Exploring Senior Living Options in Seattle
As retirement age nears, seniors often begin exploring new living arrangements. Whether you’re looking to downsize, relocate, or just reconsider your options, a retirement community that caters to residents aged 55 years and older may be an attractive choice. There are a large number of senior living communities in and around Seattle, with an average price of $4,500 per month. Choosing a new place to live isn’t easy, but I’ve got a few tips that may help you decide which amenities you value most, what type of living arrangement best suits your needs and, above all, that Seattle is the perfect place to retire.
For starters, consider your budget and housing allowance, and don’t forget to factor in HOA dues as well as other fees and taxes. The AARP has a great budgeting worksheet designed to help people save for retirement, but it can also be useful for calculating just how much you have to spend on a mortgage for a single-family home or apartment-like accommodations in a multi-resident facility. People are often surprised by small add-ons that quickly add up, so be sure to account for utilities, recreational fees, maintenance and/or landscaping charges.
The second item on your list should be to make another list. Write out all the amenities your dream property would include. Do you love the outdoors? Maybe you want a house with a porch or access to a communal garden. Are you a game enthusiast or avid crafter? Communities with a common room or recreation center may be right up your alley.
Next, know that every community should be evaluated in person. Rather than relying on secondhand reviews or internet-based pictures, drive to each choice on your list, and take a tour. Spend time talking with the residents, participate in activities (as allowed, of course), ask plenty of questions and see if it feels like a good fit. This is potentially where you’ll be living, so understanding what the noise level is like during rush hour or whether the fitness center is as clean as promised is crucial.
Though it’s not always pleasant to think about a future when you may not be as agile as you are now, mobility issues should factor into your home-buying decision. Single-story homes or assisted living communities that are already ADA compliant — think wide hallways and ramps for wheelchair access, walk-in tubs, and low countertops — save you time and money on renovations or relocation. While slippery door knobs can be traded out for pulls fairly easily, a two-story home with an upstairs master suite and narrow hallways is a much trickier (and more expensive) situation.
Before signing on the dotted line, dig into the rules and regulations for the community you choose and get any restrictions in writing. Federal fair housing laws prevent discrimination related to things like gender, disability, race, and national origin, but not age. Therefore, age-restricted communities frequently only allow residents 55 years of age and older. Some may allow younger residents if they’re related to the primary occupants, while others frown on children regardless of relationship.
Don’t be shocked if you discover that the process is taking longer than you expected. Unlike buying a home when you were younger, shopping for a retirement community isn’t about commute times or proximity to good schools but about non-tangible attributes like a sense of community and whether you feel at home. Sure, amenities matter, and you still want to love the physical layout of your home, but you’ll likely be spending more time in and around your property during retirement than you did when you were working. You deserve to have comfort and peace of mind.
With more than 40 years of experience as a real estate broker in Washington State, Jim Clifford is ideally equipped to help seniors find the retirement community that suits their needs. If you’re looking for a new home in or around the Seattle area, Jim can help. Make an appointment today by calling (253) 826-7500 or reach out via email at [email protected].