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Senior Project Works With Residents on Home Sales

The stagnant residential real estate market has many homebuilders trying to figure out how to get people moving. University Village a luxury senior living project in Thousand Oaks has implemented a home sale deferral program to give fence-sitters an incentive to take the plunge. Potential residents will not have to pay the full amount of the entrance fee until their existing home has sold, assuming good credit and all of that. They do, however, begin paying their monthly fees which can range between $2,700 and $4,000 depending on the size of the unit. The program has actually been available since the property first opened last fall, but usage has accelerated. “What we’ve found now is a much higher percentage, between 75 and 80 percent, are using it,” said Warren Spieker, vice president of Continuing Life Communities, the project’s developer. It is, he said, essentially an interest-free, non-collateralized loan with no repayment terms. “We never take possession of the house,” said Spieker, ” the resident is in complete control at all times.” This can help those for whom a major change like a home sale can be a very difficult, emotional decision. Downsizing move Not only are they people who may have lived in their homes for as long as 50 years, but most will be significantly downsizing when they make the move, said Sandie Turgeon, move-in coordinator for the property. “This way, residents can move in and start taking advantage of all the amenities we provide here,” she said, “and let the house sell without them worrying about it.” It also gives them extra time to make decisions about which of their treasured possessions to keep and what to get rid of, and can also help the Realtor stage the home more effectively. Three months is the average time the “loan” is extended, Spieker said. Only in rare circumstances has the developer had to begin charging interest. This generally happens either when a person has unrealistic expectations of the value of their home, or is having a hard time deciding what to do with treasured memorabilia and possessions that just don’t fit into their new place. Spieker also said that some of his clients tell him that real estate agents can be very negative about taking their listings, saying it’s such a bad time and they’re not going to get a good price. But for many of these people, who bought their homes 30, 40 or 50 years ago, even today’s “depressed” prices can represent a very tidy return on their initial investment. One of the nicest things about the deferral program is that if a resident finds they don’t like living there, or they are unable to part with their original home, they do not owe University Village anything. “Let’s say the market really craters, worse than now, and they couldn’t get the sales price they wanted,” said Spieker, ” they always have their house to move back into.”

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