Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:   OWL55.com is a bit overwhelming. Where do I start?

Q:   Can you really get me a better price from a builder?

Q:   What is the price range for Virginia Active Adult homes?

Q:   With the depressed real estate market I am thinking of waiting for a better market to sell my home. Is this a good idea?

Q:   Where is the market going? Have prices stabilized?

Q:   Is there an active adult community near [wherever] VA?

Q:   Could you send me a brochure?

Q:   I live alone and one of my big concerns is security. Which communities offer the best security?

Q:   The HOA fees vary a lot across the communities. Why?

Q:   Many active adult communities say in their sales literature that you must be accompanied by your agent on your first visit. If I make a visit on my own does that mean I can’t have an agent represent me in negotiations?

Q:   I am looking for a 4-step retirement community in
Virginia. Can you help me?

 


 

Q:   OWL55.com is a bit overwhelming. Where do I start?

 

A:   Whether you are interested in new construction or resales, your best starting point is Active Adult Communities. This page presents a map showing the locations of 28 active adult communities in Virginia followed by a list summarizing their home types and price range. From this page you have links to community profile pages with links to builder’s Websites (with floor plans and prices) and the OWL55.com MLS listings for each community (when available).

 

If you scroll down the Home Page, you will find a Site Map of all the major pages of OWL55.com and brief descriptions of each.

 

Q:   Can you really get me a better price from a builder?

 

A:   While I can’t guarantee a better price, the chances are very good. As an Active Adult Community Specialist, I deal with the sales staffs all the time and I know their inventories, their incentives and the competitive context. The sales staffs know me and they know I can and will show buyers resale homes in their communities and new homes and resales in other active adult communities. They tend to get to their “best offer” quickly.

 

As a Realtor®, I can provide valuable services beyond price negotiation. I will review and explain to you every document you are expected to sign as well as HOA and related agreements.

 

The sales people you deal with represent the builder’s interests. I will be there to represent YOUR interests.

 

All of this is at no additional cost to you; in Virginia, the seller (builder) pays all commissions.

 

See Why Use A Realtor® for more information.

 

Q:  What is the price range for Virginia Active Adult Community homes?

 

A:  The lowest cost homes are in communities in southern and western Virginia. Some start in the upper $100,000’s. Northern Virginia communities are more expensive, starting in the low $200,000’s but average starting in the low to mid $300,000’s.

 

Q:   With the depressed real estate market I am thinking of waiting for a better market to sell my home. Is this a good idea?

 

A:   It is seldom advantageous to wait. If you are selling to buy and the market improves, you may get a better price for your home but you will also pay a higher price when you buy. There are very specific circumstances where waiting might make sense but I would have to know exactly what yours are to advise you.

 

Q:   Where is the market going? Have prices stabilized?

 

A:   I am no expert at forecasting so I can only summarize the “conventional wisdom” of the market gurus. The consensus seems to be that prices are beginning to stabilize but may drift a little lower. There is always a lag in resale prices because homeowners have a harder time than builders coming to terms with lower values.

 

Actual activity is already improving. There are more buyers out looking and more contracts being signed. A few builders have recently increased prices modestly.

 

Q:   Is there an active adult community near [wherever] VA?

 

A:   The map on the Active Adult Communities page shows every active adult community covered on OWL55.com. There is also a list below the map that gives basic information and links to more information.

 

Q:   Could you send me a brochure?

 

A:   I don’t have a “general” brochure. OWL55.com serves that purpose. Once you have selected specific communities of interest, I can send you builder’s brochures.

 

Q:   I live alone and one of my big concerns is security. Which communities offer the best security?

 

A:   All the communities featured on OWL55.com tend to be safer than the community at large simply due to their private streets and the tendency of neighbors who know each other watching out for each other.

That said, the highest security communities in Virginia are those with 24 hour staffed gates, such as Heritage Hunt, Regency at Dominion Valley, Colonial Heritage and Lansdowne Woods of Virginia.

Q:   The HOA fees vary a lot across the communities. Why?

 

A:   Developer/builders sometimes subsidize HOA fees during development as a marketing inducement. Also, the amenities and services included in the HOA fees can differ significantly. These issues must be reviewed carefully community by community when making comparisons.

 

Q:   Many active adult communities say in their sales literature that you must be accompanied by your agent on your first visit. If I make a visit on my own does that mean I can’t have an agent represent me in negotiations?

 

A:  First, understand that what the developer/builder sales agents are trying to do is avoid a situation where a potential customer begins substantive negotiations and then – in the middle of the process – brings in a Realtor® or other representation. That would complicate and disrupt the sales process and be unfair to the sales agent.

 

So if you do not engage in any negotiations there is probably no problem. Ensure your ability to have representation by following these guidelines:

  • Make it very clear that you are “just looking” and you are “not ready to talk.”

  • State that when and if you are ready to enter into serious discussions, you will have your agent with you.

  • Do not sign anything; not even a “Visitor’s Log.”

Most developer/builder sales representatives are realistically flexible on this issue. If you want to visit a sales office without your Realtor® or other representation but preserve your prerogatives, call me and I will make the arrangements. If you decide later not to have representation or to retain someone else, no problem. Just speak kindly of OWL55.com and what nice, helpful folks we are.

 

Q:   I am looking for a 4-step retirement community in
Virginia. Can you help me?

 

A:   My focus is specifically on Active Adult 55+ Communities, and I
do not monitor or maintain information on other types of “senior communities.” Your best option is to do some Web searches for the specific type of community you are interested in.

 


I invite your questions about Active Adult Communities and the lifestyle or about OWL55.com and my services.

Your email address will be used only to respond to your question. You will not be added to any mailing lists and your email address will not be provided to any third parties.

To submit a question, Email Peggy.