55 and Older Communities: Are They Right for You?

Hey, Baby Boomers! 55 and older communities in Vancouver Washington and in Clark County Washington area are becoming more and more popular, but did you ever think that you would consider living in one?

When you approach 55 or past that most of us have that thought! the thought of a nice little community, filled with people our own age, with no hoodlums wreaking havoc in the neighborhood sounds a little like heaven on earth. But could you do it? Could you really thrive in a 55 and older habitat?

55 and older communities in Clark County Washington the area have amenities and restrictions, they are as varied as any other type of living. There are condos overlooking the Columbia River and Communities downtown Vancouver as well as Golf Course settings and Gated Communities But what we really have a limited amount of mobile home parks catering to the 55 and older. There are 6 of the 15 mobile home parks here in Vancouver and in Clark County Washington area just for 55 and older.

At present, most of us live in communities with medium to large yards, from your kitchen window you can see something pleasant, you have space beyond the inside of your house. Could you really adjust to living in one of those 55 and older communities?

The first thing you will learn when investigating 55 and older communities is that mobile homes are not called "trailers" anymore. They are manufactured homes. There is one park in Fishers Landing where the manufactured homes are $100,000 and up to 175,000 - for a TRAILER. And they are fancy. It seems like many of the people who live in these 55 and older communities are use to having a nice place, just less yard and quieter neighborhoods. Today the common practice is to buy a manufactured home and then customize it with lanais, decks and porches on the outside and up-date the inside to the decor that you have been accustom to.

You still might not be convinced that the lifestyle of these 55 and older communities would be right for you. Each home is right next to another. Could I live so close to someone that they could hear me sneeze, and smell it when I burned dinner?

In searching for homes for sale in 55 and older communities, you will find manufactured homes from $3000 to $179,000, and everything in between. Just about every 55 and older community in Clark County has a pool and a community center, then the amenities go up from there: golf courses, sidewalks, golf cart trails, shuffle board, tennis courts. There were clubs, activities and park newsletters. While lot rent fluctuates between $300 and 600, it appears that rent is determined by where the home is located within Clark County. In Vancouver, gated communities seem to command the highest rents.

It is common for residence to have two homes. One here and one in California or in Arizona. A lot of them are retired and are snow birds, here in the summer and off to the sun in the winter, and of course just can't pull themselves away from their families full time.

Only a few of the 55 and older communities are gated communities. That provides a much needed peace of mind, not only while you're there, but if you leave your home unoccupied for months at a time.

In the 55 and older communities, there is a "maintenance" fee included in your rent. That means, someone else mows your lawn and trims your palm trees. Most of the parks have a year round resident that acts as an "unofficial" watch dog or a retired gent that handles many of the "handy man" type projects that arise. They usually keep a list of best contractors to call should the need arise.

Residences in these communities are as varied as anywhere else on this planet. They are active and interested in what's going on around them. Most the folks seem to be middle to upper middle class. Most of the residents are tolerant as long as you don't break the rules. They like to socialize. Many of them are "golf fanatics." They take care of their property and expect you to do the same.

The 55 + communities in Vancouver Washington, tends to have a "vacation" type atmosphere, and people seem to try hard to be polite and have a good time. Of course, there always is that one person who minds everybody else's business, but you are going to get that anywhere.

Many of the homes, even 20 year old models appear to be in very good condition. They don't appear to have the wear and tear that raising a family can inflict on a structure.

So, could you live in a 55 and older community? Let's see, a lovely home overlooking a little pond, with neighbors who are gone six months out of the year, on a golf course, with a pool and tennis courts, AND someone who will mow your grass and trim my trees? Are you ready to find one?