What senior doesn’t want maintenance-free homeownership in a secure setting?

Many seniors believe they have only two options: renting an apartment and watching their wealth trickle away, or buying a home and accepting all the maintenance and other responsibilities that come with it.

But there is another option for active adults (ages 62 and older) called cooperative housing that offers homeownership without the hassles.

Senior cooperatives are formed when people pool their resources to own or control the housing or facilities where they live, usually by forming a not-for-profit cooperative corporation. Each month, they pay a fee to cover their share of the operating expenses, which is typically far less than average rent prices in the area.

Cooperative housing gives active adults a homeownership option “they might not have considered or even knew existed,” says Kate Grant, sales manager at Village Cooperative of Puyallup, which will soon offer 57 residential units plus amenities such as underground parking, a spacious community room and kitchen, a workout room, an outdoor patio with fireplace and more.

Cooperatives offer a worry-free lifestyle

Cooperative housing has been around for nearly 50 years, and is rapidly growing in the western United States because it offers a worry-free lifestyle with financial benefits that traditional senior condos or apartments cannot provide, Grant says.

The three-story Puyallup property, soon to break ground, is being developed by Village Cooperative, whose parent company is the country’s leading developer of senior cooperatives, with 40 active projects in 10 states.

Grant adds, “Most seniors buy into cooperative housing as a way to own a home without maintenance and headaches, but they stay for the social opportunities it affords them with diverse yet like-minded people of a similar age.”

There are two primary costs associated with cooperative living: the equity share purchase — which is a one-time payment based on the size and location of the home — and the monthly fee for operating expenses. Upon purchase of an equity share in the cooperative, resident-owners (also known as “members”) within the community are entitled to own a home of their choosing based on their priority selection number. The value of this equity share increases in a predictable way, appreciating at 3 percent for every year that members live at the Village Cooperative, for example.

“The cost of buy-in is stable at the Village Cooperative,” Grant says. “Members earn a fixed annual appreciation on their equity share, which means they never have to worry about ‘playing the real estate market.’ With a hot seller’s market today, many seniors can finally cash out of their homes for the first time in their adult lives. Then, after they purchase their share, they still have money left over to do with as they please and live more comfortably than in the house that no longer fits their needs.”

Equity share pricing at the Village Cooperative of Puyallup starts as low as $160,000 and is based on square footage.

Fostering a sense of community

“I was so confident about the quality of life the Cooperative offers, that I encouraged my own mother to live at one of them, which she gratefully did,” says Steve Von Schmidt, marketing director for the Village Cooperative. “The cooperative community was a perfect setting for her after my dad passed away and she felt very blessed to be there.”

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In contrast to the sense of anonymity and isolation sometimes seen in other forms of senior housing, cooperatives foster a genuine sense of community among like-minded individuals, Grant says.

“We recently had a manager learn that a member was having some circulation issues and thus had uncomfortably cold feet,’’ she says. “She and a fellow member researched the best socks for this condition, went out and purchased them, and hand-delivered them — to his delight.”

Considering a cooperative?

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives suggests anyone considering investing in a cooperative ask these questions before making the investment:

  • What is the share price?
  • How will I pay the equity share price?
  • How much are the monthly carrying charges?
  • How do I resell my share?
  • What is the policy for making alterations to my home?
  • What is your pet policy?

Village Cooperative communities were developed to meet a demand among active adults (ages 62 and older) seeking a dynamic lifestyle. Cooperatives give active adults and retirees an excellent homeownership option with a hassle-free lifestyle and amenities they want — all at a great value.