecture, and museums while also being less expensive than other large cities. If you’re a U.S citizen, no visa is necessary if you’re planning on staying less than six months or if you’re a snowbird, and travel to and from the states before the six month period is over.

Have kids or grandkids living in Canada? If they’re citizens or have a permanent resident status, you have the option to sign up for the Parent, and Grandparent Super Visa, and live here for two years.

If you do decide to reside in Canada longer than six months, and you don’t qualify for the Super Visa, you’ll need to apply for a permanent residency. This gets a bit tricky, because you’re application is reviewed based on income, education, and even being bilingual (English/French). According to livingabroadincanada.com, those carrying a degree, or still in the work force are higher on the qualifying scale than a retiree on a fixed income unless they can show proof of a sufficient nest egg.

Healthcare is notorious for being so expensive that many forego necessary medical treatment because they just can’t afford it. Canada’s healthcare system called “Medicare” is available to everyone allowing residents to receive the care they need without the burden of co-pays, and deductibles. You’ll have to make arrangements for coverage in advance, unless you’re still working in which case you employer can assist you with the application process.

Canada is not only beautiful, but also has a reputation for healthy people, and high quality of living. Do your homework, and plan a trip to know if becoming a Canadian expat is right for you.

Teeing Up For the Best Retirement Ever

A few years ago I attended a conference in a golf community, and I remember gazing out of the window marveling at the lush rolling green, weeping willow trees, and thought those golfers had it made. These guys were living and breathing a love of the game with the course literally in their own backyards. Whether you’re an avid golf enthusiast, or you’ve chosen a 55+ golf community for the ambience, and beauty, your friends and family will wonder why they didn’t think of it first!

When purchasing a home in a 55+ golf community, stunning fairways, and manicured landscaping is a major bonus, but everyone has HOA fees. The upside to enjoying the greenery, is you don’t have to maintain it yourself, but becoming part of an association places restrictions on exterior modifications including landscaping, satellite dishes, or using your own golf cart vs one owned by the HOA. Before signing the dotted line, carefully read the bylaws, and regulations to know what to expect.

Dreaming of buying prime real estate close to the action? A 55+ golf community may fit the bill. From coast to coast, active adult communities with golf as a primary amenity offer home styles from manufactured to single family floor plans. Homes in these communities are not only coveted for their views, but most offer a variety of exciting features like beautifully constructed clubhouses, fitness amenities such as tennis courts, and pools, and fine dining perfect for after game refreshment.

Generally homes in a golf community hold their resale value, particularly those boasting big name designers like Robert Trent Jones, or Jack Nicklaus. Championship designed golf communities such as these make them highly sought after by boomers, and retirees ready to take their love of the game to the next level.

Birds of a feather flock together, and so do those who share a passion for the driving range. Making new friends with fellow age peers is the focus of a golf community lifestyle, and even if your idea of tee time is cocktails on your veranda, why not invite the neighbors? Many 55 or better will say their social calendars have never looked better since joining an active adult community.

Retirement living means more time doing what you love, and what better way to take advantage of your golden years than indulging in your favorite hobby? An active golf community offers residents the chance to exercise their best swing, with beautiful locations to choose from across the country.

Is a Condo Lifestyle Right For You?

Downsizing, less maintenance, or desiring a second vacation home are just a few of the great reasons baby boomers, and retirees are choosing condominium communities for their active lifestyles. Buying or renting a condo in a 55+ retirement community can be the perfect option to a single family home in terms of both price, and convenience. Some offer features such as underground parking, elevators, or a doorman, and many communities are located near exciting local attractions with amenities such as fitness centers, and clubhouses. If retiring the lawnmower, and show shovel sounds like a great idea, then condo life could be for you!

Affordability
Many 55+ condo communities are located in highly desirable areas where a single family home would be out of reach cost-wise. Depending on the community, some condos are available to rent, which may be a great option for active adults who spend much of the year traveling, or snowbirds living in the unit on a seasonal basis. Another money saving aspect to a condo lifestyle, is utilities are often lower than traditional homes, but keep in mind that association fees should be factored into the monthly housing budget.

Low Maintenance Living
Active adults who want more time doing what they love, can enjoy the low maintenance lifestyle of a condo community. 55+ home buyers using their unit as a rental property, or who spend most of their time traveling can enjoy having the exterior building maintenance, and landscaping taken care of in their absence. Seniors living on their own, or looking to downsize may find the upkeep of a condo much easier to manage.

Special Considerations
Homeowners association fees exist to cover the expense of building maintenance, amenities such as concierge service, and landscaping. Monthly dues collected may be higher depending on community location, available amenities, or assessments incurred due to unforeseen maintenance issues. Active retirement housing in a condo community often places restrictions on pets, so it’s a good idea to check the association guidelines beforehand. Another thing to consider is sharing common walls, and being in close proximity to neighbors. Noise, and problems like cigarette smoke should be factored into the decision to choose a multi-unit dwelling.

Whether you’re seeking a snowbird rental community, or are looking to purchase a primary home, condominium/apartment style living is a great choice for active adults wanting a simpler lifestyle, with more time to enjoy their retirement years.

Change What You Thought About a Manufactured Home Lifestyle

As a baby boomer, or retiree, now is time to explore, and live it up without sacrificing the pride, and comfort of owning your own home. If the dream of buying a house seems out of reach, have you considered a manufactured home lifestyle? 55+, and active lifestyle communities exclusive to manufactured homes, are making senior living more affordable giving folks the opportunity to get in on the real estate action. Today’s “mobile” homes are a far cry from the trailer on wheels from yesteryear with the look, and quality of a traditional home for years of memories to come.

According to the Census Bureau, the average cost of a new manufactured home in 2015 was $68,000. The price tag is variable depending on the size of the home, and whether or not you own or lease the land. Many active adult communities operate on a land lease whereby you own your home, but rent the lot you’re on. You’ll often find these retirement communities offer the feel of a neighborhood with amenities that put the fab in prefabricated like clubhouses, swimming pools, and fitness centers.

When you’re shopping around for a manufactured lifestyle community ask yourself where you’ve envisioned spending your retirement? Maybe the coast, or metropolitan living has been calling your name. Going prefab opens up opportunities to go where your dreams lead rather than your wallet. Choosing an age targeted or age restricted retirement community is a personal preference based on location, and which amenities are important to you. Also many are required by law to adhere to the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) which means 80% of homes within the community must be occupied by someone 55+, and provide services geared towards this lifestyle. For more information about this ordinance visit
http://www.manufacturedhousing.org/publications/default.asp?id=10&article=120

Affordability is a major selling point. Many manufactured homes are Energy Star efficient with a focus on green living that help to lower overall monthly maintenance costs. If you’re a retiree or baby boomer you’d probably rather secure a comfortable nest egg, than go house poor right? The downsides of going manufactured, is depreciation, and fluctuations in lot rental rates, however the lower financial profile of a manufactured home may be worthwhile in the long run.

You deserve to retire in style, and whether you’re dreaming of a wrap around porch near the water, or place in the city, buying a manufactured home is a worthy investment making the term mobile home a thing of the past.