"It will be our faces you see, not our backs." ~Volodymyr Zelensky
Today's Community Review
On the northeastern Florida coast, Ormond Beach is the setting for Halifax Plantation, a large, lush community with town homes, single family homes, a spacious clubhouse, a golf course, planned events and oceanfront beaches 10 minutes away.
Previous Community Reviews
In central New Jersey, Monroe Township is the setting for Rossmoor Village, a large 55+ community with a New England village look. It has condos, co-ops and a few single homes in 18 neighborhoods. Amenities include a golf course, a 30,000 square foot clubhouse, more than 50 activity groups and more.
Ocala is in north central Florida's horse country and is the setting for Falls of Ocala, a mellow, modest 55+ manufactured home community with a recreation center, a swimming pool, planned activities, reasonable HOA fees and more.
Outside of Nashville in north central Tennessee, Lake Providence is a gated, 55+ community with single family homes, town homes, a 15-acre lake and a wide range of amenities, clubs and activities.
Jensen Beach is a nice town on the southeastern Florida coast and is the site of Pinelake Village, a family-owned 55+ manufactured/mobile home community. Tropical and well-kept, it has a nice clubhouse, stocked lakes, a swimming pool and plenty of activities to keep residents active and engaged.
Charlotte is in southwestern North Carolina and is the setting for The Vineyards on Lake Wylie, a waterfront community with town homes and single family homes. Amenities include a private dock and an attractive clubhouse.
Clearwater is on Florida's Gulf Coast and is the site of Harbor Oaks Place, a 55+ condominium community with a swimming pool, a spa, planned activities and more.
Silver Spring is in western Maryland and is the setting for 55+ Leisure World, one of nation's first retirement communities. It has a wide range of home styles and prices, not to mention a golf course, swimming pools, restaurants, a plethora of activities and classes and more.
Age Restricted Communities 101
The kids have moved out. They have launched themselves into a career, parenthood, home ownership. You decide it's time to downsize. But how? Into where? You're still healthy, active. You're not ready for a continuing care community. The decision can be daunting.
A 55-plus or active-adult community is one option. The only legal exception to non-discriminatory fair housing laws, an age restricted community is run by a homeowners association that offers some exterior maintenance and amenities to its members. Amenities could include a private golf course, sizable clubhouse, 24/7 security, or transportation to and from local hospitals or shopping malls. Housing in such a community can range from modest condominiums to attached homes to luxury estates.
How will you decide? Are you ready for the time it might take? Demand for homes in active-adult communities is on the rise. You'll be competing against other baby boomers, maybe even some Gen-Xers. Start your research a few years before your retirement date. Find a real estate agent that specializes in master-planned communities or senior home purchases. The National Association of Realtors does offer training and certification for senior specialists.
Look at the location. Does it have the right weather? Is it close enough to family? Is downtown too far away or not far away enough? Will you have acclimate? What are local taxes like? Check out the neighbors. Are these the people you want to age with? Make sure you know what services might be available for you as you age. Is your 55-plus community near a hospital, a grocery store, a bank, a pharmacy? Can they get you to the hospital and grocery store once you decide you no longer want to drive? Maybe the community offers grocery delivery? Are there senior fitness classes, personal trainers?
Be sure you understand what amenities you are paying for. Some communities require that you buy an equity membership or hide the cost of that lap pool and golf course in high HOA fees. Inspect your prospective community's activity calendar. Does it have the right mix of leisure and lecture? Are there too many card tournaments and not enough day trips? Do you hate golf, need 39 shuffleboard courts? Is there an activities director?
Understand your prospective HOA. How long is the list of restrictions? Do the board politics give you pause? Will they force you through a long approval process? Will they ask you for bank records and references?
Investigate the community's financials. Are they solvent? How well did they weather the crisis when the housing bubble burst in 2008? And what about the builder? How long have they worked for seniors? Do they understand aging in place? Do they understand the need for zero step entries, wider hallways? Or have they just gotten into the game? Del Webb is credited with inventing the age-restricted community. Keep your eye on what they're building. Other companies to watch are Lennar, Shea, and Taylor Morrison.
Remember, you're not just buying a new house. You're buying a new way of life.
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