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Good luck finding a smaller single floor home in a nice development for those of us in-between seniors who are not ready for IL & AL apartments. Senior communities that provide small homes and "cottages" are beyond most people's means - most charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for the home itself and then a $2000-$4,000 monthly fee. Developers don't build small homes any more (at least in the northeast) unless we buy land somewhere and contract a builder. (who wants the hassle at our age?) Land we have found is usually on a main road, and lots in residential development are costly and they won't let you build a small house in a neighborhood of today's multi-roofed three story mini-mansions gen-exers like in NY . Our own neighborhood homes are 45 yrs old, and people our age are staying because they can't afford to go anywhere else until they are too old to do anything and end up in AL (with their children selling their run down home) Our friends all have the same quandry - moving to a smaller home is more expensive than staying in our big older house and taxes are higher, lots are smaller, but our homes are wearing us out. We have looked as far as 1000 miles away and were shocked to find that even in supposedly more "reasonable states" like TN, NC and VA, the prices are the same. Moving farther into rural areas puts us out of reach of medical facilities. I'm not ready for an apartment, and condos and townhouses are two story - I don't want any more stairs. Has anyone else found this to be true? Short of re-locating thousands of miles away, even with all the websites to help seniors find places to live, it seems that there is a serious lack of affordable small transitional homes especially for independent seniors.

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AmyGrace, a friend of mine is an architect. His comment is that builders are building for profit, not customer satisfaction in long term. The reason so many elders flock to the sun belt is that the housing is cheapER and you are often buying property that another elder just vacated. If you are looking for new construction, it's like the SUV market. Car manufacturers love SUV sales - they make much more money on them than trucks that hold similar amounts with a topper. For the same reasons that low-income non-seniors are having trouble with housing and the homeless population has exploded, senior housing for those with fixed lower incomes is being priced out of range. Unless you find a Golden Girls arrangement, most of us will not see our final days in standalone housing. The cottage model seems to have gained some footing, but even the Del Webb are priced awful in Texas compared to other housing. Look for a big boom in manufactured housing (trailers) and RVs that never move from a parking lot.
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AmyGrace, it can become a challenge. And you're right you need to be around excellent health care. Yes, expensive depending on the area.

I have been searching around for myself right here in northern Virginia [Loudoun County] trying to decide where will be my next home. One place that I thought was great a few years ago now has gotten way too big. The "homes" are apartments, some up to 4,000 sqft. Lot of amenities, indoor swimming, gym, numerous restaurants, on-site doctor, bank, gift shop, etc. And a hefty monthly maintenance fee depending on the size of one's apartment.

Other new construction have Independent Living apartments, one or two bedrooms, but at prices around $5k to $6k per month for rent. The complex also will be building Assisted Living and Memory Care. One stop shopping.

Saw some nice brand new townhouses, master on first floor, but then there are stairs up to the guest rooms, and stairs down to the garage, and stairs down off the deck. I also want to get away from too many stairs.

Del Webb seems to offer a good solution. Attached houses with a large first floor, guest rooms upstairs, and two car garages on the main level. Prices are around $400,000 but that isn't sticker shock for those who have lived in the D.C. burbs for decades. Yes, expensive here but property taxes are very reasonable.

My sig other wants to go back to Syracuse NY where he and I grew up. I spent 20 years there, and he 40 years. It is not the city that I had remembered in my youth. House price are very inexpensive, but property taxes are double what I pay... and the snow, forgetaboutit.
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Amy, well said, and so, so true. I haven't done as much searching as you have, but I've completely ruled out any kind of IL or AL as I age. There's no way I could afford it!

It's cheaper to contract out the services and select my own contractors than be tied down to a rent that's several times the multiple of my HELOC. And I can interview contractors, negotiate and select ones I want, not those hired by a community. And part of the retirement living is overhead for the staff, which raises the cost even more.

My father's fortunate to live in a neighborhood where people help. I think those are the ideal kinds of senior retirement areas, but it's hard to determine whether or not a neighborhood will offer that kind of support until someone has moved in.

No question but that it's a dilemma for seniors, especially those of limited means.
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