What Are Entrance Fees for Retirement Communities?

With all the retirement community options available, you’ve got choices to meet your every wish or expectation. But choose your new home carefully; not all retirement living options are the same. Consider the differences and what they can mean for your future.

A Life Plan Community, also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), not only offers the active, maintenance-free, independent lifestyle you want today, but it also offers a continuum of care designed to address your needs as you age. That’s peace of mind you won’t find living at home.

With most Life Plan Communities, you can expect two financial components: the entrance fee and the monthly fee.

What Is an Entrance Fee?

The entrance fee is a one-time payment you make prior to moving in. Entrance fees at retirement communities are based on the size of the residence chosen, the number of people living there, and the contract type.

According to AARP, entrance fee amounts can range from $40,000 to over $2 million. The cost typically reflects the prices of homes in the area.

There are other factors to consider, including potential tax benefits. In some Life Plan Communities, there may be entrance fee tax deductions you can take. In a LifeCare® Community, you may deduct a portion of the entry fee paid in the first year and a portion of the monthly fees paid each year. These are considered prepaid medical expenses. Your accountant or financial advisor can provide you with eligibility based on your individual portfolio.

At Sandhill Cove, a LifeCare Community in Palm City, Florida, the entrance fee starts at $203,940 and covers your LifeCare contract*, ensuring you have seamless access to higher levels of care if your needs change – as well as the tax deductions. Health care services offered at the community include assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation, respite care, and skilled nursing. Most significantly, care is delivered at predictable monthly fees that offer protection from rising senior care costs, financial predictability, and asset preservation.

Is the Entrance Fee Refundable?

The simple answer? It depends. Life Plan Communities may offer refundable entrance fees or non-refundable entrance fees. There are pros and cons to each. Read below to find out more!

  • Refundable Entrance Fee

Pro: With a refundable entrance fee, a portion of the fee can be returned to the resident if they choose to move or to their estate if they pass away. For example, Sandhill Cove offers the choice of a 10% or a 75% return-of-capital plan.

Con: A higher refundable rate requires a higher entrance fee.

  • Non-refundable Entrance Fee

Pro: The entrance fee is significantly lower.

Con: Money is not returned to the resident if they choose to move or to their estate if they pass away.

What Is a Monthly Fee?

A monthly fee covers the services and amenities offered at the community.

Services typically included in the monthly fee:

  • All interior and exterior home maintenance
  • Weekly housekeeping and flat linen service
  • Utilities
  • Scheduled transportation for shopping, appointments, and other outings
  • Concierge assistance
  • 24-hour security and emergency response system

Amenities typically included in the monthly fee:

  • Multiple dining venues and a flexible meal plan
  • Access to the fitness center, outdoor  swimming pool and whirlpool
  • Planned events and special activities
  • Use of all community spaces, including walking and biking areas, waterfront croquet and putting and chipping, an art and craft studio, a cards and game room, shuffleboard, a salon, a library, an auditorium, and more

For many seniors, a Life Plan Community makes financial sense. Not only do your entrance fee and monthly fee secure your residence of choice, a variety of services and amenities, and access to a continuum of care, but residency also may cost less than homeownership – with fewer hassles and headaches and more peace of mind

Consider the costs of living in your home. Your mortgage (if you still have one), property taxes, home insurance; home maintenance, upkeep, and repairs; utilities, cable TV, and Wi-Fi; gym membership, lawn care, security, groceries, and more, can really add up. Compare that total with your monthly fee at a Life Plan Community. For example, the monthly fee at Sandhill Cove starts at $4,872. Now consider the value added by the freedom provided in such a community. For many, that monthly fee becomes very reasonable.

What Are the Types of Community Contracts?

Most communities will offer one or more of the following types of contracts:

Type A LifeCare®: This type includes housing, residential services, amenities, and unlimited health-related services with a minimal annual increase. Residents will pay roughly the same monthly fee regardless of the level of care required. This option offers financial predictability.

Type B Modified Plan: This option includes housing, residential services, amenities, and a limited amount of health care services. After free health care is exhausted, a modest discount is applied to additional services. Typically, this plan has a lower entrance fee and monthly service fee than a Type A contract.

Type C Fee-for-Service: This option includes housing, residential services, and amenities; health care services are not included. Residents may have priority access to health care services but will pay market rates for care. Typically, this plan offers the lowest entrance fee.

Rental: A rental agreement does not require an entrance fee. The community may offer care; if so, it is delivered at market rates.

Explore the Value of a Life Plan Community

Are you considering making the move to senior living? Explore Sandhill CoveCall us today or contact us on our website. Visit and discover the value and peace of mind offered with LifeCare® and see all the great services and amenities offered in our community.

*See contract for details.