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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

Winding River, St. Marys, Georgia

Mellow St. Marys is on Georgia's southern coast and is the site of Winding River, a beautiful single family home community popular with empty nesters and baby boomers. Amenities include a handsome clubhouse, a zero-entry pool, nature trails, lakes and marsh views.

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Previous Community Reviews

Seabrook Island, Seabrook Island, South Carolina

On one of South Carolina's Sea Islands, Seabrook Island is a seductive oceanfront community with single family homes, condominiums, moss draped trees, two golf courses, waterfront dining, a private beach, a deep water marina and much more.

Bent Tree Villas East, Boynton Beach, Florida

Boynton Beach is on the southeastern Florida coast and is the location of Bent Tree Villas East, a colorful, settled 55+ attached home community with tropical landscaping, a clubhouse, a pool, walking paths, activity groups and more.

Cypress Falls at the Woodlands, North Port, Florida

North Port, possibly home to the Fountain of Youth, is on the Florida Gulf Coast and is the location of Cypress Falls at the Woodlands, a gated 55+ community with Mediterranean style town homes, single family homes, a dog park, a putting green, a large clubhouse, gardening plots and more.

Pecan Plantation, Granbury, Texas

Outside of Fort Worth in north central Texas, Granbury is the location of Pecan Plantation, a large community with single family homes, tall trees, river access, a golf course, a marina, a dog park, an air park, a village center and more.

Champions' Club, Magnolia, Delaware

Magnolia is in central Delaware, about six miles from the beach, and is the site of Champions' Club, an appealing 55+ community with single family homes, a nicely appointed clubhouse, a swimming pool, an active social calendar and more.

La Casa del Sol, Davenport, Florida

In central Florida, Davenport is home to La Casa del Sol, a casual, cozy 55+ rental cottage community tucked beneath tall trees next to a lake. Amenities include a putting green and a clubhouse. Activities are many, and major theme parks are just down the road.

Rarity Bay, Vonore, Tennessee

Vonore is in rolling East Tennessee and is the setting for Rarity Bay, a waterfront community that caters to empty nesters and retirees. Single family homes and condominiums come in a wide price range, and amenities include boat docks, an equestrian center, riding trails, a tennis and swim club, a golf course and much more.

Spruce Creek South, Summerfield, Florida

Near Orlando in north central Florida, Summerfield is the location of Spruce Creek South, a gated, mellow 55+ single family home community. Amenities include a golf course, tennis courts, RV storage, a clubhouse and more.

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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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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