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What Do Baby Boomers Want?

All Boomers want to live in a new age-restricted, Active Adult Community (AAC), with a huge clubhouse, an Activities Director, etc. NOT!

If you listen to the big builders at an NAHB Conference or the 50+ Housing Council, thats what they will tell you. They have done the research, they say, and they are building new communities designed to meet the Baby Boomers every want and need. They are spending millions on advertising and marketing to this large group of prospective home buyers. As a result, many Boomers start their search for a retirement home thinking that is probably what they should be looking at. Is that what they will end up buying? Not always.

Many relocating Boomers do prefer a new home and there are lots of good options throughout the Coastal Region. Last week, I was working with buyer clients from New Jersey who are primarily interested in an Active Adult Community with all the bells and whistles they want a new house and they want exterior maintenance included in the HOA fee. A clubhouse, pool and other community activities will make it easy to make friends. This couple is typical of a large segment of the new buyers coming to Coastal Delaware.

My friend Walt asked me - Kathy, he said, why do people want to live in these new communities? He was really perplexed. He grew up around here, and to him, it made no sense when you could go into Lewes or Milton, Rehoboth Beach or Bethany and buy some wonderful homes there. I told him what one of my clients had shared with me. We have moved many times when my husband was transferred, and I always felt like the odd-person out, she explained. This time, I want to be in a new community where everyone else is new in town also! That made sense to me since I too have been moved around a lot in previous careers.

But not every Baby Boomer wants to live in an Active Adult Community (AAC); others do want the amenities but not necessarily the age restriction. In fact I came across results of an annual survey that Del Webb had conducted between 1996 and 2004, and it concluded that 55% of Boomers would move when they retire 26% of Baby Boomers said they would consider purchasing a home in an age-qualified AAC; 51% werent sure; and 24% said absolutely not 22% of those considering an AAC wanted a multi-generational development; Boomers are more than twice as likely as older generations to prefer no age-restriction

Finally a lot of Boomers considering a move to Coastal Delaware agree with my friend Walt. They are attracted to our beach towns or Historic Districts and prefer an older home with some character and charm. In fact, I began writing this article while I was holding an Open House in Miltons Historic District on Sunday. The first couple to arrive was from Maryland. Both were leading-edge Baby Boomers beginning to think about where and how they wanted to live when they retire. They love older historic homes they have renovated several over the years and they like the idea of living right in town once they retire. I am also working with another couple, not yet retired, that is buying a historic home in-town Lewes. For the next few years they will use their Lewes home as a weekend getaway and vacation home; over time it will become their primary residence.

Remember, not all Boomers will move when they retire and even those that do may only move within their immediate vicinity to stay close to family and friends. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, more Boomers seem willing to relocate to get away from the high taxes that surround us. Buying a home at the Delaware Beach instead of the Jersey Shore could save as much as $20,000 a year in property taxes alone. Add that to No Sales Tax and the total savings can equate to another whole pension!

Whether its a new home or an older home, in a community or in town, there are some common threads that we have observed. There are certain things that every Baby Boomer looking at homes seems to agree on. Next week well talk about what to do if your home is For Sale to appeal to the Boomer Buyers.