Transforming Your Home Into Senior Housing

What exactly is senior housing?

Senior housing can be anything from independent living to assisted living or even memory care or a SNF (skilled nursing facility) . For independent living, it is a home that would be considered “senior safe” with grab bars, smoke detectors, wider doors and the like. To really make it safe you would potentially remove the obvious trip hazards of uneven floors and small steps or transitions within the home. There maybe safety features like smoke detectors or cameras within the house, being monitored by an outside service. It could even include fire suppression. All of those things are potentially a part of providing safe senior housing.

What is Independent living?

From the real estate perspective, Independent living is providing a home that is “senior safe”.  That may mean grab bars, smoke detectors, wider doors, trip hazards removed. Think about the “Golden Girls” The TV show from the 80s. The home itself may have 3 or four bedrooms with 3 or 4 or more people living there. If you have a home right now that is on a single level that could be converted to four bedrooms with at least two bathrooms, so there’s two people to a bathroom or maybe you add some extra bathrooms. That could be a good transformation or conversion from your current home into “Golden Girl” style senior housing.

In that golden girls or golden boys model, the rent that you’re charging can be anything that you want of course but it’s higher than normal rent. That is because you’re including things like utilities, upkeep on the house, maintenance. Now imagine if instead of renting the house for $1,200 or $1,500 a month, you are renting each bedroom for $1,000 a month and it includes all of those things. That is $4,000 instead of $1,500. Even with the utilities accounted for you are potentially netting an additional $2,000 a month. So a senior wouldn’t have to worry about the upkeep and the uncertainty of the maintenance on the house.  Even the utilities become a fixed cost because its included in the rent. They can be confident that all of their housing expenses are taken care of. Now they can just call a number and somebody comes and fixes whatever is needed. Peace of mind knowing that their housing is taken care of is very important to seniors.

What is Assisted Living?

No one moves into Assisted Living unless they need assistance. People that needed some help or assistance with 2 or more “Activities of Daily Living” or ADLs, would be the market for a AL Home. There is 24/7 care provided by properly trained caregivers. These are not nurses and doctors but rather people that are trained to help seniors and assisted them with their ADLs.  

In residential assisted living we have residents not tenants. They pay a monthly fee for the care they receive and they are provided with a place to live but they are not tenants paying rent.  Assisted Living means there’s going to be caregivers there. They’re not necessarily living in the house with them as live in caregivers though. If the caregivers are living there as “live in” caregivers, there might be a room that’s designated for the caregivers. But the conversion itself is fairly similar to Independent Living. The home needs to be “senior safe” but not ADA compliant. There may be a few more requirements to make sure it’s appropriate for assisted living.

Transforming your home into senior housing, whether it be golden girls and golden boys, or whether it be assisted living and all of the benefits that come with that, is an option that create tremendous cash flow. Being in a location that is close to things like Libraries, grocery shopping, movies and those kinds of things are more important for independent living, golden girls, golden boys, than it is assisted living. In Assisted living they’re going to be in the home, and their families visit them there.

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