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Living in 55+ Communities: What to Expect


Making the choice to move to any new community involves a careful weighing of your options. When you’re looking to move to something as specialized as a 55+ community, you’ll want to do more homework than normal. While you may not be looking at the quality of the schools in these communities, you will certainly be looking at how the communities will impact your quality of life. Living in 55+ communities (also known as active adult communities) can be great, but knowing what to expect will help in deciding what kind will be the best fit for you.

The pros and cons of living in 55+ communities

As you might imagine, there are pros and cons when it comes to living in any type of community. When you’re looking at living in 55+ communities, what you’re really looking at is a lifestyle. As such, you’re going to want to put a great deal of thought towards whether or not the kind of lifestyles that are encouraged by these communities are really for you. Though each 55+ community does differ in specific ways, the pros and cons tend to hold true no matter which community you’ve got your eye on.

Related: The Guide to Active Adult Communities in Arizona


Pros of living in 55+ communities

55+ communities are incredibly well-designed and tailored for a very narrow part of the market. If you’ve often felt like other master-planned communities didn’t really market themselves to people in your age group, you’ll find exactly what you need here. While no community will perfectly meet your every individual need, they do have quite a bit to offer if you’re looking to enjoy your retirement around people with whom you have a lot in common with.

First and foremost, they really do pride themselves on giving their residents a real sense of community. From numerous events to street plans that encourage getting to know your neighbors, it’s a place you can go to meet many people who might have had life experiences like your own. Because it caters exclusive to a set age range, you’ll be among your peers no matter where you go. These active adult communities are excellent for people who want a chance to make lasting friendships and feel part of something larger than themselves.

active adult communities

At the same time, these communities offer a fantastic number of things to do. While there’s definitely a stereotype that most of these communities are centered around golf courses, the truth is that golf is usually just the tip of the iceberg. From book clubs to outdoor concerts, these communities provide plenty of options for those who want to stay active. 55+ communities tend to pride themselves on being places where you can live your best life and stay as active as you’d like to be.

As you visit active adult communities, you’ll see that each neighborhood is cared for with a great attention to detail. You’ll probably never have to worry about a neighbor who won’t maintain his or her property or one that allows unpleasant tenants to rent a home. Everything in the area, from the clubhouse to the local shops, are all centered around the same demographic and meant to appeal to the same people.

Safety is also a big reason why people choose to live in 55+ communities. Crime statistics almost always seem to trend low in these areas. One big reason is residents are usually proactive in taking measures to prevent crimes, such as actively participating in neighborhood watch efforts. Many communities also have a security team as part of their offerings so you can be carefree knowing someone is always looking out for your safety.

If you’re looking to live a life free of chaos and disorganization, then these communities may be the right fit for you.

Cons of living in 55+ communities

55+ communities are not, however, without some downsides. It should be noted that the downsides are typically rooted in features that the target demographic actually wants, though – if you find yourself wanting something different, you simply may not be the kind of person to whom this type of community caters. Being aware of this will help you to make a more realistic decision about where you should live next.

living in 55+ communities

One downside to these communities, at least for many, is that they are not particularly friendly to younger people. Many have ordinances that limit the age of homebuyers or the amount of time younger people can spend visiting. If you have a multi-generational household or you have children (or grandchildren) who visit frequently, you may find balancing time with them and community requirements challenging. This is not necessarily true of every 55+ community, but it’s worth noting as something to inquire about if you’re serious about moving into a particular community.

Another downside of these communities is that they tend to be meticulously planned and maintained. This might be great if you are the kind of person who enjoys a set routine, but it can feel somewhat intrusive sometimes. If you can imagine, a Homeowner’s Association that has roughly the same powers as a municipality, you’ll understand the amount of power that some of these active adult communities wield. If you are the type of person who likes to be left to his or her own devices or enjoys customizing the look of your home’s exterior, you may not enjoy living in this type of community.

Expectations vs reality

It is absolutely vital that you go into any community search with a sense of realism. Many 55+ communities put on a good show for guests, but you need to remember that you’re looking for a place to live, not just a place to vacation. As such, making sure that you’re setting your expectations correctly is going to help you make the right choice when it comes to determining where you will live.

living in 55+ communities

Don’t expect that the amenities offered by the community will necessarily change the way you live your life. These communities traffic in giving opportunities, but none of them will force you out of your routine if you’re not willing to make a compromise. These are all real, working communities with real people, not resorts that are created just to allow you to live out a life of leisure. If you choose one of these neighborhoods, you must realize that you’re going to be part of something larger than yourself – and you’re going to be the one who determines exactly what type of experience you’ll end up having.

Being realistic means looking at the neighborhoods and determining if they’d be a good fit for you right now. If they’re not, there’s little a community can do to make you change. If the community fits what you need, though, it may be time to consider moving.

View homes for sale in active adult communities

What works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for the next. If you’re considering 55+ communities, it’s important that you take a realistic look at how moving into one of these communities will impact your life. If you feel like such a community is the right fit, though, it’s also important that you find the right home. When you’re ready to look at homes in 55+ communities, you can start your search on our site and be sure to speak with a Realtor so they can help guide you through the process of finding the right community, the right home, and ultimately purchasing that home.

Click here to search homes for sale in 55+ Communities across the Valley


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