DALLAS — Active adult residents say they had plenty of reasons to move out of their prior homes, but they rank location and lifestyle change atop their list.
That was the message from a panel of five existing active adult residents during a panel named “Live Interview of Active Adult Residents: What Motivated Them to Move in?” at France Media’s InterFace Active Adult Conference, held at the Dallas Marriott Downtown hotel in Dallas. This second annual event is the industry’s only in-person conference devoted entirely to the active adult/55+ niche.
Margaret Wylde, CEO of ProMatura Group, moderated the discussion, which featured five existing residents of active adult communities. All the residents came from Dallas-area properties managed by Capstone Real Estate Services. The residents, who were identified only by their first names, had moved into a Capstone property as recently as three months ago and as long as two years ago.
The residents moved from a variety of locations — apartments, townhomes, single-family houses and double-wide trailers — but all pointed that the difficulty of maintaining their homes drove them to move. In addition, the recent high home prices enticed the residents to sell.
Howe and his wife Karen moved because “a guy in Portland wanted my house worse than I did,” according to Howe. Jerry noted that he and his wife “didn’t want to take care of the house anymore, and we found out what it was worth.”
“Manageability was the big thing for us,” added Karen. “Moving from something larger to something I could actually take care of was huge. We’re in our 70s.”
The specific amenities were less crucial in the decision-making process than moving into a place that was well-appointed and new. Linda cited “space, light, a good view, location, street noise and access to stores.” Although the space may be smaller, Karen said “I tell people I live in a dollhouse,” referring to the cottage-style unit’s small but perfect appearance.
“I watched it get built in and went in right away,” added Teresa. “It was brand new, contemporary, lots of activities and a beautiful location. It also fit into my financial budget.”
One of the big factors that was mentioned several times: proximity to grandchildren. Jerry said he has two sets of grandchildren, and they live on opposite sides of Dallas. The property he chose was “right in the middle.”
“It was a brand-new complex, so that’s where we wanted to be,” he noted.
Some factors don’t factor in
While active adult developers try to appeal to a wide audience, this group of residents noted several attributes that were not a consideration. For example, none of them moved in to live in the same complex as a friend, though several noted they’ve made friends within the community since moving in.
“We got a whole bunch of new friends,” said Howe.
“I didn’t want to live in a house all by myself,” added Linda. “I was divorced. Coming to a community where I could meet peers, visit shops, play games and participate in events was important to me.”
While it was a bonus to meet friends, Jerry noted that it was not why he and his wife moved in. “The social opportunities are endless,” he said. “We didn’t plan on that.”
In fact, Howe noted that he and Karen looked at both regular apartments and 55+ units, but both were too active for them. They found a community restricted to residents age 62 and older that appealed to their desire for a quiet, calm living.
When asked about safety and security, the residents said that they weren’t seeking that, but found it anyway.
“Living in a five-plex (unit), I feel safer, quite honestly, than in a single-family home,” said Linda.
“It’s not so much the facility itself, but it’s the management,” added Jerry. “That’s what makes me feel safe — knowing that I’m cared for .”
— Jeff Shaw