FIRE.040 55+ Community SECRET

Want to live two different lower cost housing lives at once? Homes in the 20’s (no I didn’t forget a zero).

There’s a secret the seniors are not sharing with the rest of us. Their reasons aren’t to keep the younger people out as much as it may be to keep their lifestyle in the awesome category. (do seniors say “awesome” or just gen Xers?)

Summary: many 55+ communities may actually be “Age Qualified” which might allow a percentage—up to 20% —of residents to be 40+ year old. Or more specifically, 80% of the units must be occupied by someone >=55.

I know you’re thinking, why would a 45-year-old want to be in a nursing home/retirement community? Here’s the reason; these aren’t nursing homes. There are many communities located in vacation areas that have small/very nice trailers for great prices. Many of these communities have “park models” which are mid size trailers <400 sq ft, some are even two story ‘loft’ models. These are pretty much permanently placed homes which may also have side expansion rooms. These communities have a monthly space rent, and some may let you buy your lot.

Many of these associations have onsite activities such as game rooms, clubs, and agreements with local companies. At some point, you will understand me when I said ’50 is not old.’

Here’s some math for you that works in Arizona.

  • You can buy a little summer home trailer in the mountains for $20-40k, pay $3000 for summer 6-month rent. Enjoy many activities in a great small town with lakes and trails and temperature in the 70-80s.
  • You can have a “winter” home/trailer in southern Arizona or Texas, even the California desert area. These winter homes may be in the $30-60k range and their rent may be in the $1000/mo range for the year. There may be many of the same activities and discounts you enjoy at your summer home. The weather in the winter may be in the 60s-70s.
  • Now if you add all of this up, you have 50-100k for the home purchases, then around $15k/yr for your space lease. That is not a bad deal for having two homes, two groups of friends, living in the 60s-80s year round for about $1200/mo estimated average rent. Imagine a $300k home, where you put down 20% and finance $240k, your payments may be pretty close to having two trailer homes. It’s just another option.

You can adjust the amount of the trailers and space rent by the desirability of the location. It is definitely more expensive to have a beach location, but in that case, you may only need one small home.

Maybe you just want to escape to the mountains for the summer, or for a week every month in the summer. That may be possible for little more than a tow behind trailer and definitely less than an RV.

All communities handle their age requirements differently. It’s important to know about this crazy alternative lifestyle because I know dozens of people who just love the flexibility of having a trailer as a second/vacation home.

You can look up the laws using: Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), The Fair Housing Act.

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