Rent vs. Own: 5 Questions to consider for your senior housing plan

Owning a home is often associated with independence, but what if that isn’t the case in retirement?

You’re not alone if you feel like owning your home is a hard-earned badge of honor. It’s normal to prefer to age in place at your own home instead of renting at a senior living community, but there’s a lot to consider when deciding the best choice.

Buying a home may have been a personal milestone or smart investment, but as you age, owning property may be holding you back. When deciding how you can live life your way, make sure you’re weighing the benefits that come only with renting:

What are you giving up when you have to plan for changing home maintenance needs?

Whatever your retirement plan, it’s likely your annual income either has or will plateau. As a responsible property owner, you’re surely planning ahead and saving for the possibility of major repairs (like an unexpected roof collapse from excess snow and ice). But what if your emergency funds could go toward something – or a few things – on your bucket list?

Speaking of maintenance, how much time would you like to spend cleaning or running errands?

Is the answer “none?” Whatever your housekeeping routine, you may be familiar with the monotonous cycle of loading and emptying the dishwasher, pushing a lawn mower up and down for hours or separating laundry into three piles. This is where living on your own is especially different from independent living. In a senior living community, your leisure comes first, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time socializing or doing other activities you enjoy.

Are your HOA fees and property taxes going toward your lifestyle or your neighbors’?

Property taxes keep going up and, depending on your neighborhood, Homeowners Association fees probably aren’t going away. So, is your community adding more age-friendly amenities and policies? It’s time to take a look at the fine print. When you rent an apartment in a senior living community, you know the money you spend on your home is being reinvested into programs, activities and events tailored to your interests and safety.

Do you have a spa, cinema, salon and five-star restaurant within walking distance of your front door?

There’s only so much you can install – and staff — in your private home. Not every room in your house is used day to day, like that “home office” in the basement, but there are probably amenities you use throughout your community. When looking at senior living, you can look for features tailored to your interests and needs. So, if you’re more interested in regular spa days than weekly hunting trips, you can find communities with dedicated programs suited to your personal interests.

What if home equity isn’t the biggest legacy you’ll leave behind?

Planning your legacy is key to retiring with peace of mind. Independent living is the most popular choice for older adults choosing to age in place – and retirees aren’t the only ones benefitting. In addition to amenities that cater to your ideal lifestyle, you can give your loved ones peace of mind knowing your needs are always being met. For seniors with family who aren’t available or able to be caregivers — even temporarily — choosing a senior living community sooner rather than later is a no-brainer. If you don’t need help, you don’t use it, but if that changes, you’re in the right place.

Senior housing has changed, and more retired adults are choosing to invest in luxurious independent living. We know the sleepy retirement homes of the past just don’t cut it for the older adults seeking an active, social lifestyle. Are you ready to join the movement and experience inspired senior living?