55+ Community Versus Home Ownership in Senior Years

Shelby park manor

With independent living communities, retirement homes, and subsidized housing available, senior adults have more options than ever. In the past, many retiring homeowners would start to worry about how to keep up with maintaining the home they live in or how to keep up with unexpected expenses while living on a fixed income.

55+ communities specifically have opened seniors to exciting social activities, new friendships, and a renewed feeling of safety and privacy. But is a 55+ community better for you, or would you be better off staying in the home that you own?

Let’s look at some of the primary benefits of living in a 55+ community, starting with the cost of living. 

Cost of Living

When you compare the cost of living in a home with that of 55+ independent living communities, the difference is shocking. With homeownership, you’re looking at maintenance and repair costs, property tax, home insurance, utilities, cleaning and housekeeping, and a mortgage. In comparison, the average cost of independent living in Michigan is $2,190 per month, which includes most utilities, cleaning and housekeeping, food, and maintenance/repairs. 

And related to home maintenance/repair costs, HomeAdvisor.com calculates the average maintenance/repair range as $11,377 to $19,035 annually in Shelby Township and surrounding areas in the metro Detroit region. That’s a lot of money you could save! Unexpected expenses like repair and maintenance can be challenging to deal with, especially if you’re a retiree living on a fixed income or living on a strict budget in preparation for retirement. One of the benefits of living in a 55+ community is knowing precisely what your home expenses are from month to month—no matter what happens.

Maintenance Needs

In addition to removing the cost of maintenance, living in a 55+ community would also eliminate the need for you to handle maintenance or repair issues personally. Independent living communities feature either in-suite or community laundry rooms, and all major appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, HVAC equipment, and water heaters are the property and maintenance concerns of the property management company. When an issue arises, all you have to do is notify the community manager. 


Next, one downside of living in a 55+ community is that you aren’t a permanent owner or building equity. However, this can be an upside if you don’t want to be tied to one spot. 

When you own a home, you are locked into living in that neighborhood, even when the neighbors you’d grown so fond of move away. And over the course of under 10 years, conditions in a community and the housing market can change drastically.

Then, once the homeowner does decide to sell the home, it can take months to go from listing to closing. This is not the case when renting. You have your contract, whether it’s month-to-month, six months, 12 months, or 24 months, and once that contract is up, you can decide to stay or leave.

You have the freedom to move when your life circumstances change, and you have the freedom to move if you decide to retire to another state.

Neighborhood, Community, & Quality of Life

Lastly, the (arguably) greatest benefit of living in a 55+ community is the community itself. While everyone is there for the same general reason (to enjoy a safe and comfortable retirement), they are also there to make friends and enjoy new adventures.

In addition to social activities and opportunities and property amenities, you can also expect a higher-quality setting. While independent living communities are quiet and can be gated from the outside world, they are also conveniently close to entertainment areas. Most communities will even provide transportation, be near public transit, or have parking/storage options available if you own a car. If you long for serenity and privacy without total isolation, a 55+ independent living community is a wonderful option. 

Learn More About 55+ Communities Today

Are you interested in learning more about life inside an independent living community? Tour our welcoming community at Shelby Park Manor. We offer all the benefits of living in a 55+ community and more, including covered parking, transportation access to a wide array of attractions, 24/7 security, beautiful one- and two-bedroom living spaces, social events, walking trails, and so much more. To learn more about life at Shelby Park Manor, please fill out our online form today to schedule a tour.

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