Most 55-plus communities boast that yard maintenance is included, which is great, but that’s just the beginning. To truly attract the 55-plus buyer, low-maintenance amenities must extend beyond the yard to the entire home. Since these buyers tend to travel often, low maintenance is a big plus.
But it’s more than that. As we age, we become less agile and mobile. Perhaps it’s lower back pain, a bum knee, or diminished core strength. All of these common ailments make it harder and sometimes dangerous to do the necessary work to keep up a residence. Certain features can make this work less of a burden for the homeowner.
Let’s start outside and make our way in. The first thing often overlooked is the roof (the last place you want someone with diminished balance to be, attempting to do maintenance). Designing a roof that avoids crickets and places to collect debris and leaves is a must. Gutters with leaf shields are needed as well. The good news is there are myriad building materials readily available that can help cut down on maintenance. Polypropylene shutters that look like wood but don’t rot or need painting; cellular PVC trim; elastomeric paints and ceramic coatings; cementitious siding; and synthetic wood decking are all designed to last and look good over time.
Moving inside, there are some do's and don’ts when it comes to finish selections. You may love the look of a wood floor, but the material is high maintenance with scratches, heel dents and swelling when it gets wet. Instead, consider a laminate floor. In the kitchen, install a synthetic solid surface countertop instead of granite, which is porous and can chip or crack. In the shower, think big when it comes to wall tile. The larger the tile, the less grout needed—which means less grout to clean.
One of the best low-maintenance ideas for the interior is to include a central vacuum system with a dust pan feature. It is a dust pan built into the baseboard, so homeowners sweep dirt to it, and the dirt is sucked up into the vacuum system.
When thinking about using low-maintenance to attract active adult home buyers, go beyond yard maintenance and think through the entire purchase. Include amenities that their current home lacks and train your sales staff to help these buyers understand how these features work to make life better for them.
For more ideas on catering to the 55-plus buyer, follow our coverage on the BUILDER Taylor Morrison NEXTadventure home, which will be on display at the 2017 International Builders' Show. Sign up to tour now.