If you’re ready to take the next step in your retirement planning by choosing a new place to live, you should be researching Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta offers retirees a perfect blend of small-town charm and the hustle and bustle of city life. There are great dining and nightlife scenes, as well as plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. Atlanta is the most densely-forested major city in the U.S., with 47.9% of the city covered in tree canopy, hence the city’s affectionate nickname: “the city in a forest.” There’s something for everyone in Atlanta, and the great weather in Atlanta means you can enjoy your favorite activities virtually year-round.
Thinking of moving into a retirement community in Atlanta? Here’s what you need to know:
What is a Retirement Community?
A retirement community, also known as an active adult living community or “55-plus” community, is a senior living option for retirees who want to stay as independent as possible. These 55-plus communities are “age-restricted” or “age-qualified,” which means that everyone who lives there is at least 55 years old. Retirees who purchase houses in one of these communities have the luxury of not having the deal with the most labor-intensive home and lawn maintenance chores - such as maintenance for roofing, building exteriors or common areas. Luxury amenities that retirement communities may also offer include fitness centers, pools and clubhouses that host a happy hour.
When reviewing these communities and deciding which one is best for you, it is important to ask your realtor about any fees that may come along with buying a property. For example, many 55-plus communities require residents to pay a homeowners association (HOA) fee. HOA fees need to be accounted for when calculating your overall housing budget, and they generally cover anything shared by the different homeowners in the community, including shared walls, shared roofing and fencing. These fees usually also cover upkeep of the common areas in the community, such as a park, pool or grassy area.
Budgeting for Living in a Retirement Community
Organizing your retirement budget at the outset of your search will help you save time and energy down the road. This is especially important if you plan to live on a fixed income throughout your Golden Years. Some steps you can take to get a clearer picture of your long term finances include:
Checking in on your 401k or other retirement plans to calculate your expected monthly income after you’ve stopped working
Review the tax situation and other cost of living nuances applicable for Atlanta
Georgia is among the most tax-friendly states in the US for retirees. The Peach State does not tax Social Security retirement benefits and it provides a deduction of $65,000 per person on all types of retirement income for anyone 64 or older. The state’s sales tax rate and property tax rate are both relatively moderate, and there is no state inheritance or estate tax to worry about.
Other Senior Living Options in Atlanta
Retirement communities, as great as they are, aren’t for everyone. Many seniors ultimately need more assistance with living due to changes in health, so depending on your circumstances, it could be a wise decision to opt for a living option with a bit more assistance built in.
One such option is an assisted living facility. Retirees with more intensive health needs and mobility limitations can benefit from the offerings in these facilities. They are an ideal option for seniors who need help with activities of daily living - which can include bathing, dressing, managing medications and keeping up with general housework. There are many top rated communities in the immediate Atlanta area and more in neighboring cities to choose from, and your real estate agent can help you narrow your search.
Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent to Help Target Your Search
Having the right real estate agent by your side can make all the difference when it comes to finding a new home. You will want to ask any prospective agent about their background helping seniors to sell their home and ready themselves to move into a retirement community. Some of the areas senior specific real estate agents can help with include:
Reverse mortgages and the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), which helps seniors turn their home equity in monthly income
Understanding how Medicare, Medicare, and Social Security can impact real estate decisions
Issues when selling the family home
Moving to a new city
Ready to get started? Call Hermes Realty Group today to connect with a real estate agent who can help you on your journey. Ranked as the #1 midsize team in the Northeast Atlanta market in 2016, Hermes Realty Group is your best choice when it comes to buying, selling or investing in real estate. With years of experience helping local buyers and sellers just like yourself, we know how to locate the finest properties and negotiate the best deals.
Barbara Thompson, Senior Care Advocate
Hermes Realty Group
Keller Williams Realty