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Old 09-22-2009, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Southern Maryland
124 posts, read 237,127 times
Reputation: 126

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Hi....I've been super busy these last few weeks trying to sell some homes here in Southern Maryland (and a few are selling although usually considerably less than the sellers had hoped for!) before the end of the $8,000 tax credit. We're leaving Thursday for a week's visit to my daughter in Old Saybrook, CT, her husband and two month old baby boy. She's a Coast Guard officer, stationed at the Academy in New London, CT, and I'm going to help her with the baby this weekend - it's their annual Parents Weekend and her Company is in charge. Plus they are settling on their first home Thursday and it needs some work before they can move in. On Thursday, Oct. 1, we'll be pulling our 5th wheel down to camp @the FamCamp @ Dover AFB and staying a couple of nights. We plan to do two days of intense looking at some 55+ communities. On our list to see (in no particular order) are: Wild Meadows, Noble's Pond, Planter's Run, Fieldstone Village, Barclay Farm, Bon Ayre, and Southern Meadow. If anyone has anything to recommend about any of these I'd love to learn from you. Or if I missed any communities that are under $200,000 please make a suggesion. We're excited to see and "gather information" about these communities.
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:33 AM
 
35 posts, read 92,550 times
Reputation: 42
Default Southern Meadows Impressions

ElizaMary asked sometime ago what we thought when we visited SM and I apologize for not answering sooner. We have spent almost every weekend in DE or NJ looking at homes, so I am behind on responding to people.

We thought SM was nicer than the other m/h communities we have looked at in DE, but we're not sure where to place it on our list. The homes were much larger than we expected and seemed to be a good value for the money. We were very impressed with the design and build quality of the models and the one resale home we looked at. We did not like the idea of the older homesite (which also appeared to be some sort of business) that was "grandfathered in" near the entrance, but we could overlook that I suppose. At least SM is not directly under the flight path for Dover AFB like Champion's Club is. Several planes landed while we visited SM, so we were able to see that the flight path is off to the east. And, no, I have no objection to the Air Force -- in fact, I retired from the Air Force several years ago. We spent enough years living on Air Force bases, though, and do not want to live under a flight path again.

We have visited Magnolia several times because we got close to writing a contract in Champion's Club at one point. Magnolia, frankly, doesn't thrill us. We don't mind a small town, but Magnolia is practically nonexistent. I am an author, photographer, and stained glass artist and my wife and I both enjoy classical music concerts. I know Dover is not too far away, but that part of DE doesn't appear to offer the cultural activities we are looking for.

Bottom line? SM is still on the list, but we still can't decide where it is on the list. We have been looking extensively in NJ at resale 55+ homes over the last few weeks and have found some good values due to the market. The downside there is almost every home is an estate sale and we can't get a seller's disclosure because the estate executor never lived in the house and can't legally -- or with any real honesty or knowledge -- sign the disclosure. We're not thrilled with buying 25+ year old homes, even in a 55+ community, without a seller's disclosure.

Regards from Southern Maryland, Frank
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:54 AM
 
19,922 posts, read 9,977,694 times
Reputation: 27341
Southern Meadows is still on our list as well. There are some definite plusses and minuses.

On the plus side, the value is certainly there. For manufactured homes, they are quite well done and as you said, larger than expected. The two car garage is a nice feature and the presence of an activity director is a good thing ... and they do seem to have worked out the activity issues quite nicely. Also, having someone like Elizamary there is definitely a plus!

On the minus side, the community is small. 92 homes or so. With a smaller community, if there are any problem-type people, they would have a greater impact on a smaller community than one like Roesville where there will be over 400. Also, the pool and clubhouse are both pretty small. The clubouse is beautiful, but small. There are a few missing amenities that other places have, including a putting green, bocce court, horseshoes, shuffleboard, basketball, tennis, etc.

With all that being said - they are still on our list. Roesville is first choice at the moment - but conditions are always changing and we are actively monitoring everything.
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:18 AM
 
60 posts, read 176,880 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SerenityWriter View Post
Bottom line? SM is still on the list, but we still can't decide where it is on the list. We have been looking extensively in NJ at resale 55+ homes over the last few weeks and have found some good values due to the market. The downside there is almost every home is an estate sale and we can't get a seller's disclosure because the estate executor never lived in the house and can't legally -- or with any real honesty or knowledge -- sign the disclosure. We're not thrilled with buying 25+ year old homes, even in a 55+ community, without a seller's disclosure.

Regards from Southern Maryland, Frank
Where have you been looking in NJ? We are also considering southern Jersey. Our biggest problem is taxes. We pay almost $11k a year now in northern Jersey and southern Jersey doesn't look like it's all that much cheaper. Same thing with some places we looked at in PA. Taxes on one community was close to $7K and the HOA's were around $200/month. That puts us almost where we are now. We're trying to live cheaper - not higher on the hog! (wish we could) sigh...
Every place has it's pluses and minuses - decisions, decisions...
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Kent County, DE
693 posts, read 2,613,435 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SerenityWriter View Post
At least SM is not directly under the flight path for Dover AFB like Champion's Club is. Several planes landed while we visited SM, so we were able to see that the flight path is off to the east. And, no, I have no objection to the Air Force -- in fact, I retired from the Air Force several years ago. We spent enough years living on Air Force bases, though, and do not want to live under a flight path again.


Regards from Southern Maryland, Frank
Just one correction for the folks who might be interested in Champions Club. We live in the family community of Jonathan's Landing. The flight path is over the golf course to the East and is not directly over the homes. So if you feel noise might be a factor, you should live closer to the clubhouse and not near the golfcourse. The planes don't bother us, we actually enjoy them.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:19 AM
 
16,199 posts, read 10,551,020 times
Reputation: 28844
Hello DE from Maine.

Serenity writer......glad you liked SM and too bad I missed you when you visited.

SM is a very nice community but with any community there will always be plus and minus.
Got to find out what is right for you and what is IMPORTANT to you personal needs and desires.

Charley....you are so sweet and thank you!!! I know SM will have a big plus if you decided to move here.

You have a good point about a small community with problem people. The are noticed more in a small community but their everywhere and don't think for one moment they aren't. Thats just life.
One thing with a small community and we have been very luck to have met some wonderful people who are not only very good friends but also like family.
there are other communities I hear about that are large where people can get lost because of so many cliches'

Even at our age.....we are still learning the ins and outs of getting along with difficult people.

Mr Em and I find Magnolia a charming town that is very rural and quiet....just the way we like it. Coming from a bustling city.....this is a dream come true.

The clubhouse and pool is too small charley. We are all finding that out now.
the management of SM is also finding this out and says that can always be made larger. I'm sure they have plans in the future to extend the clubhouse and possibly the pool. Not definate but I know they will have to do something eventually.
And we do have horseshoes which started this year.
Bocce court has also been thought of.
Don't think many residents are interested in shuffleboard?
Tennis would nice and that is a possibilty for the future.
Putting green no.....don't think that will ever materialize.

Rorys..decision, decisions......big major decisions not to be taken lightly.

I just wish everyone the best in finding the right community for you personal needs and wants along with being as happy and Mr Em and I are in our retirement years.

Now off to barharbah Maine......for 5 days of fun in beautiful maine.








Quote:
Originally Posted by rorys View Post
Where have you been looking in NJ? We are also considering southern Jersey. Our biggest problem is taxes. We pay almost $11k a year now in northern Jersey and southern Jersey doesn't look like it's all that much cheaper. Same thing with some places we looked at in PA. Taxes on one community was close to $7K and the HOA's were around $200/month. That puts us almost where we are now. We're trying to live cheaper - not higher on the hog! (wish we could) sigh...
Every place has it's pluses and minuses - decisions, decisions...
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Old 09-24-2009, 09:18 AM
 
60 posts, read 176,880 times
Reputation: 36
It is truly a huge decision, especially moving to another state. I am so afraid of making the wrong decision, uprooting and moving and then regretting it. My husband is afraid that the 55+ communities will be "Fred & Ethel Mertz" like, with neighbors dropping in and expecting everyone to be "buddies". I've tried to convince him that people are so involved in their own lives now and have different interests that take them in other directions and it won't be like that. His biggest fear is "what if we move to Delaware and I hate it?". I don't know how to respond to that question and it's one that's actually in the back of my mind too. They say moving is one of the most traumatic things you can go through (I think behind death and divorce). I think if we move and he's unhappy, I may actually go through the first 2, as well.
I've explained that we just cannot afford to retire here in NJ and live the lifestyle that we've had so far. Believe me, it's not extravagant, but we do go out to dinner occasionally and we take a very nice vacation every year, with a couple weekend treks. We're both currently in sales and things have been extremely slow, so we have cut back where we can now and that's before we even retire!!
I guess you can sense my frustration... like I said before, decisions, decisions...
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:16 PM
 
16,199 posts, read 10,551,020 times
Reputation: 28844
Quote:
Originally Posted by rorys View Post
It is truly a huge decision, especially moving to another state. I am so afraid of making the wrong decision, uprooting and moving and then regretting it. My husband is afraid that the 55+ communities will be "Fred & Ethel Mertz" like, with neighbors dropping in and expecting everyone to be "buddies". I've tried to convince him that people are so involved in their own lives now and have different interests that take them in other directions and it won't be like that. His biggest fear is "what if we move to Delaware and I hate it?". I don't know how to respond to that question and it's one that's actually in the back of my mind too. They say moving is one of the most traumatic things you can go through (I think behind death and divorce). I think if we move and he's unhappy, I may actually go through the first 2, as well.
I've explained that we just cannot afford to retire here in NJ and live the lifestyle that we've had so far. Believe me, it's not extravagant, but we do go out to dinner occasionally and we take a very nice vacation every year, with a couple weekend treks. We're both currently in sales and things have been extremely slow, so we have cut back where we can now and that's before we even retire!!
I guess you can sense my frustration... like I said before, decisions, decisions...
Rorys.....I certainly can sense your frustrations and anxiety. We took 2 years to make up our minds really weighing everything.

One thing.....We always new we wanted community living but don't welcome drop bys all the time.
We had one lady that would drop by unannouced but I finally had to ask her to call first cuz I couldn't handle this everyday stuff. Just have to tell the people or don't answere the door.
There is not much of that. Once in a blue moon someone may stop by but it's not a daily occurrence anymore.
We finally decided on DE because we don't have a lot of money either but wanted to be able to do a movie, show, day trip to the beach, lunch or dinner with a vacation once or twice a year.
Being on a fixed income with no money invested......NJ was out for us. One of the most expensive states to live in for a retiree.....IMHO!!

After much soul searching, we decided on DE because it is affordable. Then the trick was to find a community that had all the amenities we wanted such as a pool, gym and activies such as card games, parties, book club, bingo and so on.
We didn't want a large community and SM suited us fine with 104 homes.

The homes are manufactured but don't look like manufactured homes cuz the build a two car garage on site.
They are really quite charming and nice but most of all affordable.
That is why we finally made a decsion to move there.

I would suggest a visit to De for about a week. Check out the area and visit all the communities De has to offer. Talk to the residents and ask a zillion questions.

When I first heard Delaware....I said oh gosh...why would I want to move to de.
Well the answer is simple.....affordable and we love it with NO regrets.

Good luck and take your time.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Long Island, New York
144 posts, read 325,488 times
Reputation: 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizamary View Post
When we moved to SM..our activities director was just getting started. We were a young community with only 6 residents.
First DH and I were getting settled finding out what Kent county had to offer, searching for stores and restaurants and venturing out as far as VA, MD and Southern DE.
We discovered a lot from this experience.
Then lo and behold...we started to make friends. all the people that moved there were from out of state.
We have made very good friends and feel like they are family now.
the activities took a turn for the better with residents getting involved with many wonderful ideas on trips, shows, bowling, movies, dinners, lunches, games and pool parties.
There is not enough hours in the day for us.

We were very lucky.......this has been a most positive experience and wish this for everyone who ventures out and makes that bold move to another state.

Yes, I can tell that you've had a positive outcome. Of course everyone would like it to be that way and with effort on all the new residents from all over slowy moving in and activities developing it can turn out to be great.
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Old 09-30-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Delaware
388 posts, read 850,659 times
Reputation: 348
Default reviews of some communities - LONG!

Hello everyone, thank you for being patient as we just returned home this afternoon. Our week in DE was very eye-opening and I hope you enjoy my reviews. Comment on them, please!

ROESVILLE - this community is in its infancy, with only 6 homes currently occupied. The setting is beautiful, very rural and quiet. The home plans are well thought out, especially liked the internet center in some of the models - plenty of shelving for all the electronic doodads in our lives. The homes are neither stick nor modular per se but were referred to as "panelized", a combination of both types of construction. We were quoted 4-5 months to complete a home. The air ducts are on the upper walls by the ceiling, cold air return down near the baseboards. The place really seemed like a ghost town. Despite it being a warm and sunny day, we saw no life except for one white terrier dog looking at us from his front door. We were told that the clubhouse would not be started until Sept 2010, a real bummer for those living there now or considering a move shortly. Shari, the woman showing us around, said they are considering offering low-cost memberships to the Milford Boys and Girls Club to use their gym and pool facilities. HOA fees are currently $106. A lovely place although it slipped a bit in our ratings due to no clubhouse and its relative distance from food stores. We asked for and received an options list. Did not like the rule of their building the houses progressively down a street, meaning no choice as to location - when you buy, you go into the next available slot.

CHAMPIONS' CLUB - there are 27 occupied homes in this plan abutting the all-age Jonathan's Landing plan. There is a large swatch of meadow-like grasses separating the two plans but childrens' yard toys (read: noise)were plainly visible. The models were fantastic and Ed, the sales manager, was open and frank with our questions, a nice trait. Like Roesville, they utilize natural gas which we were both happy to see (grew up with natural gas in PA and believe me it is tons cheaper than the oil we have to buy here in New England). These are stick homes and we were told modifications to the floor plans are accommodated within reason. The clubhouse is gorgeous, pool was still open the 93 degree day we were there. The overall difference that was noticeable right off the bat was that this place looked "lived in" - there were people out walking dogs and groups of ladies coming from the gym. Yes they are near the air force base and we did see several planes overhead but to us it was no big deal. Where we live now in Maine is just a few miles from the Brunswick Naval Air Station and we see planes every day, have tuned them out after all these years. Actually the closeness of the base is a plus for us as grocery shopping on the base would be wonderful. HOA is currently $190 a month and includes all exterior care including yearly mulch of plants and snow removal on porch and driveway, not just common areas. Also asked and received an options price list. We went into this venture thinking we would get a basement for all of hubby's gym toys but soon discovered that excavation for a basement would be prohibitively expensive for us, so we now are going with a loft area, which would be minimally finished and would serve his purpose (do not suggest he sell his stuff and use the community gym - he has more toys than any gym you could imagine). There is a premium for certain lots based on location/privacy but we were told that once a street was completed and utilities laid, that we could pick any lot on the street. Very impressed with CC.

NOBLE'S POND - there are 16 currently occupied homes in this community. Houses are all modular and seemed very well built although we did have a problem with several of the models. These homes had both a family room AND a living room and for the life of me, could not understand why you would need both. Seemed like wasted space to me. Also some of the homes approached almost 2,900 square feet - waaay too much home for retired people trying to downsize. The bedrooms were smallish to me but we both loved the expansive front porches on all the homes. Their clubhouse is open but once again on a nice day, we saw NO ONE out and about. There currently is no pool but was told groundbreaking would begin "soon" for a very large pool. Across the street from the community, running parallel to the road are freight train tracks. We asked about that and was told the schedule is erratic, not a daily occurrence. May be an issue for some people. HOA are $4800 a year which we think is very high. As we are leary of the land lease concept, Brian explained that there is indeed a 4.5% cap on increases and the lease is for 35 years. An attractive community, floorplans a bit odd, but certainly close to shopping, etc. Was disappointed to note that there was no options price list available for prospective buyers. Brian said to give him a list of what we want and he would plug it into the computer and give us a printout. Not very helpful when you are in your home and wondering about such things. Also there was no model of the community to look at or even an aerial map of the lots, which we found odd.


We certainly crammed in a lot of questions, picture-taking, and thinking into that week. Hubby did ask all 3 communities about flooding issues, so current now in Georgia, and we were assured that none were in flood zones. DE is very flat. It is something to seriously consider.

May not make another trip before winter but for sure will be back in early spring. Lots to think about over the winter. We did have an appointment to tour Heritage Shores but cancelled it after weighing their high HOA fees and remoteness with the higher taxes there. May see them next spring for comparisons. Right now Champions' Club is in the lead.

Hope you can gather some info from these reviews to help your search! Please comment on my findings and if I failed to answer something you were thinking about, perhaps I do have the answer, just didn't include it in the review. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped us with our search!!
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