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retirement communities retire

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"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see." ~Winston Churchill

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Today's Community Review

Riverwood Golf and Country Club, Port Charlotte, Florida

On the southwestern Florida coast, Port Charlotte is home to Rivewood Golf and Country Club, an amenity-rich community with tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, a dog park, a private beach club, a junior Olympic-size pool, nature preserves and more.

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Previous Community Reviews

Rossmoor, Monroe Township, New Jersey

In central New Jersey, Monroe Township is the setting for Rossmoor Village, a large 55+ community with a New England village look about it. 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.

Crowfields, Asheville, North Carolina

In rolling western North Carolina, funky, trendy Asheville is the site of Crowfields, an intimate, established 55+ condominium and town home community with spacious floor plans and a park-like setting.

Villages of Royal Palm, Port Orange, Florida

Five miles down the road from Daytona Beach's 23 miles of white oceanfront sand, Port Orange is on Florida's northeastern coast and is the setting for Villages of Royal Palm, a tropical single family home and town home community that markets to empty nesters and baby boomers. Amenities include swimming pools, tennis courts, putting greens and more.

Sundance Meadows, Nine Mile Falls, Washington

Outside of Spokane in eastern Washington, Nine Mile Falls is the site of Sundance Meadows, an attractive 55+ manufactured home community with a pretty setting, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, RV and boat storage, a nearby golf course, mountain views and more.

Fripp Island Resort, Fripp Island, South Carolina

Of the southern South Carolina coast, beautiful Fripp Island is a barrier island and home to Fripp Island Resort, a soothing seaside community with lovely homes, two championship golf courses, a deep water marina, tennis courts and three and a half miles of oceanfront beach.

Sun Lakes, Sun Lakes, Arizona

Outside of Chandler, which is outside of Phoenix, Sun Lakes is a large, established 55+ community. Its five neighhorhoods have a variety of housing, everything from single family residences and town houses to manufactured homes. A rich menu of amenities includes five clubhouses, seven golf courses, swimming pools, planned activities and more.

Windmill Village, Punta Gorda, Florida

On the shores of Charlotte Harbor in southwestern Florida, Punta Gorda is the site of Windmill Village, a gated 55+ community with manufactured homes, a waterfront setting, a marina and direct water access.

Diamondhead, Hot Springs, Arkansas

In lush central Arkansas, Hot Springs is the setting for Diamondhead Resort, an all ages lakeside community popular with baby boomers. Amenities include a golf course, tennis courts, a marina and more. Home prices span a wide range.

North River Estates, Ellenton, Florida

Ellenton is on Florida's Gulf Coast and is the location of North River Estates, an inviting 55+ manufactured home community with pastel-colored homes, well maintained grounds, a nice clubhouse, an outdoor heated swimming pool and more.

Lakeside at Tessera on Travis Lake, Lago Vista, Texas

Lago Vista sits along 19,000-acre Lake Travis about 20 minutes outside of Austin in the Texas Hill Country and is a master planned community with brick single family homes, a beach, a waterfall edge pool, a boat launch and more.

Bayside, Selbyville, Delaware

Selbyville is in southeastern Delaware and is the setting for Bayside, a lovely resort community overlooking a bay. Homes feature coastal architecture, and amenities include a golf course, swimming pools, a waterfront area and much more. Oceanfront beaches are four miles away.

Royal Stewart Arms, Dunedin, Florida

Lovely Dunedin sits on Florida's Gulf Coast and is the site of Royal Stewart Arms, a waterfront 55+ condominium community on a strip of land that juts into the Gulf of Mexico. Amenities include a clubhouse, a heated swimming pool with ocean views and more.

Carriage Park, Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville is a touristy small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and is the site of Carriage Park, a lush, secluded mountaintop community with town homes, single family homes, a lake and incredible views.

Halifax Plantation, Ormond Beach, Florida

On the northeastern Florida coast, Ormond Beach is the setting for Halifax Plantation, a large, lush community with town homes, single family homes, spacious clubhouse, a golf course, planned events and oceanfront beaches five minutes away.

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Communities by State

Alabama   Arizona   California   Colorado   Florida   Georgia   Nevada   North Carolina   Oregon   South Carolina   Tennessee   Texas   Virginia   Washington  

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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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