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Today's Community Review
Georgetown is tucked in central Texas and is the setting for Sun City Texas, a large, gated 55+ community with three golf courses, a village center, a recreation center, workshops, classes, single family homes, town homes and more.
Previous Community Reviews
Chester sits on Kent Island in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and is the site of this beautiful waterfront 55+ community with single family homes, condominiums, a 24,000 square foot clubhouse and direct water access.
Clearwater sits on Florida's Gulf Coast and is the setting for Doral Village, a tropical 55+ cooperative with mobile/manufactured homes, a clubhouse, plenty of activities and sparkling Clearwater Beach just down the road.
Palm Desert is sheltered by mountains in south central California and is the site of Palm Desert Greens, a large, established 55+ manufactured home community with pastel-colored properties, golf course views, three swimming pools, a restaurant, tennis courts, more than 50 activity clubs and more.
Not too far from romantic Charleston, Summerville is the site of Cresswind, a lovely 55+ single family home community with a clubhouse, swimming pools and tennis courts, not to mention a restored farmhouse, an onsite YMCA, a coffeehouse, fishing ponds, live oaks and more.
On the shores of Charlotte Harbor in southwestern Florida, Punta Gorda is the site of Windmill Village, a gated, low key 55+ community with manufactured homes, a waterfront setting, a marina and direct water access.
Outside of Phoenix in southern Arizona, Goodyear is the setting for PebbleCreek, a large 55+ community with single family homes and patio homes. Amenities include two lush golf courses, tennis courts, an aquatic center, a Lifelong Learning program and much more.
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.
Lake Placid is in central Florida and is the setting for Covered Bridge, a friendly 55+ community with manufactured homes and new block construction homes. Amenities include a clubhouse, heated swimming pool, tennis courts and a boat dock with canal access to several nearby lakes.
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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