Ultimate Retirement Community - Buy in or Rent?

Myquest55

Member
Location
Happily in MAINE
We have been leisurely shopping for our ultimate destination, hopefully a CCRC, since our children are scattered. We had approached this thinking we would do the "buy in" thing since our income will easily cover the monthly fees for a meal and activities, etc. HOWEVER, on another board there was some discussion about Baby Boomers and their impact on society (ie crowded schools) and the economy which caused me to pause. In our mid 60's now, we fall in the middle of the boomer range from 1946 to 1964. The pandemic has affected a lot of things and we have seen house prices ramp up - beginning in 2017. We have also seen the costs of Retirement communities rise as well. I am now wondering if we should look more seriously at a rental situation.

Since we are on the down-side of the boomers, my concern is that a buy-in would tie up a lot of cash - since you usually cannot mortgage such a thing - AND family would have to wait until the management re-sells it before our estate can receive the promised refund. (One place even wants a hefty medical fee up front) My father passed last May and his unit, purchased in 2007, has just now "sold." We thought it would turn over immediately. They currently have 90 units available and I'm sure they are asking double what he paid for it but at some point...there will be far more units available than are needed and the prices must drop or communities will begin to close. How can they refund 90-100% if they have to take a huge loss? (may we live long enough!)

Would appreciate some thoughts - anyone else considering this too?
 

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officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
I think about this but am really not considering it anymore, more like daydreaming about it, since my huzz refuses to move from where we are now. But I have done a lot of thinking about it and talking to people about it and one conclusion that the majority of people I've talked to about it and I myself have come to is that the older one gets, especially if single and extra-especially if there are no grown kids willing/able to help, that the fewer things that might need expensive, hard-to-find repair that you own, the better. There are unscrupulous repair/service people out there unfortunately and it seems that elderly-enough people without younger friends or family to help are their favorite targets. So although finding a rental situation that best fits your needs is definitely challenging, if you do find a good place to rent, you're at least not going to be having to pay/arrange for roof, refrigerator, etc. repairs.

Every case is different of course, but the right kind of rental situation would fit me best.
 

OneEyedDiva

Well-known Member
Location
New Jersey
I don't know much about CCRCs except that from what I've seen they can be quite expensive. You bring up good points about resale time and value. Also, I didn't know that they can't be mortgaged. I agree with what @officerripley said. Being a senior without the ability or know how to make much needed repairs on a home can be quite problematic, especially as one ages or has failing health. I hope you can find just the right fit for you and your husband without breaking the bank.
 

Myquest55

Member
Location
Happily in MAINE
Yes, they are expensive but when you "buy in" at a CCRC, you don't have to worry about the repairs either. The communities offer the same amenities - they are just run differently. That is not what I'm asking about. I'm just trying to plan ahead and be smart about it. We own a home now and will stay here a few more years but ultimately plan to end up where we know we have care at hand, should we need it so the kids don't have to fly in, every time we have a cold. (also, I'm looking forward to someone else cooking dinner :)

DH has Parkinsons and I am a terrible nurse so I know I will need help, at some point. My father loved it where he was and we knew he had access to all kinds of activities and care - without having to go far. It just occurred to me that perhaps buying into a community like that might not be the best investment for all that cash, that it was in 2007. The "buy-ins" all guarentee a refund, when you leave (either move out or die) of 90 - 100%. My father's contract stated his refund would be paid once the unit is re-sold but if you cannot re-sell the place within a year, is that fair for our estate to wait? Right now there are wait lists up to 8 years, in some cases but once the "boom" is over, will these places be empty?
 

Liberty

Well-known Member
Location
Texas
We have been leisurely shopping for our ultimate destination, hopefully a CCRC, since our children are scattered. We had approached this thinking we would do the "buy in" thing since our income will easily cover the monthly fees for a meal and activities, etc. HOWEVER, on another board there was some discussion about Baby Boomers and their impact on society (ie crowded schools) and the economy which caused me to pause. In our mid 60's now, we fall in the middle of the boomer range from 1946 to 1964. The pandemic has affected a lot of things and we have seen house prices ramp up - beginning in 2017. We have also seen the costs of Retirement communities rise as well. I am now wondering if we should look more seriously at a rental situation.

Since we are on the down-side of the boomers, my concern is that a buy-in would tie up a lot of cash - since you usually cannot mortgage such a thing - AND family would have to wait until the management re-sells it before our estate can receive the promised refund. (One place even wants a hefty medical fee up front) My father passed last May and his unit, purchased in 2007, has just now "sold." We thought it would turn over immediately. They currently have 90 units available and I'm sure they are asking double what he paid for it but at some point...there will be far more units available than are needed and the prices must drop or communities will begin to close. How can they refund 90-100% if they have to take a huge loss? (may we live long enough!)

Would appreciate some thoughts - anyone else considering this too?
Personally, think if we ever sold our house, no way would we "buy into" any kind of a "community". MIL was in an assisted living one for years, and then spent several years in a nursing home before dying.
 

Aunt Bea

SF VIP
Location
Near Mount Pilot
I think that I would hang onto my cash and pay month to month until I'm destitute then rely on Medicaid for my final ride up the hill to the cemetery.

I have friends that are experiencing a slightly different situation in a Del Webb retirement community. The value of the unit that they bought has steadily gone down because the community continues to offer new units that are more appealing to buyers. The only way to sell is to drastically underprice the unit or wait until they run out of room to build new units in the community.

Good luck with your decision.
 

officerripley

Senior Member
Location
Porlock, Calif
@Myquest55, what are the prices for CCRCs in your area? I can't find out what the prices are for my area. (They never list it on their websites, guess they wanna get ya in there talking face-to-face so you'll be more likely to buy in.) I do know that Independent Living places around here start at about $2900 (for the smallest studio apt.) and Assisted Living places range from about $4000 to as high as $8000. And Skilled Nursing ranges from about $6000 to $10,000.
 

Myquest55

Member
Location
Happily in MAINE
DownEast Magazine publishes a list with prices once a year for most of the places in Maine. Some places do post prices online but most don't, so I've asked for the packet to be mailed so we can get an idea. Of course, they want to talk to you in person so they can "sell" you on the place! We haven't really sat down with anyone to have a serious discussion yet so don't know how much of this is "negotiable." Will let you know!

Around us there is one CCRC (last time we asked) that starts in the $200K. Other go for $325K - $800K depending on whether you want a studio style apartment, an ocean view or 3-4 bedrooms (YIKES) The rentals have a big range too. We looked at one place that was reasonably priced and I felt the layouts were awkward and the finishings were cheap. Another, brand new place, rents for $6000 +/month. Among other things, that includes 3 meals a day - take it or leave it (one of our knitting group moved there and was anxious to leave after only an hour so she wouldn't miss her lunch! - that is NOT for me!) I am hoping to find a place that has more options.

Isn't Del Webb, generally just a 55 & over community? Don't people buy a house, own it and can make upgrades to make it more appealing? Do they have to handle their own sale? With a CCRC - the contract you sign guarantees you a refund of what YOU paid in. If they sell for less to the next person, that is their loss.

We're getting close to going back on the hunt - will keep you posted.
 

Jules

Senior Member
Location
N of 49
With your husband’s health issues, planning ahead for support is very wise. I have no advice since I’ve never heard of CCRCs in Canada.

If you’re guaranteed to get back what you paid, what happens if the value of homes goes way up or way down. Can your family agree to sell for less if the market goes down? It would be the same if your house lost value over the years.
 

Chris21E

Member
I tried a basic rental independent living place, noticed people needing help had their assistant. We would get 3 meals a day, some snacks if you wanted that.

Apartment cleaning and you would do your laundry.

The deposit was substantial and the monthly amount came to over 5k a month for 2 bedroom 2 bathrooms.

Did not care for the idea that I had to sign a power of attorney, They were the least expensive at the time 2016, another seniors living informed that that theirs was 10k a month for a unit the size of a small closet and there was a waiting list, they had cable, big deal,

They want me back except can not afford to, not sure if the prices have gone up... Looking to get my place not tied to senior anything...
 

Myquest55

Member
Location
Happily in MAINE
Chris21e - I have never heard of having to sign over Power of Attorney. I would balk at that as well! That is a good question for us to ask! Seems that they are all run differently in different areas! The size for a 2 bd - 2 ba seems to run from about 800sf -1400sf and everybody has, at least basic, cable. The units are small but generally the community offers the extra space of an exercise room, theater, workshops, meeting spaces, library, and sometimes a pool.

With the pandemic running amok, the Nursing/palliative care building, where my father lived, was full so he was able to stay in his own apartment. We brought in Home Health Care and Hospice once it was beyond my sister to be there full time. We could use the Community's service or bring in someone independent. We did the latter - they were terrific! The communities we have talked to, here in Maine, offer a similar option. Some have medical care on site, some have it close by with the community residents given priority and some have none - you're on your own.

Jules - you're right about the market fluctuations! I just worry that as the boomer populations ages out, the demand will drop and it could take more than a year to re-sell it. At a "buy in" the community, the admin. handles all of that. The estate, or family, has no input and there is no refund until they re-sell it. (at least in the case of the Erickson Community I am familiar with)
 

Keesha

🌸
Location
Canada 🇨🇦
Most often POA forms are only needed for nursing homes. 55 plus community living aren't nursing homes.

If your husband has Parkinson’s and needs special care and you can receive it here then why not check it out. You both might enjoy the break. He probably would feel more comfortable with qualified care givers who do it for a living. He might get some of his dignity back.

You’ll both have a better social life. It’s a step before nursing homes but can last for decades.
It doesn’t hurt to check it out. I’ve seen three true retirement facilities and they were all quite impressive.
 

Chris21E

Member
Chris21e - I have never heard of having to sign over Power of Attorney. I would balk at that as well! That is a good question for us to ask! Seems that they are all run differently in different areas! The size for a 2 bd - 2 ba seems to run from about 800sf -1400sf and everybody has, at least basic, cable. The units are small but generally the community offers the extra space of an exercise room, theater, workshops, meeting spaces, library, and sometimes a pool.

With the pandemic running amok, the Nursing/palliative care building, where my father lived, was full so he was able to stay in his own apartment. We brought in Home Health Care and Hospice once it was beyond my sister to be there full time. We could use the Community's service or bring in someone independent. We did the latter - they were terrific! The communities we have talked to, here in Maine, offer a similar option. Some have medical care on site, some have it close by with the community residents given priority and some have none - you're on your own.

Jules - you're right about the market fluctuations! I just worry that as the boomer populations ages out, the demand will drop and it could take more than a year to re-sell it. At a "buy in" the community, the admin. handles all of that. The estate, or family, has no input and there is no refund until they re-sell it. (at least in the case of the Erickson Community I am familiar with)

No idea at the time and forgot the justification, it would not hold up in court...
 

ohioboy

Senior Member
Location
Ohio
Myquest, the only time you have to turn over/relinquish POA involuntarily, is by Court order.
 


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