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Old 06-11-2007, 05:18 PM
19,922 posts, read 9,986,006 times
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Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum and have read many of the posts. My wife and I are interested in some of the 55+ communities in Delaware and would love to hear from those currently living in the various communities. We have the same questions you probably had when you considered choosing your community. We'd like to know more about land lease, to know the real story about socialization within the 55+ communities (not what the website or the sales person says), the true costs of heating / maintaining /etc, for a house of around 1600 square feet, etc ... in essence, anything you can share will be helpful to us, and all others seeking the same information.

We were hoping that we could make a clean getaway from the Hudson Valley in New York for a nice 55+ community in Delaware. I do admit I'm a bit nervous having read some of the messages here, so hopefully, future posts will put some clarity into the issues related to the 55+ crowd.

Thanks in advance for the information you share.

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Old 06-11-2007, 06:43 PM
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Charley your best bet is to check homebuilder.com and look for active communities for over 55+. Also our resident retiree on this board elizamary is a great example of a person who made the transition to Delaware.
The subject of health care plans and Delaware keeps coming up. Do you have a major blue? Any special health concerns? Need to be near airport or train station? Want something by the beach? Tell us more of your must haves and wants.
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:58 PM
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Oh, I have my list of the communities of interest, including the new ones coming (Independence, Coastal Club, Nobles Pond, Spring Meadows) and the older ones (Spring Mill, Wild Meadows, Barclays). What I'm hoping for is an insider's view from any members who live in the communities who can give me the real story from their perspectives.

We have no major health issues and no major preferences for specific locations, yet. My wife and I do have the luxury of time. We're doing our research as completely as we can.

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Old 06-12-2007, 06:37 AM
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Hey Charlie,

My husband and I made the transition from Phila to DE back in Feb of 2007. We are newbies and we are very happy with our choice. The only thing I am disappointed in, is the transportation issue. Coming from Philly, YOu just hop on a bus or a train no problem. But down here you need a car to get to a bus or train.
But this is the only issue so far I am not happy with.

First do you want a stick in Brick or manufactured home, Land lease or land own? This is a personal choice.

We wanted to live nice but as cheap as possible and we now live in Southern Meadows (Price of homes has gone up) a brand new community not completely built yet.
So far My gas has been low. The highest we got so far was $48 and the lowest was $13
Electric is co op and the highest so far was $98. I expect as the summer goes on it will be higher.
Water is every 3 months not sure what that is yet. We are still learning.
As far as land lease or not..........we land lease and do not have the huge tax bill that you have when you own your land. We do pay a community fee with includes cutting lawn, snow removal, use of club house......Land lease now is $365 monthly. Our taxes a year are around $284 a year.
There are 5 models to choose from and they go from 1376 sq ft to 19 or more.
We have people that have moved from NY, NJ, FL and Pa because of the cost of living. Living here seemed like the best choice.

WE live 10 min. south of Dover. There is every store imaginable. You name it, we have it from Department stores to dollar stores. Loads of restaruants too. YOu name it we have it.
The only store we dont have are trader Joes or Fresh field (whole foods). But my acme has some of the products that I would get at these stores.

Our activities have not started up as yet cuz like I said we are a new community. Our Activites director is working on this now.
The clubhouse is open and we have used the gym and pool which was wonderful.

It depends on what your personal wants and needs are. This is not for everyone and I would suggest you come down and spend a few days or more visiting these communites, asking questions, and do some research on any issues that are important to you.

I will be willing to answer any questions you may have the best that I can. After all we have only been here since Feb 2007.

the scariest part for me was retiring from my job and not working but i had a back up plan and still do. So far I have not been bored. We ride down to the beach when we feel like it, got to the movies, scout around DE and Maryland by taking day trips, visited Dover Downs slots and some museums. I"m a history buff and Dover has great history, so they say. We have not done this yet.

Health Care.............Before I retired and moved here, I inquired about what plans are accepted in DE. The plan we had is not. So I switced to Blue Cross which is universal.
Some People did not do this and as a result have had to go back home for health care because their ins is not accepted in DE.

I am trying to think of anything else but can't right now. If you have any questions, feel free to throw them my way. I will do my best in answering if I can.

BEst advice I can give you is to come down and check out the area in person.
For my husband and I, this is the perfect life. No grass to cut, more time to play and the a brand new home we love with a 2 car garage.
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Old 06-12-2007, 08:07 AM
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Thank you, Elizamary for a very informative post. We are totally open about land lease vs. land ownership, until such time as we find enough evidence to eliminate land lease.

We are very familiar with the Dover area and have spent a week there in each of the last three years during vacation. We know Dover Downs and many of the restaurants well. We already know that on our first day this year, we'll have lunch at Country Eaterie and dinner at Where Pigs Fly!

The physical research (seeing the various properties) and the economic planning have been ongoing for a long time. It's the intangibles where we're doing more work. For example, I noticed references to air quality and cancer issues within these forums, so I've spent time looking at sites like scoreboard.org and comparing the data against over states. It turns out the Delaware is not as bad as reported, and happens to score better in every category than New York where I live now. I'll be doing the same for water quality, etc.

The healthcare issues are going to be most challenging. Before retiring, I worked in healthcare for 30 years. I know how hospitals "pretty up" their data for reporting to regulatory agencies, so it will be hard to separate the data from the real story. The insurance issue is very interesting and we'll have to check that out as well.

So it's those kinds of issues now that will help guide us to or from a particular town - or the entire state. And ... we need to do much more work on the issue of land lease. I need to know a lot more about the nitty-gritty of land lease. I understand the benefits clearly. I need to know more about the risks and specifically the protections against those risks.

Anyway, thanks for an informative post. I'm looking forward to hearing from more folks who made the move into the world of 55+ communities.

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Old 06-12-2007, 03:35 PM
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The ones that talk about the high cancer rate mean Northern DE such as middleton, Newark, Bear and Wilmington.
MY daughter is an environmental graduate and that is her field. She told me the "rumors" about cancer in that region are true.
Down where we are, there are a lot of farms and I do not believe the cancer rate is as high.
YOu are correct in saying DE doesn't do bad in comparison with other states. PA, where we came from was number 3 in meaning it has a high emissions.
DE was number 46 which was not bad at all.

As far as the nitty gritty of land lease, I can't tell you anymore than I already know. Where you would rent the land and buy the home, there would have to answer all your questions and concerns honestly. YOu can have certain issues in writing im sure.
A manufactured home is not for everyone and neither is land lease. Take your time and ask a ton of questions, weight all the pro's and cons and think of what it is you really want. You must have some idea.
I know we did. I knew exactly what I wanted but the trick was to find exactly what we wanted for what we could afford.
There was a very nice 55+ community in PA out by state college that we were considering but it would have cost us a tad more in taxes and expenses. Next best thing for us was where we are now.
I believe everyone's life is already planned and there is a place where you are supposed to be. Just follow your leads and research.
Good luck to you!
Also, I can't believe I'm the only 55+ person that has come to your rescue.
Hopefully, more will chime in with their input.
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Old 06-12-2007, 09:57 PM
Location: Kent County, DE
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Default + 55 in Magnolia

Champions Club is also in our little town . It is stick built, will have a pool , club house , fitness center, tennis courts and the works. If that is what you are looking for, it is worth a look. At least check out their decorated models if you are in the area. They are quite impressive. We live ajacent to them in the single family community and have been watching their construction. They are doing a nice job from what we can see. This area is great for retirees.
It just depends on what price range you are looking for.
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:05 PM
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Default 55+ communities

What is the age restriction of children staying/visiting at Southern Meadow or other communities? My husband is retired and I have 4 years before I can retire but we are starting to explore cities and states. We live in New York and want to move south. I am also concrned about taxation on pensions. Delaware keeps coming up as a place to retire to. Any info would be helpful.
I like the idea of not having to maintain the outside!
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Old 06-14-2007, 04:03 AM
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Age requirement is that one person must be 55. DE does tax pension but I think your pension must be pretty high to be taxed. I'm not sure on this for we are new at this too.
In researching states to live, DE came out the best financially for us. Now PA is a beautiful State and does not tax pensions but the taxes and properties were a little higher than DE.
Our Real estate tax a year is around $284. This is because we do not own the land. And yes, they cut our grass every Tues. You can have garden service extra but we take care of our own garden which isn't much.
It is good to check out all these communities and find out as much information as you can at least 2 years in advance.
That is what we did and we would visit too.
After all, this is a major decsion and you want to be sure you are doing what you want and what is right.
Good Luck.
PS: I also requested brochures from all these communities too and kept in touch with the office so I can ask any question I had.
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Old 06-14-2007, 06:27 AM
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Re: Delaware Income Tax:

For those age 60 and above, pensions up to $12,500 per person are deducted from gross income when calculating income tax. In addition, income from Social Security is not counted either! Why do you think all us New Yorkers are looking at Delaware??

The complete tax code is available on line. The code related to personal income tax is at Subchapter II. Resident Individuals

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