What Do Senior’s Want in an Condominium?
Older Americans, Active Adults and 55+ are looking for homes that will be easy to navigate as they age. Homes with long driveways or multi-level entrances can be difficult for older adults to traverse, states Matthew Laderman, Vice President of mem property management
To increase the appeal of your property for Active Adults
- Offer parking as close to the entrance as possible.
- Be sure that walkways are as level as possible–the path itself, as well as any bricks or pavers.
- Try to keep outdoor patios level with adjacent indoor rooms. Raised decks or grand front porches may look nice, but they’re not particularly functional for older adults.
- Install an ADA-compliant ramp if space allows. This will attract a larger share of renters looking for a home where they can age in place. You get the added benefit of appealing to disabled residents of all ages.
- Consider widening doorways. This is particularly beneficial for residents whose mobility may be constrained by a wheelchair or walker. At least 36″ is needed for wheelchair access, though 42″ is preferable.
The 55+ Active Adult is also looking for all utilities included: heat and hot water, gas and electricity, cable and internet, even parking and laundry. Today’s 55+ have owned their own homes before. They’re tired of the maintenance and upkeep that’s required, which is often a driver of downsizing to an community. Older Americans are looking for homes where the yard work, snow removal, and other strenuous chores are included in the fee.
In addition, it’s often the case that after one spouse passes away, the other struggles to manage their budget or stay on top of the bills. As such, older residents have a preference for homes that include all of these services in the standard monthly fee. It’s one less thing for them to worry about as they age.
#3: First-Floor Living Spaces
An estimated 40% of new homes being built have a first-floor master suite, representing a 15% increase over the past decade. “That’s the number one request these days from Baby Boomers,” says Bruce Nemovitz, a Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist based in Milwaukee.
As Baby Boomers age, getting up and down the stairs becomes more of a challenge and a hazard. First-floor bedrooms and bathrooms allow people to age in place.
- Install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet.
- Consider adding a comfort-height toilet, which is easier to get on and off of for older adults.
- A walk-in shower with bench seating is ideal.
- Otherwise, be sure that the tub has a swing door to allow for easy entry and exit.
#4: Room for Guests
Someone who has hosted their friends and relatives at their home over the years may be apprehensive about downsizing. They worry that if they sell their longtime family home, they won’t have room for people to stay. Typically, older Americans are looking for properties that have at least a second (if not a third) bedroom that can be used as an office or for visiting friends and family.
#5: High-End Finishes
Many Baby Boomers are accustomed to high-end finishes in their homes, and they’re looking for the same level of quality when they downsize. It’s important that kitchens and bathrooms have a high-quality look and feel. Consider asking the older residents you know what they would like to see in their home–is it better to spend your money on marble countertops and solid-wood cabinets, or would they rather trade pricy materials for new appliances?
#6: Better Lighting
Lighting becomes even more important as people age. Proper lighting isn’t just a preference–it’s a safety measure. Motion-sensor lights are ideal for driveways, entryways, hallways, and other common areas. These lights brighten up an area without an older adult having to fumble through the dark looking for a switch. Inside, add multiple light switches to reduce the number and length of trips needed to turn a light on or off.
Investing in larger windows. Bigger windows will increase the amount of natural light that the home gets, which also increases the unit’s appeal to prospective residents of all ages.
#7: Space to Gather
Older adults are living longer into retirement; and increasingly, they place a high emphasis on remaining social. Consider creating spaces for them to gather together with family, friends, or other residents.
Within the unit, open floor plans with combined kitchen/living areas can be great for entertaining, as are well-kept outdoor spaces. If you manage or own a larger community, consider upgrading lobbies, clubhouses, pools, and picnic areas. Host events that encourage residents to mix and mingle.
Property managers, and homeowners associations are increasingly vying for their share of the 55+ resident market demographic. That’s why it’s so important to understand the preferences of older Americans. A range of property upgrades–some of which are simple and inexpensive–can be made to increase the appeal of your property among 55+ residents.
If you’re looking for other ways to attract older residents to your property, consider hiring a property manager. An experienced property manager will know how to best position your property to entice renters of all ages. When you’re ready to get started, mem property management will be here to help.