Your guide to finding the perfect condo for retirement
Retirement condominium communities create an environment where you can live among fellow retirees with the same interests. Many active adult living and independent living retirement communities offer the possibility of ownership or rental agreements. Many people of retirement age who downsize out of a larger family home and are able to purchase a condo outright. It's also reasonable to take on a new mortgage (perhaps a smaller one than the one you've had in the past), in order to take part in retirement condominium ownership.
Condos listed here include bungalow-style communities and new subdivision developments; there are also condo towers in cities. You can find places to own in rural or vacation areas that are priced quite reasonably, while retirement condos in a city are priced about the same as any other type of complex. These will all be single family homes in friendly communities where homeowners share common interests and are often likely to be people 50 and older who have "emptied the nest."
Communities offering so much more!
Many of these condo complexes offer a variety of features that are far more appealing than what you might expect from a typical condo complex. These create a community that is in effect exclusive and may have community-specific features that include any or all of golf courses, tennis and other sports courts (squash and racquetball), swimming facilities, and fitness and recreation centres. These spaces are often well-landscaped and situated near hiking or walking trails. In the end, you can be as active as you want to be here, while living without some noise problems and other aspects of typical neighbourhoods.
Condominium agreements can relieve homeowners of some of the stresses of typical home maintenance.
What should I consider before signing a condominium agreement?
- Review the entire property to make sure that it is up to your standards of cleanliness and order.
- Know about property maintenance in the community, especially concerning things such as snow removal, lawn-care, etc.
- Ask how well the budget is maintained and whether the condo community meets its annual budget.
- What amenities are you paying for and how do these meet your values? Don't pay fees for services you don’t want.
- Be aware that for new condominiums, costs can rise once the builder completes the project and/or the community board takes over.
- Be aware of what property taxes you will pay.
- Find out the cost of utilities. For example, poorly insulated end units may cause your bills to rise when the cold season rolls around.
- Consider how appealing the area will be for visiting relatives, especially children and grandchildren.
- In the event of a fire, how accessible is your unit to the street and to hydrants?
- Check the actual square footage of the condo unit to see if it matches that advertised in the brochures.
- Read all documents and agreements very closely before signing.
- Make sure your deposit is refundable.
- in some negotiations, you can haggle over price and get all the options you truly desire.
It is best to begin with a condo community that you like then inquire about a unit you think is the right sized retirement condo for you. It’s intuitive that the cost of a retirement condo will depend to some degree on the area in which you are living, as you would expect with any form of real estate. Plan ahead and you can have it all at a retirement condo in Canada.
Retirement Condos versus Retirement Communities
Beyond knowing the cost of retirement (certainly a big part of retirement planning), you need to know the retirement lifestyle you want before picking your next home. Retirement condos are often part of the active lifestyle opted into by many people just on the cusp of retirement. Retirement homes (while sometimes called condos) are more suited for people needing further levels of care and support.
Retirement condos will offer residents more privacy. In some cases this form of seniors housing accommodates both working and retired residents. That is, people in these condo communities may still be working, while easing into fuller retirement. There may be some staff on hand in these communities, to take care of grass cutting, snow removal and other such services but there is not likely to be any care offered; residents may hire in home care or other such services if they are in need.
There is a wide range of costs with all seniors housing options and proper retirement planning involves finding retirement residences that match your individual definition of senior living. Retirement condominiums may be considered to be part of communities, and people in these complexes may be experience increased needs as they age.
On the other hand, retirement communities may include apartments and condominium-style arrangements, while also including food as well as some medicine and recreational expenses. Retirement communities will generally have more medical, nursing and support staff than a retirement condo. Typically, retirement condominiums do not have any staff beyond standard maintenance and front desk personnel. Both options can provide retirees with apartment style housing in an environment generally conducive to senior living.
Retirement communities provide more structured forms of engagement than a retirement condo and have been shown to help seniors get out and try new things in retirement; these communities can also include seniors who require memory care, feeding or bathing assistance etc. A retirement community will likely organize social events like dances and encourage group activities for a variety of interests. Communal activities at retirement condos, when there are such options, might be outings to the casino, golfing and other active lifestyle options. Communication systems, walker friendly lavatories, and prescription drug services might be available at some retirement communities, though you would never expect to see many accessibility features at an active living retirement condo.