Weekly Edition ~ April 26, 2019
"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." ~Henry David Thoreau
This Week's Community Review:
Outside of Phoenix in southern Arizona, Mesa is the location of Greenfield Glen, an established 55+ community with single story, Mediterranean-style condominiums, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a spa, quiet streets and an active activities calendar.
Previous Weekly Reviews:
On the eastern Florida coast, Melbourne is the site of Alamanda Key, a Key West-inspired 55+ community with single level, single family homes and duplexes. Amenities include two lakes and an "island-style" clubhouse.
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.
Blairsville is in pretty northern Georgia and is the setting for Lakeside Village, an established 55+ waterfront community with a marina, a nice clubhouse, RV parking, planned activities and single family homes tucked in the woods.
Located in central North Carolina, not far from Duke University, lovely 55+ Creekside at Bethpage is part of a larger mixed use development. Colorful single family homes and town homes are for sale, and amenities include a swimming pool, tennis courts and a community garden.
In southeastern Florida, Tamarac is the setting for Kings Point, a large, established 55+ community with condos, town homes, coach homes, 12 swimming pools, five tennis courts, two clubhouses, a theater, a bounty of activity groups and more. The community abuts Everglades National Park.
Powder Springs is in northwestern Georgia, about 30 miles from downtown Atlanta, and is the site of Bel-Aire, a stylish 55+ community with single family homes, quiet lanes, a clubhouse, a neighborhood garden, a dog park and more.
Along the northern South Carolina coast, charming Murrells Inlet is the site of Spring Forest, a comfortable, wooded 55+ community with single family homes, nearly all of which back to a shallow canal or forested area. Amenities include a nice clubhouse, a swimming pool, RV parking and a good menu of social events. HOA fees are reasonable, too.
Tucson is in southern Arizona and is the setting for The Academy Village/Altura, a 55+ community with Southwestern style single family homes and town homes amidst an abundance of open space. Amenities include The Arizona Senior Academy, a life long learning organization with a bounty of trips, classes, symposiums and lectures.
Just north of Clearwater on Florida's central Gulf Coast, Dunedin is a nice city and home to Edgewater Arms, an established 55+ condominium community with water views, a large heated swimming pool, two piers, am adjacent marina and more.
Calabash sits near the mouth of the quiet, crook-necked Calabash River in southeastern North Carolina and is the setting for Brunswick Plantation, an age-targeted resort community with condominums, town homes and single homes, most with golf course or lake views. Residents enjoy 27 holes of golf, seven swimming pools, five clubhouses and more.
Comfortable Schertz is outside of San Antonio in south central Texas and is the site of Scenic Hills, a leafy, settled 55+ community with a manned entry gate, brick single family homes, a nice lodge, RV and boat storage and a bounty of groups and activities.
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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