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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

Four Seasons at Gold Hill, Fort Mill, South Carolina

Outside of 13,000-acre Lake Wylie in northern South Carolina, Fort Mill is the site of Four Seasons at Gold Hill, an inviting 55+ community with single family homes, town homes, a nice clubhouse, a swimming pool, a garden, tennis courts, a putting green, a bounty of activities and more.

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Previous Community Reviews

Villages at Oak Tree, Mooresville, North Carolina

Mooresville is nestled on the banks of Lake Norman in western North Carolina and is the setting for the Villages at Oak Tree, a lush, quiet 55+ community with single family homes and town homes tucked amid trees, ponds and bridges with white hand rails.

Lighthouse Bay at the Brooks, Bonita Springs, Florida

Pretty Bonita Springs is on Florida's southwestern coast and is the location of Lighthouse Bay at The Brooks, a lakefront community with a private beach, five swimming pools, tennis courts, a nature preserve and low maintenance waterfront homes.

Sun City - Oro Valley, Oro Valley, Arizona

Outside of Tucson in southern Arizona, Oro Valley is the site of Sun City - Oro Valley, a large, settled 45+ community with single family homes, town homes, three recreation centers, a golf course, tennis courts, a good menu of activities and more.

Sunshine Country Club Estates, Harlingen, Texas

Deep in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, Harlingen is the setting for Sunshine Country Club Estates, a casual 55+ community with mobile/manufactured homes, site-built homes, a clubhouse, a 9-hole golf course, RV parking, planned activities and more.

Sweetwater, Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville is on the northeastern Florida coast and is the setting for Sweetwater, a handsome, gated 55+ community with single family homes, town homes, condos, a beautiful clubhouse, a putting green, tennis courts, an activities director and more.

La Cholla Hills, Tucson, Arizona

Tucson is in southern Arizona and the site of La Cholla Hills, an attractive, well-established 55+ community with single story, single family homes and town homes, two swimming pools, a nearby golf course and a bounty of events and activities.

The Villages Golf and Country Club, San Jose, California

About an hour southeast of San Francisco, San Jose is the site of The Villages Golf and Country Club, a large, established 55+ community with a dozen neighborhoods, two golf courses, four clubhouses, an equestrian facility, a good variety of home styles and more.

Gatherings at Wellington, Manassas, Virginia

About an hour outside of Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia, Manassas is the site of Gatherings at Wellington, a 55+ condominium community with a clubhouse, tennis courts, walking paths and neighborhood events.

Cedar Hammock, Naples, Florida

Beautiful Naples is on the southwestern Florida coast and is the setting for Cedar Hammock, a lovely master planned community with condos, single family homes, a golf course, an expansive clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, planned activities 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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