THE HOMES FOR
QUESTIONS TO ASK AS YOU LOOK AT ACTIVE ADULT HOUSING IN HOWARD COUNTY
►Are the streets large enough to allow passage of large vehicles like dump trucks, tow trucks, moving vans, and ambulances?
►What are the parking arrangements? Are the driveways long enough to hold at least one car?
►Is there enough space to safely and easily back out of my driveway without hitting other parked or moving cars?
►Is off-street parking easily accessible to my visitors?
►Are the streets owned by Howard County? If not, will the cost of snow removal be covered under the condo/homeowner’s fees?
►Are the entrances to the development clearly marked on major roads? When I leave the development, can traffic on the road clearly be seen when making right and left hand turns?
►Is the development providing transportation to nearby retail places or other places of attraction? If so, is that covered under my monthly fees?
►What is the traffic flow in the development? Does the development have roads that cut through the housing that might be used by non-residents to get from one major road to another?
►Are groceries, banking, shopping, senior centers, medical offices and other places I normally go nearby? What can I walk to?
►Is the development pedestrian-friendly? If I want to cross major roads on foot, are there sidewalks, stop signs, with clearly marked pedestrian crossings and other features for my safety?
►Are there pathways or sidewalks built into the development for exercise purposes?
Condominium or Homeowners’ Association
►Are the duties of the condominium or homeowners’ association available in writing for me to see prior to purchase?
►How will the association be run? How will I be able to play a role in it? What are the legal obligations?
►What’s covered under the condo or homeowners fees?
►Are the current fees sufficient to cover all the costs for the first full year of occupancy? What is the developer’s estimate of inflationary increases within the next three years?
Individual House Features
►Is there at least one way for me to enter my home without steps? Where is it – garage? Front door? From the deck?
►Was the developer required to provide a no-step entrance under the Universal Design Guidelines adopted by Howard County in 2002? If not, how can I have my home modified to have this convenient feature? What will my cost be?
►Will the builder install support bars in the bathroom if I request them before moving in? Are the walls in the bathroom fully blocked behind all walls so support bars can be put in any location I may need in the future?
►Is the flooring outside the shower/bath covered with a non-slip surface (other than a rug)?
General Living Areas
►If the ceilings are high, how will I paint or clean them? Will handyman services be readily available?
►Where is the smoke detector installed? If it is on a high ceiling, how will I change the batteries once a year as recommended by fire safety experts?
►Are outside and inside steps gradual enough to climb, even if I’m carrying heavy packages? If there are a long series of steps, do they have a “landing” in the middle?
►Are the windows easy to clean or will they require specialized equipment to reach or remove them?
►What features are standard and which are upgrades or custom? Is a list available that describes standard versus upgrade for my use when I look at the model units?
►Are the kitchen cabinets installed at a height easy for me to use for everyday use? For storage of items? Will I need a stepstool or other aid to use them?
►Will the refrigerator door open all the way out for easy cleaning, or is it blocked by cabinets and other fixed kitchen furniture?
►In my house, how can I arrange for the security alarms to be placed in more than one place, for easy use regardless of where I enter/exit the house? If multiple alarms are not available, will the contractor provide me with a remote?
►Are the appliances and other installed elements (e.g., security alarm pad) easy to use? Are the dials and buttons easy to use?
►Is there a clubhouse? Is it big enough for the community to gather for events such as homeowner elections, holiday events, etc?
Prepared by Howard County Office on Aging, based on comments from residents of Hickory Crest, Columbia, Maryland
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