Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Renting vs. Buying in Senior Living

Any independent senior living community can be a smart way to downsize and enrich your lifestyle while dramatically reducing your daily responsibilities. The options can feel overwhelming, especially in a retirement destination like Florida. But this article will help you demystify some of the details.

First, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the terms used in the industry. Additionally, you might want to speak to friends or relatives who have already downsized to a retirement community. Next, consider which type of community you’re interested in and the sort of amenities that fit your lifestyle.

Older adults exploring the many different types of communities eventually come around to this question: “Should I rent or buy?

Across the wide variety of senior living communities, a general two-category classification can be made: rental communities and communities where you “buy in” with an entrance fee. Use this overview of the industry to fine-tune your search and determine the type of senior living contract that’s best for you.

The Main Differences Between Rent and Buying In

The main difference between renting and a buy-in community is the contract type. Senior living contracts are essential documents that outline what each community offers, how much it will cost, and how payments are structured. Every community has its own contracts, and the details will vary per community.

It’s important you understand the details of a contract or rental agreement before signing it. If you’re uncomfortable reading it alone, ask a friend or other advocate to review it with you.

In a Rental Community

A typical rental contract lasts a year, much like any other type of residential contract. Although there is no entrance fee or buy-in, a modest security deposit or community fee may be required.

Your monthly payments will include community services, amenities and all the rewarding lifestyle programs the community offers.

Some of the services may include dining, housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, planning, plus access to organized activities and events that take place on site.

If ever you need assisted living or memory care, you’ll have access to it on site, a tremendous convenience that eliminates the need for a disruptive move at a vulnerable time.

Best of all, at a rental community, you pay only for the care you need.

At a Buy-In Community

Let’s get one thing out of the way quickly: the term “buy-in” is a misnomer. You’re not buying or owning any part of the community, including the residence you live in.

The buy-in option requires a significant upfront fee, which prepays for a portion of long-term care that you may need in the future. It might be a value if you need such care. However, a buy-in/entrance fee option puts a significant amount of your money in the hands of the community, where it earns interest for them rather than for you.

The main benefit of the entrance fee model is a lower rate for any future care services. Each community has its own discount policy, ranging from reduced care rates to a predetermined number of days of care at no extra cost. The most comprehensive contract, called Life Care, provides unlimited care in the community health center at no extra cost. As you might guess, this contract demands the highest up-front entrance fee.

The Village at Gainesville: Your Home for Life

We offer independent living, assisted living and memory support in the beautiful north Florida climate. Come learn more about the benefits of a rental community like The Village at Gainesville, including how to enjoy our fun and active lifestyle.