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  • Robert Gaines

The path to investing in a seniors housing community

The development of a seniors housing community for Independent Living and Assisted Living with Memory Care is in great demand across the country. Today, nationally, there are 54 million people over the age of 65; eventually, half will require specialized assistance with daily living activities to serious medical management for chronic end of life illnesses.

Alzheimer’s or dementia diseases will affect 33% of those seniors needing specialized assistance and will require further supervision

1. Currently, less than 4 million beds in independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing are available to support these persons, according to the Alzheimer’s Association

1. This industry is expected to continue to grow significantly over the next 35 years

2, thereby creating a demand that cannot be met. There are four main methods to invest in the senior housing industry. The investment or return is dependent upon the risk. 1. Investing in a public company that specifically operates within the senior housing industry. This involves the lowest amount of risk

2. Investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that invests its capital in the senior housing industry.

3. Investing in a private equity group that owns several senior housing facilities.

4. Investing in a specific facility as a land owner or with the operator, or both. This method involves the highest amount of risk. When developing a seniors housing community, it is critical to research the particular location of the proposed facility to determine if the market can afford, and support, another successful facility.Once a location has been determined, the following process should be implemented.

1) Determine the primary marketing area for the community based on the density of population of those who are financially qualified.

2) Market to the adult children because they are involved in the decision making process.

3) The number of financially qualified adult children should be twice the number of financially qualified prosective residents.

4) Perform a definitive analysis of the proposed facility’s competition to determine the number and type of beds/units that should be built for a successful operation.

5) Solicit a financially creditable and operationally successful health care operator to manage the facility. Having an effective health care operator is as important to the success of the facility as is having the legal right to build the facility.

6) Obtain the required permits for a special exception to build a seniors housing community. These may vary depending on the county. Requirements to obtain a permit include:

> A rough development plan

> A conceptual plan of the exterior and interior of the facility

>Public community meetings explaining the need for such a community and how it will affect the neighborhood

> A public hearing before a representative of the county government who will approve the use and grant the special exception

7) Maintain a current conceptual plan. Health care operators will have plans of buildings that they favor. Therefore, conceptual drawings that are produced to get the county’s approval will not be wasted because the approval establishes a right and a general footprint for building purposes.

8) Determine various financial structures of development in which the health care operator can participate.

> Purchase the land and develop the property

> Joint venture the development and building with the land owner and lease the building from the joint venture.

> Request the land owner construct the building and lease the building from the land owner.

> Joint venture the development and the building and the health care operation.

9) Use professionals in the senior housing industry who know the health care operators and the future needs.

10) Determine the return on investment based on capitalization rates.

> Capitalization rates range from 6% to 11% depending on the size of the facility

> Independent living - rates from 6% to 8%

> Assisted living - rates from 6.5% to 9%

> Skilled nursing - rates from 8.5% to 11%

11) Analyze the site to determine the value health care operators will pay for raw land.General values will be between $5,000 per proposed bed to $30,000 per bed depending on the site amenties and location.

12) The size of facilities will vary depending on whether the proposed community contains Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing or a combination of these lifestyles.Investing in, or developing, a seniors housing community offers a number of rewarding opportunites in an industry that will continue to grow at a significant rate for many years.

1 Alzheimer’s Association -

2. National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) - www.nic.orgInternational|Philadelphia.

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