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retirement communities retire

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"It will be our faces you see, not our backs." ~Volodymyr Zelensky

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Today's Community Review

Myrtle Trace, Conway, South Carolina

Conway is outside of Myrtle Beach on the northern South Carolina coast and is the setting for Myrtle Trace, an established 55+ community with single family homes, mature landscaping, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, planned activities and more.

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Previous Community Reviews

Ironwood, Casa Grande, Arizona

Casa Grande is in southern Arizona and is the setting for Ironwood Village, a gated 55+ duplex community with single level homes, Mediterranean architecture, a clubhouse, a resort style swimming pool, a croquet lawn and more.

Barefoot Bay, Micco/Sebastian/Barefoot Bay, Florida

On Florida's southeastern coast, Sebastian is the site of Barefoot Bay, a large, settled manufactured/mobile home community popular with baby boomers, retirees and "snowbirds." It has a golf course, RV storage, lakeside swimming pools, a fishing pier and more.

Riverwind, Etowah/Hendersonville, North Carolina

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Etowah is the site of Riverwind, an attractive 55+ manufactured home community with tree lined streets, two clubhouses, RV parking pretty views and more. Pets are welcome.

Port Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Florida

Across from Tampa and about a mile from white sand Gulf Coast beaches, Port Belleair is an established 55+ condo community with a heated pool, a community center and water views.

Surfside Beach Club, Surfside Beach, South Carolina

Surfside Beach is a mellow town on the northern South Carolina coast and is the site of Surfside Beach Club, a gated community popular with baby boomers. It has a nice clubhouse, a plethora of activities and single family homes, many of which back to water.

Country Place, Pearland, Texas

Outside of Houston, near the Texas Gulf Coast, Pearland is the location of Country Place, a soothing, settled 55+ community with an 18 hole golf course, a carriage house clubhouse, single family homes and town homes.

The Colony, Murrieta, California

Outside of San Diego in sunny Southern California, Murrieta is the site of The Colony, a large, settled 55+ community with Mediterranean-style homes, an 18 hole golf course, a nice clubhouse, walking trails, lakes, a good menu of events, groups and activities and more.

Little Manatee Springs, Wimauma, Florida

Wimauma is about 20 miles inland from Florida's Gulf Coast and is the setting for Little Manatee Springs, a pretty 55+ manufactured home community nearly surrounded by Little Manatee River State Park. It has gated access, palm trees, spring-fed lakes, a nine hole golf course, covered RV parking, nature trails and more.

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Communities by State

Alabama   Arizona   California   Colorado   Delaware   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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