How to choose a retirement community

From the climate to your next-door neighbors, the retirement community you choose will impact the next few years of your life.Here’s how to select the right one:

    1. Know the neighborhood

    The people.Talk to potential neighbors and ask what it’s like living in the neighborhood. See if their personalities mesh with yours. After all, you wouldn’t want to move to a place where you can’t make any friends.

    Membership options. Some retirement communities offer clubmemberships, so take time to study your options and the requirements needed.

    Medical care. Ask your Realtor or community officers if the neighborhood you’re interested in offers medical and health care services (including caretaker and home-watch services), especially if the community is remote.

    Financial profile. The economic downturn took a toll on many second-home and retirement communities. To make sure the neighborhood you’re interested in is in good financial health, ask the homeowners’ association if you can review their financial records. Research about foreclosures, liens, and community assessments by going to county clerks’ offices or asking a local property tax appraiser.If you care about upkeep, upgrades, and security, make sure your community is fiscally sound.

    Restrictions. Check with your chosen retirement community or condo for their restrictions. Some communities ban pets, cigar smoke, outdoor grilling, or even walking to the park at night. Remember that each community comes with its own set of rules.

    Activities. As a retiree, you’ll find that you have a lot of free time on your hands. That’s why retirement communities often have a slew of activities and clubs to keep their residents active and entertained.

    2. Living near a big city has its perks
    Retirement communities located in close proximity to big cities have easy access to health care services, entertainment, and social opportunities.

    3. Consider local tax rates
    Income, property, and estate taxes are important factors you should look into before choosing a retirement community. In Texas, property taxes can get relatively high, but if you comply with residency requirements, you can get property tax exemptions.

    4. Timing is everything
    Wait until the local high season is ending because that’s when buyers like you gain more negotiating power to get the best price for the home you want.