What Do Retirees Want In a Community?

ideal-LIVING’s latest report helps communities better understand their target audience in order to create more valuable content.

As with any business, in order to successfully market a retirement home, you must first understand your target audience. Knowing what they want will allow you to more effectively reach them and, ideally, generate home sales within the community. For those seeking to better understand this demographic of affluent adults 50 years of age and older, there’s ideal-LIVING magazine, the expert source in retirement and second homes since 1989. This prominent publication recently released the findings from its lifestyle questionnaire in which 600 participants provided insight into what these buyers want and need to know before relocating to a retirement community. 

Where Are Retirees Searching For Information?

According to the results of the survey, ideal-LIVING.com and Zillow are the most popular search engines for those interested in moving to a retirement community, with 53 percent electing for ideal-LIVING.com and 52 percent choosing Zillow. Realtor.com received 31 percent of the vote, while Google had 23 percent and Trulia was selected by 18 percent. 

When it comes to social media usage, Facebook was a heavy favorite among participants at 36 percent, more than Instagram (7 percent), Pinterest (4 percent) and Houzz (2 percent) combined. This is an important statistic to note because it shows just where retirees are spending the most time, and where you’ll want to focus your content marketing strategy. Based on these results, your retirement community would benefit from a presence on Facebook and ideal-LIVING or Zillow. 

What Questions Are Retirees Asking?

Before someone makes the decision to settle into a retirement or second home, location preferences will certainly be top of the list. The survey from ideal-LIVING found that age restrictions are not particularly important to prospective residents. Only 19 percent of participants said it was very important to live in a community exclusively for those 55 years of age and older, while 47 percent said it was somewhat important and 34 percent said it was not important. A close proximity to an extended care facility for parents or other family members also rated low on the scale of importance. Nearly half of those responding to the survey rated it as not important, with 36 percent voting it as somewhat important and only 16 percent saying it was very important. 

According to the survey, the most important factor in determining a retirement destination is likely to be financial relief, as lower property tax and lower state income tax ranked first and second in the list of reasons for relocation or property purchase. Mild winter climate ranked third, followed by less traffic and congestion and a change in lifestyle. Moving closer to family or friends and investment were the least important reasons as ranked by participants. 

Retirees do a lot of research before choosing a community to settle into for retirement. Providing answers to these highly sought after questions such as tax exclusions, weather, quality of healthcare facilities nearby and other amenities will get you one step closer to turning a prospective resident into a permanent resident. 

What Are Retirees Looking For In A Home?

After closing in on the location of their liking, the next step for retirees is determining the type of home they want to live in. The ideal size for most survey responders was 2,000 square feet, followed by 2,000 to 3,000 square feet and 3,000 square feet. New/under construction/finished properties narrowly edged out existing homes as the type of property that adults 50 years of age and older are seeking. First-floor living, large open kitchen and a separate master suite were the most popular amenities. Energy efficiency, outdoor living, a nature view, pool, additional storage and golf view were some of the other things that retirees said they would be likely to look for in a new home.

The overwhelming majority of responses claimed to be in the market for a primary home, compared to just 13 percent seeking a vacation or second home and only 6 percent interested in a rental property. Activities are important, walking trails, wellness or fitness centers, social clubs, dining and swimming are the most popular. Other popular amenities include a town center, cycling, cultural arts and golf. 

So how do you differentiate your retirement community? Make sure you’re giving prospective residents an interactive experience once they land on your website, social media or blog, giving them a real sense of what your community offers. This might be in the form of a resident video showcasing all the opportunities for keeping active, or a gallery of images to highlight real estate and neighborhood amenities throughout your community. Immerse them in an experience that 1) answers their top questions and 2) engages them to dig deeper and learn more. 

Take the Time to Get to Know Your Audience

Better understanding this ideal-LIVING report and what consumers want can go a long way toward attracting potential residents. A knowledgeable understanding of what retirees are looking for will help establish what your retirement community should offer and the types of content you should use to effectively reach new residents. Use this information to better build a picture of your dream resident and then build a content marketing strategy to reach them! 

Showcasing on ideal-LIVING or Zillow will put your retirement community in front of thousands of prospective residents, while an active, engaging Facebook presence provides an opportunity to increase your brand awareness and a well kept blog allows you to let your current residents tell the stories of what makes your community great. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and show why your neighborhood is the ideal place for retirees to settle down. 


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The Ghidotti Team is overflowing with full-fledged rock stars. Sure – we’re looking for the best, brightest, most creative, most organized. You get the picture. But what we REALLY want is someone who we can laugh with, depend on, learn from and do great work together. Learn more about who we’re looking for and what you can expect.

In the Account Supervisor position, a staff member will be responsible for assisting and managing the public relations, content marketing, digital media, account services and/or creative/strategy for clients. This position requires fully developed specialty skills, a strong understanding of the industry landscape and an understanding of client priorities and objectives.
  • Serve as the account strategist/lead and oversee/play a clear leadership role on at least three clients.
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Account Services: 

  • Play a clear leadership role in the planning and execution of integrated marketing campaigns for clients.
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  • Assist in providing leadership and professional development on client relations, helping team members improve their skills in managing conflict, presentations, sales, etc.

Client Strategy: 

  • Develop or oversee the visual content creation for client materials, including e-newsletters, website content, digital campaigns, marketing collateral, etc.
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Apply for this open position by emailing Bethany Siems at bethany@ghidotti.com.

Experience in public relations, content marketing, digital media and influencer marketing is a must, but here is what we really want in a fellow Rock Star. Don’t let it scare ya – we just have high standards!

  • You anticipate every move of our clients and us.
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  • You are resourceful. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again.

Rock Star Environment

We strive to create a fun, engaging atmosphere where high fives, chicken minis, and celebrations are commonplace. We lift one another up, honor achievements and reward hard work.

  1. Professional Enrichment

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  2. Community Engagement

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  3. Team Building

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  4. Winter Recess

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  5. Summer Fridays

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  6. Volunteer Time Off (VTO)

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Does this describe you?

Apply for one of our open positions or just send us an email letting us know why you should be part of this Rock Star team. Email bethany@ghidotti.com.