Here at the Ann Arbor Senior Center we welcome our members to engage with one another through their creative outlets. This month we are featuring an article by Lydia Chan that discusses how to navigate buying a vacation home in retirement.
Buying Your Dream Vacation Home in Retirement
Congratulations! You've worked hard, earned your retirement, and now you're ready to buy that vacation home you've always dreamed of. Unlike buying your primary residence, there are some additional things to consider when you purchase a vacation house. Here are some tips that will help ensure you make a good investment.
Choosing Your Dream Vacation Home
The first step is to purchase your new vacation home. You've likely already got your heart set on a
location. Wherever the house is located, you need to first consider how you plan on using the house and how easy it will be to visit. Is this just for you and your spouse to retreat to together? Is this going to be a meeting place for all your family to gather together for a big family vacation? Deciding what you want to use the house for will dictate the size and amenities you need. Once you know what size house you want, you can begin the hunt. Research other vacation properties in the area you're considering to see what is doing well to help you make a secure investment.
Budgeting for Renovations
You found your home and made the leap to purchase it. Now what? Most likely, renovations. Depending on the state of the house you choose, the kitchen and bathroom could be the rooms that need the most attention. Unfortunately, bathrooms and kitchens can be very costly to renovate. In Ann Arbor, for example, the cost to
remodel a kitchen ranges from about $8,900 - $45,000 -- talk about a significant investment! If the home of your dreams needs improvements, it's important to decide how much you can
afford to spend on upgrades and stick to it. Decide on the updates that matter most and prioritize them first. For example, upgrading the appliances in the kitchen are likely a higher priority than cosmetic upgrades. Whatever your budget is, you can work within it to fix the things you need.
Decide How the House will be Maintained
If you are only using this home for vacation, there will be times when you won't be living there, potentially for months at a time. Because of this you may want to consider renting out your vacation home. Doing so ensures the house is lived in and can contribute to helping you pay down that second mortgage if you have one. The catch is that you'll need to decide how to maintain the property when you can't do it. As a rental, the house will need to be cleaned regularly, routine maintenance will need to be performed, and there is always the possibility of emergency repairs. You could choose to manage and maintain the house yourself if you live nearby, as this is a more cost-effective option, but it requires more work on your end.
Many owners will choose to hire a
property management company to help take care of the house in their absence. While these agencies can be a boon for your venture, you'll want to do your research to ensure that you choose a reputable and affordable company to entrust your home to. If your vacation home has the rent priced correctly and is being well managed, this has the potential to be a lucrative opportunity for you. If you are not sure what rates to charge for your house, SmartMove suggests
researching other rental properties in the area to rate your home competitively.
Tips to Cut Costs
One of the primary reasons people hold off on buying a vacation home is the potential to lose a lot of money. There are several ways to cut costs and protect your finances with this purchase. One option is to
choose a home warranty when you make a purchase. This sort of policy can help cover costs for major systems or issues like when the AC goes out or if your hot water heater breaks.
Another way to cut costs is to consider purchasing the property with a partner, preferably a trusted friend or family member. It can be a great help to share both the financial burden and maintenance responsibilities with someone else. Be sure to thoroughly discuss the details so that everyone is in agreement and on the same page. You may want to consider meeting with an attorney as well to work out the legal details to protect both parties involved.
One thing you won't need to hire an attorney for is registering your business with your state, since you can do that quickly and affordably through an online service. You'll need to have a name selected for your venture, and you will need to decide on the business structure. For the many benefits it provides, consider an LLC. It not only protects your assets, it's a flexible structure, so if you add a partner later you don't need to change it, there are tax perks, and you can even use an LLC to purchase more investment properties. On top of all that,
Michigan LLC online filing is simple and inexpensive when you go through an online service.
If the time has come to act on your dream of purchasing a vacation home, be sure to take your time choosing the right house and follow these tips to help make the right investment. You've worked hard to get to retirement, and now you get to enjoy the spoils of your effort!
CTN's monthly series, Senior Moments, provides valuable information for senior citizens on such issues as health, wealth, finance and entertainment by covering events and activities at senior centers in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Click the ad to watch the series and catch it on Comcast CTN Channel 16, on the last Sunday of the month at 5pm. Reruns Sundays @ 5pm, Mondays @ 8am, Tuesdays @ 7:30 am, Wednesdays at 11 am, Fridays at 5pm. To access the series online visit https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw6eY79a9rp-HD0DxEDyiTh3kSS5ffKXL.
Senior Center Membership
Individual and Family Membership
Ann Arbor Senior Center Membership Advantage: Please consider joining the center to start receiving discounts on classes and senior center rentals! A year long membership is only $25, and a family annual membership is $35. Consider the facts: Most ACBL players come two times a week and play - that's nearly 100 games a year. Your membership would cost you just $25 a year , saving you $75. Most Scrabble and Mahjong players play 50 times a year, and with a Senior Center membership, you will save $75 a year!
Arts & Humanities (Not Currently Offered)
NEW! Burns Park Women's Circle
Every Tuesday, 6-7 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
Start the new year by joining a group of local women that gather to discuss weekly topics, life experiences, provide support and education to one another, and discover new connections and friendship.
A2 Community Sing with Dawn
First Tuesday of the month, 7-8:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $5.
Just like singing around a campfire, you'll find yourself remembering that old ballad, an Irish tune, or childhood family song in no time. Our Community Sings are sure to stir up some fond memories and build a new family friendly tradition to be treasured for years to come. If you love to sing, haven't sung in years or are just yearning for some fun intergenerational community time, our Community Sing is sure to please. We use both the
Rise Up Singing Song Book and the
Rise Again Song Books. Song leaders typically start out each sing and all participants get an opportunity to pick a song in the circle. All voices welcomed. Community Sings are held in Burns Park in the Gallery Room at the Ann Arbor Senior Center.
Blue Grass Jam
Second and fourth Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m.,
drop-in fee: $5.
The A2 Blue Grass participants, from expert to novice, come from all over southeast Michigan to have fun withbluegrass jamming and singing. We draw a wide variety of musical Instruments including banjos, fiddles, standup and electronic bass, percussion, washboard, dobro, mandolin and the occasional harmonica. All ages are welcome. Visit the
for more information.
NEW! Bag Lunch Bible Study
Every Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
Come fill your life with joy and happiness during the weekly Bag Lunch Bible Study, where you can study the Bible and create a life changing experience with long lasting friendships. Remember to bring a snack or bag lunch to enjoy!
NEW! Movie Matinee
Every Wednesday, 1-3:30 p.m., nonmembers: $2, members Free.
Come join us every Wednesday afternoon to enjoy a great movie! Includes free popcorn!
March Movies: A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Last of the Mohicans, The Greatest Showman
Watercolor Skills Course
Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 16-March 18.
Summer Session: May 7-July 9
Join this mindful community of painters for artistic inspiration, painting demos, a bit of art history, lively discussion and fun. All skill levels welcome. This class is offered in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for individuals 65 and older.
Bridge Games & Instruction
Bridge Barometer Game (Not Currently Offered)
Per Game Fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember
Want to improve your bridge game? Know someone who would like to get back into bridge? This is the perfect opportunity. Join fellow bridge players for a fun morning of educational bridge play with Bridge Director and Emerald Life Master, Debra Eaves. The Barometer game is designed with learning in mind and consists of 12 boards to play. All tables play the same board at the same time. Upon completion of each hand, the cards are placed face up on the table (double dummy style) with a brief (5 minute) lesson/discussion. The game awards ACBL masterpoints (60% of full game awards). No partner necessary; we will find you one! Register for 1, 2, or all 9 games.
ACBL Bridge Games (Not Currently Offered)
Wednesdays and Thursdays, Noon-3:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $8 member; $9 nonmember.
ACBL open sanctioned games are played in the Gallery Room on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Pre-dealt hands from "dealer 4" offer players immediate hand records and player analysis printouts. The sanctioned bridge game has players of all levels of expertise from beginner to expert. Your directors encourage you to come with a partner. Looking for a partner? Arrive at the center and let the director know by 11:30 a.m., and they will offer you a guarantee to play. Wednesday Director Debra Eaves (March-December); Wednesday (January and February) and Thursday Director Stacey Tessler.
Duplicate Non-sanctioned Bridge (Not Currently Offered)
Monday, 12:30-3:30 p.m., drop-in fee: $2 member; $3 nonmember
Non-sanctioned Duplicate Bridge, directed by Ray Gentz, attracts players of all ages with varied levels of expertise including life masters to beginners.
Novice Bridge Game (0-199 Masterpoint Limit) (Not Currently Offered)
Select Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Per Game Fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember
Game Dates: April 4, May 2, June 6, 2020
There's a NEW game in town for Novice Bridge Players!
Join fellow novice bridge players for a fun morning of educational bridge play with Bridge Director Stacey Tessler. Play duplicate bridge with others at your level. Hand records and electronic scoring are provided. You can even earn ACBL masterpoints. A short lecture at 9 a.m. precedes the 9:30 a.m. game. No partner necessary; we will find you one!
Contact Stacey at 734.255.1269 for more information.
Part II: Mondays, April 5 - June 21, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; fee: $110 member; $132 nonmember
This class is designed for advanced beginners and low intermediate players who wish to improve their defensive play. This course requires each student to have their own copy of “Defense in the 21st Century" by Audrey Grant. The class will study chapters 4-6 in the text which may be purchased online or ordered from your local bookstore if you didn't take Part I. Pre-requisites: Bridge I or equivalent or prior experience.
Bridge II Play of the Hand
Part II: Tuesdays, April 6 - June 15, noon - 1:30 p.m.; fee: $110 member; $132 nonmember
This class is designed for advanced beginners and low intermediate players who wish to improve declarer skills and will cover chapters 4-6 of the text. This course requires each student to have their own copy of “Play of Hand in the 21st Century" by Audrey Grant which may be purchased online or ordered from your local bookstore. The main part of the course deals with play of the hand as declarer. Other parts include bidding reviews, defense, and more. Pre-requisites: Bridge I or instructor permission.
Bridge for Beginners
Part II: Tuesdays, April 6 - June 15, 2 - 3:30 p.m.; fee: $110 member; $132 nonmember.
This class is designed for beginners who have never played before and for those wishing to refresh bidding skills. The main part of the course deals with learning the Standard American bidding system. Other parts include scoring, defense, declarer play and more. This course requires each student to have their own copy of “Bidding in the 21st Century" by Audrey Grant. The class will cover chapters 1-5 of the text which may be purchased online or ordered from your local bookstore.
Supervised Bridge Play (Not Currently Offered)
Be on the lookout for upcoming dates this spring.
fee: $10 member; $12 nonmember.
fee: $10 member; $12
Enjoy the flexibility of attending Supervised Bridge Play in the morning, the afternoon, or mix it up and come when your schedule permits. There will be a Monday a.m. option and a Tuesday p.m. option. Supervised Bridge Play is designed for beginners and low intermediate players who wish to improve their bidding, declarer, and defensive play. The program will run with students playing 7-9 hands per session. Hands will be analyzed after completion to review the bidding, play, and defense. No book or partner needed. It is highly recommended that students have some type of previous bidding class or experience. Please note that this is not a duplicate game; just practice. For more details, contact the instructor Ray Gentz at 734.769.3994 or the Senior Center office at 734.794.6250.
Social Games (Not Currently Offered)
Chinese Mahjong on Mondays, noon-3 p.m., drop-in fee: free member; $2 nonmember.
Test your skills and strategy tactics with an ancient tile-based game of Chinese origin, while engaging in bit of friendly competition. Similar to rummy and poker, this four-player game can be played by all ages and skill levels.
Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Easy to learn and fun to play, this game is for people who like friendly competition and riveting conversation. All experience levels are welcome.
Mondays, 6-8 p.m., Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Playing Euchre is a fun social experience where you can meet new people. Bring a partner or just show up and we'll match you up with somebody when you get here.
Board Game Fun
Not currently offered, Drop-in: free member; $2 nonmember.
Playing board games is a fun social experience. Come out for an afternoon of mystery and detective work; slide, collide, but don’t be Sorry; or grab your train ticket for a cross country adventure. Beginning September 5, come meet new people and play a variety of board games at the Ann Arbor Senior Center. Games available: Clue, Sorry, Ticket to Ride, Tripoley, Rummikub, and more!
Fitness (Not Currently Offered)
Mondays, Jan. 6-March 9, 6:00-7:00 p.m., $80 for 10 weeks/Drop-in $12 nonmember, $10 member.
Mondays, March 16-May 18, 6:00-7:00 p.m., $80 for 10 weeks/Drop-in $12 nonmember, $10 member
All fitness levels and abilities of those 15 years and older, are welcome to unite, dance, and be yourself during this fun group dance experience that nurtures the mind, body, and soul. GROOVE® is a simple, fun, and creative dance workout. Just simple moves and rhythms done YOUR own way! The dance floor has evolved, so come join the movement. No dance experience required. Check out Young at Heart for a sneak peek of what this class has to offer.
Register with a buddy and you both will save 20%! Call 734.794.6250 to register.
Benefits of Dance
- Reduces stress and depression
- Increases energy and serotonin
- Improves flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance
- Strengthens bones and boosts cardiovascular health
- Increases mental capacity by exercising our cognitive processes
- Dynamic and rapid fire decision making creates new neural paths
Chair Yoga through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed
Chair yoga provides a gentle stretch for your body and brings a sense of clarity to the mind. This class is offered by Rec & Ed at the Ann Arbor Senior Center on Fridays 9:30-10:30 a.m.. Visit Rec & ED to register for the class.
The following classes are in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for adults 65 and older. Please call to register, 734.794.6250.
Fitness for Seniors
Tuesdays, 1-2 p.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 14-March 17.
Summer Session: May 5-July 7.
Join Mark Harris in this 10-week free class for adults 65 and older offered in partnership with Washtenaw Community College. Improve fitness, strength, conditioning, flexibility, balance and cognitive skills while having fun. Call to preregister, 734.794.6250.
Wednesdays, 9-10:30 a.m., free.
Winter Session: Jan. 15-March 18.
Spring Session: May 6-July 8
Join this free class in partnership with Washtenaw Community College for seniors 65 and older. Instruction combines martial arts movements with Qi (energy) circulation, breathing and stretching techniques to improve balance and overall health. Instructed by Karla Groesbeck. Call to preregister, 734.794.6250.
Wellness and Enrichment (Not Currently Offered)
Life Line Screenings
Future date to be announced soon.
Life Line Screening will again host health screenings at the Ann Arbor Senior Center. For more information or to register, visit
Easy Indoor Plant Care and Propagation Workshop
Not currently offered; dates TBD for 2020
Join this hands-on class led by Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener trainee Corry Buckwalter, to learn about the health benefits of growing indoor plants, how to care for them and propagate your own new plant to take home. Whether you already have a green thumb and keep plants thriving for decades or are just curious about the magical world of indoor plants, this class is for you. Plant care topics will include proper soil media, containers, watering and light requirements, as well as common indoor plant problems and how to address them. Instructor will discuss eight methods to conduct vegetative propagation. Come prepared to get your hands in the dirt and have fun! Sample potted plants will be available to study. Free. Ten participant limit for adults 55+. Registration required. Call 734.794.6250 to reserve a spot.
A Matter of Balance
Not currently offered,
free, registration with AAA1B required
A Matter of Balance is an award-winning evidence-based program designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase the activity levels of older adults who have concerns about falls. Throughout the eight weeks, you will learn to:
- View falls as controllable
- Set goals for increasing activity
- Make changes to reduce risks at home
- Exercise to increase strength and balance.
Call (833) 262-2200 or email
[email protected] for information or to register.
The Senior Center also hosts a variety of educational workshops that provide its members with ample information and support. A recent topic of discussion, outlined by Sharon Wagner, describes ways that individuals can find support for obtaining Medicare. See here: Breaking Down the ABCs of Medicare to Find Your Best Option.pdf
Article of Interest: "Seniors Face Unique Challenges, But They Don't Have To Go It
Alone" Kent Elliot is a retired architect with a passion for dogs, DIY, and universal design. After a stroke left him with mobility issues, he thought he would need to move out of his home and into an assisted living community. But, using his experience as an architect and with a little creativity, he was able to successfully remodel his family home instead. The relief he felt has inspired him to help others do the same. He created At Home Aging to share what he’s learned and is currently working on a book, Aging in Place One Project at a Time: DIY Home Modifications That Don’t Require a Professional.
Seniors Face Unique Challenges, But They Don’t Have to Go It Alone.pdf