Developer of Senior Communities Helps Residents Sell Their Homes

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorStone Mountain, Ga.—Isakson Living, a Norcross, Ga.-based developer of senior retirement communities, is offering a new plan to help current and prospective residents sell their existing homes, allowing them to move into Park Springs, a 54-acre, 392-unit community, now.“With this economic climate that we have right now and with the housing market as it is, we realized it was going to greatly affect our occupancy and ability to market new units, as well as maintain some of the residents who already live there who had not sold their homes,” Don Garner, senior vice president of development, Isakson Living, tells MHN. “With those thoughts in mind, we knew we couldn’t sit back and let the market take care of itself. We knew we had to be proactive.”Through the Vintage Home Plan, Isakson Living, together with Coldwell Banker, will evaluate the resident’s home from a market standpoint, and a home inspector will review the home for repairs and deficiencies, explains Garner. “We sit down with the resident and provide recommendations of what needs to be done and what the house should be listed and marketed for.”The inspection report for homes is at the cost of the community, and Park Springs also covers the cost of utilities and yard maintenance during the time the home is listed.The Vintage Home Plan offers residents two options: The As Is Plan and the Property Update Plan. The former is for those whose homes are ready to sell the way they are, while the latter is for those who need to make upgrades before the home is ready to be put on the market. Under this plan, Park Springs will handle finding the crews to do the work and negotiating prices to  ensuring everything is done right and on time.Under the Property Update Plan, the resident has the option to pay for all up-front costs to the home or Park Springs will pick up half the cost. If this option is chosen, the community will charge a 10 percent fee, which is reimbursed at the time of the home sale, Garner explains. He adds that a third option is for Park Springs to find a contractor who will front the cost of the improvement for a home that has potential for an increased value.“At Park Spring, we’ve heard a lot of people coming in saying, ‘I want to be here but I know I will have problems selling the house.’ That’s what we kept hearing and that’s one of the reasons we had to do something to eliminate the problem,” says Garner.Since the program was launched in January, four units have been sold under the program, which has generated interest from an additional four residents. The community is currently 90 percent sold.Residents who elect to come into the program must move into the community within 90 days of signing their amendment to residency agreement and begin paying Park Springs’ monthly fees at that time, Garner says.“If we hadn’t implemented the program, I think our sales would have been drastically reduced,” asserts Garner, who says that Isakson Living is considering implementing the program at its other communities. Designed by Atlanta-based Foley Design Associates Architects, Park Springs offers independent residences—including condos, cottages and single-family homes—and amenities, including a 60,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse with five themed dining rooms, a computer room, media room and card room; and a 12,000-sq.-ft. fitness center with an indoor swimming pool, a beauty shop, general store and local bank. In addition, a 64-suite health center provides assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia/Alzheimer’s care.Park Springs is managed by Life Care Services LLC (LCS). The community received the 2005 Platinum Award for best CCRC and the Gold Award for best interior design by the 50+ Housing Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Click here to see what others in the industry are doing to improve occupancy at their communities during the recession.