I looked at some condos in a development in southern N.J. this weekend. They were okay, a little old, not huge, the prices were reasonable enough. The units were attached and some were garden style with a unit above. The next day, I visited my brother in another town a little further away. He showed me a small house that was for sale in a 55+ community. It had 2 bedrooms, an attached garage, front yard, back yard. Fully detached. It was more expensive. He said he's never been inside but knows the owner lowered the price. All the houses were fully detached. I asked if the complex had a pool and he said it did along with a fitness center. In both developments, you can alter the interior but not the exterior. Both have their HOA rules.
The 55+ house looked like you get more for your money and was very quiet. A pool available (may have been an indoor & outdoor one)! A guy at work told me that some 55 & over communities do allow a small percentage of under 55 people to buy as long as they don't have children.
I've been trying to do a little research online about them. In city-data.com - a lot of people mentioned living in them and loving it. They mention feeling safe, not worrying about maintenance, and a nice community feel about them. In another article, some people complained of gossipy or unfriendly neighbors and too many rules...and not having flexibility if you want to sell it.
Does anyone have any experience with them? Do you think it would be a good idea for a 40 something to buy into a 55+ community?