In many areas, of the country, one of the fastest – growing, components of the housing market, is Senior Housing, often created, either limited to those over 55 or 62, and, often, set up, as a Home Owners Association, or HOA. For many, this is a smart move, because of the security, maintenance, social, etc, aspects. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly review, consider, and discuss, some of the questions, a potential buyer, should ask (and be satisfied with the answer), prior to purchasing.
1. Reputation of builder/ developer: Has this builder/ developer, developed this type of housing, before, and what is the feedback, and the reputation, for quality, etc? Has that organization, kept its word and promises, and built, using quality products, and exceeded expectations?
2. What was this site, previously? Are there any environmental considerations, etc, which are relevant, to safely, living somewhere?
3. Who will serve on the Board of Directors, how will they be elected/ selected, the term served, and powers? Some groups (most) elect and are served by a volunteer Board, but who will administer, the day – to – day, operations of the houses and common area?
4. Maintenance charges/ fees: How will these be determined, and what will be covered? Will the annual budget be voted on, and what will be the rules? Who will be the administer, and will developer, take care of this aspect, until a certain percentage of the units are sold, or when? Will services, such as snow removal, lawn maintenance, exterior maintenance (including painting, roofs, etc), be included? What, specifically, will be considered, common charges, as opposed to, the responsibility of the individual owner?
5. Security: Will the community be gated, to restrict unwanted visitors, and enhance security, etc? Will these costs be included in the common charges?
6. Facilities: Will there be a Clubhouse, recreational facility, common meeting spaces, etc, built by developer, and for how long, will developer, assume responsibility, for maintenance of these items?
7. Material defects/ issues: What will be the developer’s responsibility for material defects, issues, etc? For how long? Will there be an escrow account, or similar, to protect, owners, in this regard?
8. Neighborhood: Check into issues, such as safety in the area, convenience to transportation, shopping, etc?
9. Local courtesy van: Will developer pre – purchase a new, courtesy van, for the exclusive use of owners, to take them to key locations, such as food store, pharmacy, train station, and other key places? Will this be deeded to the Home Owners Association, once the occupancy, reaches a certain level?
The better you are informed, the better you will do. Ask questions, and demand realistic, relevant, sustainable answers/ responses.