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How to Pay for Independent Living in Virginia

Independent living communities are designed to offer the best of everything – secure housing with no worries about property maintenance and active living with a profusion of exciting amenities.

Similar to retirement communities or 55+ apartments, independent living is an affordable option for many retirees, especially when you subtract the financial drains of owning a home. If you’re wondering how to pay for independent living, there are many creative financing options, from reverse mortgages to renting your existing home.

Ways to Pay for Independent Living

By far the most common way to pay for independent living is to use retirement savings. You may have been saving for years so that you can enjoy your retirement and take a well-earned rest from the cares of owning a home. Other standard income sources include investment income, dividends and liquidated assets.

Beyond these main sources, there are many creative ways to pay for independent living:

  • Social Security and Annuity Funds: Social security benefits exist to provide a good quality of life for those at retirement age. Many active adults use these funds, along with annuities that are part of retirement planning, to pay for independent living.
  • Home Equity: Even if you don’t have a sufficient savings account, chances are you’ve built up a good amount of home equity. You can leverage it to pay for an independent living community through a home equity loan or line of credit from a bank. You can also just sell the home and use the equity to pay for the costs of a retirement community.
  • Reverse Mortgage: A reverse mortgage is a unique kind of home equity loan designed for those 62 and older. You don’t have to make payments, but the loan becomes due when you pass away or permanently move out of the home. One spouse or partner needs to stay in the home to keep the home equity payments coming, however.
  • Home Rental: Renting your existing home might be a smart financial move if you can use the rental income to finance an independent living apartment. This would be ideal as you’d keep building up equity and would retain ownership of your home.
  • Life Settlements: You can sell your existing life insurance policy to a third party for its cash surrender value. You won’t get the full death benefit, but you will be able to use the funds to pay for retirement living.
  • Senior Living Line of Credit: This is a bridge option to tide you over until you secure more permanent funding. You can take out a line of credit at your bank to pay for retirement housing while waiting for your home to sell, for instance. Some adults use this financing to pay for housing until they qualify for federal benefits.

Independent Living Costs in Virginia

The average cost of independent living in Virginia is $2,181 per month, a bit higher than the national average of $1,729 per month. The rate reflects Virginia’s popularity as a place to retire. Many attractions draw people to Virginia, ranging from a mild climate to historic battlefields to the rich cultural heritage of Northern Virginia and nearby Washington, D.C. There’s also a robust community of people 55 and over in the state — around 1.5 million.

However, the cost of independent living varies based on more than just price. What’s included matters as well, and you’ll often find retirees who are willing to pay more than the average to have the lifestyle, amenities and services they want.

What’s Included in Independent Living

Independent living communities offer secure, maintenance-free housing with beautifully landscaped grounds. Private apartments or townhomes are standard, with a full range of in-house amenities such as a full kitchen. You generally won’t find skilled nursing help, but emergency medical care and medical referrals are usually available.

The amenities can range from simple to elaborate. Some communities have on-site theaters, spas, beauty salons and art studios. Programs can be intellectual or athletic, with planned getaways and scheduled transportation to nearby attractions.

Meals are usually available through an on-site restaurant with a talented chef, although they may or may not be covered in base costs. You might choose to order a take-out meal for a picnic or to dine in an intimate space with family and friends.

Standard Services

In addition to amenities, independent living communities often offer services that allow residents to do fewer maintenance and cleaning tasks, freeing up time for them to enjoy their retirement. Standard services you’ll usually find include:

  • 24-hour security
  • Transportation so you can forgo auto expenses
  • Most utilities
  • Trash and snow removal
  • Emergency services
  • Concierge services and recreational programs
  • Some level of housekeeping

A Breakdown of Independent Living Cost

In most independent living communities, costs can be divided into housing costs and activity or maintenance fees. Housing costs vary widely depending on the local real estate market and the size of the unit, which can range from apartments to spacious homes. Part of the independent living price is a move-in fee, often equal to one months’ rent.

Your maintenance fee will cover exterior maintenance, services and recreational amenities. It may be due annually or quarterly. The cost can vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands depending on the level of service you’re looking for and the featured amenities.

However, costs are often broken up differently depending on the community. In some Virginia retirement communities, you’ll find fees broken out based on services. In others, you’ll pay just one monthly fee that’s all-inclusive. All-inclusive communities often look more expensive at first, but commonly help reduce costs over the long run.

No Burden of Home Ownership

It’s worth remembering that when you join an independent living community, you’re leaving behind a long list of homeownership costs including taxes, insurance, repairs, utilities, yard care, snow removal and more.

Many independent communities cover replacement costs and repairs for everything from damaged furniture to lightbulbs. Some, like Aspire at Belmont Bay, even insure your personal property like clothing or cell phones.

Such convenience has catapulted independent living communities into the fastest-growing housing sector for seniors in the last five years. These communities boasted 90 percent occupancy in 2019, far higher than that of other options like assisted living.

This is true even though the construction of these communities is growing at an exponential rate. There’s a seemingly endless demand for housing for healthy seniors that is affordable and secure.

Unparalleled Amenities at Aspire

Aspire at Belmont Bay offers exceptional retirement living similar to independent living for retirees who are looking for a luxury lifestyle at an affordable price. Our community is located near the confluence of two rivers in beautiful Woodbridge, Virginia. There’s easy access to all of the cultural and recreational activities in Northern Virginia and our community offers a range of apartments tailored to your lifestyle needs.

Enjoy amenities ranging from an in-house theater and spa to a dine-in restaurant and micro-garden greenhouse. Our scheduled transportation can transport you to nearby shopping at Potomac Mills and other locations. If you’re interested in seeing what’s available, check out our floor plans. Or, for more information about independent living in Virginia, contact us or download our free resource guide.

Contact Us

With all the decisions you need to make in choosing a retirement living community in Northern Virginia, we want to make sure you and your family have the information you need. Our team is here to answer your questions and help you compare senior living options in Woodbridge, VA and other areas throughout Belmont Bay and Virginia. Just let us know what we can help with and we’ll get in touch.

(571) 489-7070

1455 Old Bridge Road, Suite 105
Woodbridge, VA 22192

13875 Clear Lake Circle
Woodbridge, VA 22191

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