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Why Renting vs. Buying Just Makes Sense When it Comes to Senior Living

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to senior living decisions. You and your loved ones are unique humans who have your own opinions, needs and preferences. Still, everyone’s situation requires a healthy dose of self-awareness and time to consider their financial, social and health requirements.

That’s why when people come to a Traditions community, one of their first questions is often whether they will rent or own. The second question? How much does it cost and how does it work?


Throughout our lives, we’re taught that building equity is desirable. Ownership affords certain freedoms, especially over time. With buy-in senior living, a resident either buys an apartment, condo or freestanding garden home or villa outright, or transfers their assets to a community’s equity trust. Your residence belongs to you, as do the decisions and financial responsibilities that come with owning.

You will be required to make a substantial up-front investment before you own your residence. Once you do, you pay monthly maintenance fees and association dues, as well as real estate taxes and assessments. Renovations are normally at your expense, as are utilities, and other services such as snow and trash removal.

Some level of care is normally available for an additional cost and that can be paid monthly or come from your pre-paid trust (something to confirm in writing). If your level of care exceeds what is available onsite, you may be required to move or make other in-home care arrangements.

Upon departure or death, a family member or your estate is responsible for monthly fees until your home or condo is resold. Resale pricing and profit will depend on an ever-fluctuating market, but whatever you make belongs to you or your family/estate.


Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)—another buy-in option—are similar in terms of an upfront investment, but require that you qualify for certain financial and medical criteria before moving in. This option includes a substantial entrance fee and ongoing monthly charge that covers your care regardless of how your medical condition or financial situation changes.

Your investment here is for your present and future peace of mind regarding lifelong care, not to build equity. A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) covers your full progression of care, but it does not provide you or your family/estate with equity. Some CCRCs will refund a portion of the up-front entrance investment within a specified period of days, or once they sell the apartment, condo or freestanding home.


This is a very popular model for senior living communities because it is the least expensive up front and, in most cases, over time. There are also a lot of things that are included in the price of your rental.

Traditions communities are all rental communities, including independent and assisted living, as well as memory care. We believe in this housing model because it gives more seniors access to beautiful and comfortable living, amenities and present or future care options.

Rental communities work the same way most rental companies work, with a small refundable deposit and a monthly fee for rent. Residents are required to give notice (normally 30 days) before terminating their lease. Leases are normally renewed annually, but terms and pricing should be discussed.

Overall, rentals often give you more for your money, with villas and freestanding garden homes including attached garages, gated security, options to paint and choose some design features, home maintenance, yard work, snow and trash removal, utilities and full access to dining, amenities, social activities and events and transportation.

Assisted living and memory care rentals include three restaurant meals per day, all utilities, weekly housekeeping, weekly laundry service for bed linens and towels, 24-hour onsite caregivers, emergency response systems, onsite social, religious, recreational and wellness programs and activities and scheduled transportation to medical appointments and outings and events.

Rentals do have some restrictions on the type of large-scale changes you can make to your residence, and the ones you would be financially responsible for, but there is normally a good deal of flexibility on improvements.

Rentals normally have a continuum of care available to residents, which means they offer independent living, assisted living and memory care within one community. This arrangement often allows you to stay in the same villa, garden home or apartment if you can safely receive new levels of care in place. It also offers you the chance to receive care and assistance from people you know and trust.

We want every senior to find the living option that best meets his or her needs. To find a Traditions rental community near you, learn more about available options, floor plans and pricing and to schedule a tour, please visit us at Traditionsmgmt.net.