Over-55 communities are a niche market to be sure, but older buyers know exactly what they want in a home and community.

Ron Feir

By Ron Feir, REALTOR®

Key takeaways: 

• To get clients to consider the move to an age-restricted community, real estate agents must first understand what it is and the benefits it may have.

• Age-restricted communities come in many variations, all of which require at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80% of the occupied units.

• There are some facts REALTORS® must enclose when listing an age-restricted community.

Many REALTORS® feel uncomfortable marketing to and working with a specific group. Over-55 communities are a niche market to be sure, but older buyers know exactly what they want in a home and community. To get clients to consider the move to an age-restricted community, real estate agents must first understand what it is and the benefits it may have.

 What is an age-restricted community?

There are many variations of age-restricted communities such as 55+, 62+ and 65+. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995, signed into law Dec. 28, 1995, by President Bill Clinton, says housing in these designated communities must include at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80% of the occupied units. This means one spouse can be under the required age. If the number of people age 55+ in a given community falls below the 80% threshold, the community could lose its age-restricted status, and loss of such status could be permanent. Also, no one under 19 can be permanent residents. Each community has guidelines on how long younger friends and family can stay with community residents.

Benefits of living in an age-restricted active community

Sense of community: Living in a neighborhood that has a strong sense of community and common life experiences can have a huge impact on well-being and overall quality of life.

Neighbors: Active adult living allows residents to really get to know their neighbors. The community calendars are loaded with social events, tours and individual and group activities.

Activities: Age-restricted communities provide residents with more than enough activities and opportunities to stay busy. These communities are conceptualized, master-planned and built with the idea that activity centers and community conveniences should be centrally located to residential neighborhoods.

Amenities: Age-restricted communities offer amenities to keep residents busy, such as traditional clubhouses, community pools, exercise rooms and creative shop/trade type centers. Many communities are close to medical services and have roving security and neighborhood watch programs.

Home design: Homes are typically designed with seniors in mind and have age friendly features such as single-story layouts, open floor plans, easy access, patios and extra storage.

Peace and quiet: One of the most popular benefits of living in an age-restricted community is the age restriction itself. Other than visiting grandchildren, there rarely will be small children running around making noise. Community amenities such as pools and walking paths are limited to residents, most of whom are 55 and older.

Opportunities to give back: Age-restricted communities are well-known for the contributions to service projects, community improvement, charity fund-raising and government involvement. The vast knowledge and experience that resides in age-restricted communities includes teachers, physicians, corporate executives and others with the ability to mobilize and accomplish great things.

Source: AV Homes 

What facts must a REALTOR® disclose because of age restrictions?

Agents should consult with their brokers for precise requirements. Common requirements include:

  • An “age-restricted” rider attached to your front yard listing signage.
  • Prescribed language in the MLS public remarks and/or “agent to agent” remarks section. Discuss with your broker.
  • Prescribed label in the association/community section of the MLS indicating that the community has age restrictions. Discuss with your broker.

To improve your comfort level, visit your local age-restricted community, tour the grounds and speak with the directors. Get familiar with the amenities and social calendar.

Ron Feir, ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, RSPS, SFR, SRES, SRS, is a REALTOR® with Century 21 Gavish Real Estate (offices in Pahrump & Las Vegas) Pahrump, Nev.