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Old 10-23-2011, 07:14 AM
 
5,916 posts, read 13,583,197 times
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Lived many places and types of housing before retirement, including our last townhouse. Would NEVER do HOA again! Townhouse was 2600 sq. ft., two levels. Between taxes, HOA fees and constant increases and special assessments, it cost more than owning a house with land.

When we retired, bought a new home, one level, 2000 sq. ft., on three acres. Had a large workshop built and are extremely happy. One acre is wooded, but if we get to the point we can't handle the yard work we will hire someone. It's easy maintainable with riding tractor and flower gardens.

We do travel quite a bit, but neighbors will ride over and cut our grass to keep it up between trips. Would never go back to a condo or apartment unless we got to the point we were stuck in front of a TV.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 19,381,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
I've been thinking on the same track. Condo is an option, but from what others have said, maybe not. I've also considered mobile home. Small. The park owner takes care of yard and property maint. The MH is pretty cheap to insure since there isn't a big investment. There's little or no property taxes in most places and you can still get 1000+ sq. ft. which is about what we need. Florida has a lot of 55+ parks and that is the kind of thing I'd be looking for, but we probably will not go to Florida. Any input on other options is appreciated.

You all are right. House is a money pit. Our AC and water bill this summer was $250 a couple of months. Property taxes in Texas are high and homeowners insurance is over $1000 in Texas. On top of that, its hard to find someone to come work on your house that isn't a crook.
I like the idea of mobile home parks (with owned land), except for:

- close noise from close neighbors--autos and motorcycles revving up and roaring in and out, partying, arguments, etc.

- the materials that most of these are made of--with fermaldehyde and other toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, etc.

- uncontrolled HOA fees over time

I've seen some online that look pretty cool though.
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,402,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Just curious about the issue of home ownership for retirees. How many have sold or consider selling single-dwelling houses and looked into apartments, condos or self contained retirement communities specifically to relieve themselves of the "burden" of upkeep and maintenance, including yard care, that goes along with home ownership?

As a homeowner of a certain age, I know how labor intensive and costly such things can be. Is it worth it to give up that facet of "The American Dream" - put in quotes because it's become so far outside the reach of so many - for the "comfort" of not having to worry about or pay for those things?

What say you, and why?
We downsized to a condo going on 4 years ago now. We bought from plans, so had to wait 3 years for our new place to be ready. Luckily for us, the real estate market was buoyant when it came time to sell our house, so we were able to extract some capital from the downsizing.

We have been very happy with this move--costs are somewhat lower, less maintenance, and there are no stairs. And we have the security of a concierge. And walking distance to all kind of amenities and public transit.

We are youngish retirees (60's) now, with 3 properties--our summer cottage, and our snowbird condo in Florida. At some point we will sell our luxury condo here in Toronto and downsize once again, probably to a smaller place in a cheaper neighbourhood, or we'll rent. Or we'll sell the summer home, if we don't decide to live there part-time. We will make these changes when we need to because of finances or general hassles. Again, luckily, the Canadian economy is in pretty decent shape, the condo market here is very hot, although you never know about future markets.
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Sequim, WA
792 posts, read 1,940,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
When we retired, bought a new home, one level, 2000 sq. ft., on three acres. Had a large workshop built and are extremely happy. One acre is wooded, but if we get to the point we can't handle the yard work we will hire someone. It's easy maintainable with riding tractor and flower gardens.

We do travel quite a bit, but neighbors will ride over and cut our grass to keep it up between trips.
Now...that sounds like my kind of place. And to have a neighbor who will help out? The people who live around us (I'm debating whether to call them neighbors or not) all keep to themselves and no one talks to anyone...with the exception of the folks next door who were here when we got here 22+ years ago. That's another "thing" I would like in a new location...people who actually help one another out.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,604 posts, read 32,114,993 times
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Originally Posted by mrgoodwx View Post
Now...that sounds like my kind of place. And to have a neighbor who will help out? The people who live around us (I'm debating whether to call them neighbors or not) all keep to themselves and no one talks to anyone...with the exception of the folks next door who were here when we got here 22+ years ago. That's another "thing" I would like in a new location...people who actually help one another out.
We have that. Our rural community (212 homes) is very close, cohesive, supportive and helpful. Unfortunately I think that's fast becoming a rarity in many places. It was a significant factor in where we chose to settle in retirement. We feel most fortunate.
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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Curmudgeon:

You and I sound like we are looking for the same place. I was wondering though, you identify yourself as in the Ozarks. That is one area I've been thinking of moving into or close to. Since you're considering a move, what do you find there that makes you want to move?
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:49 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,604 posts, read 32,114,993 times
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Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
Curmudgeon:

You and I sound like we are looking for the same place. I was wondering though, you identify yourself as in the Ozarks. That is one area I've been thinking of moving into or close to. Since you're considering a move, what do you find there that makes you want to move?
Actually, made the move to years ago. There's a sense of "arrested" or "perpetuated" frontier (with thanks to author Phyllis Rossiter) here and a somewhat pervasive attitude of "Go ahead - but not too far, not too fast" which we find/found appealing. My wife lived in the Ozarks from 19782 to 1979 - about 40 miles from our current home - and missed them. I fell in love with them at an early age coming down the original Route 66 and felt a pull to them ever since. Two years ago we came "home."

In a throw-back to the 50s sense, custom and tradition are both strong and unique. The Ozarks (actually, Aux Arcs) covers portions of three states but Ozarkers usually identify with the region more than with the state in which they may be located. Add to that the unique topography - hills that grow down into valleys rather than up, thousands of natural springs, some of which gush tens of millions of gallons a day, mighty rivers including the Missouri and Mississippi, large, perfectly clear man made lakes throughout and it's both beautiful and recreational. Critters abound and Mother Nature smiles.

Ozarkers are also fiercely independent and the minimal governance is sensitive to that. They're also welcoming and helpful just so long as you don't come here and try to change it into what and where you left. If you need Starbuck's, Trader Joe's, haute cuisine and the latest fashion trends to feel alive and in tune this probably isn't the place for you. The largest Ozarks city has a population of less than 160,000 and most people live in much smaller cities or towns, villages and hamlets, many of which are quite isolated. In fact, we have to drive 18 miles to grocery shop and another several for almost anything else.

It's decidedly not for everyone. And we do have weather which throughout the year can bring heat, humidity, tornadoes, torrential rains, floods, cold, snow, ice storms, straight-line winds, and more. But the vast preponderance of those we know, many like us from elsewhere originally, love it here and are here to stay. Everyone's mileage will vary.

Hope that helps!
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Lexington, SC
4,281 posts, read 10,967,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgoodwx View Post
Now...that sounds like my kind of place. And to have a neighbor who will help out? The people who live around us (I'm debating whether to call them neighbors or not) all keep to themselves and no one talks to anyone...with the exception of the folks next door who were here when we got here 22+ years ago. That's another "thing" I would like in a new location...people who actually help one another out.
Often the helping others (at my convenience ) becomes a demand/expectation on their part, thus I try to avoid such.

Getting back to the OP's request for information and a bit of an aside, I think we could aid each other more (on this subject as on others) if we stuck to advice/information rather then lament/brag about ones personal situation.

Last edited by accufitgolf; 10-23-2011 at 06:00 PM..
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:28 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,358,503 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
We have that. Our rural community (212 homes) is very close, cohesive, supportive and helpful. Unfortunately I think that's fast becoming a rarity in many places. It was a significant factor in where we chose to settle in retirement. We feel most fortunate.
Having read your description of where you live - well it's nice to have close - cohesive - supportive and helpful. But - in terms of help - that assumes a multi-generational community where the younger people who are able to do stuff are willing and able to help the older people who can't. Perhaps you have that - but it's pretty much out of the question in most places (younger people have enough problems today without helping to fix a leak in a neighbor's roof - even if they knew how to do that).

I think we're the oldest people on our block these days. But the younger people are almost all dual wage earners with kids. I'm not sure I could count on them to pick up our mail when we go out of town (we use the PO for that - holding our mail - works fine) - much less do anything else for us. Which is not to say they are bad neighbors - just that I don't expect them to take the place of a home handyman.

Also - I don't think I could deal with how isolated you are. Eighteen miles from a grocery store isn't my cup of tea - especially when I'm cooking something - the recipe calls for a lemon - and I find out that I thought I had a lemon - but I don't. And I assume you are kind of far away from something like a golf course (I like to play golf). Medical stuff too (we are 10 minutes away from our PCP and our dentist and the Mayo Clinic for more complicated stuff). Cultural stuff and shopping as well.

I think the older we get - the less we like to drive (even though the driving here is pretty easy - no snow - ice storms - crazy traffic - etc.). So living in the kind of place you describe would mean - for us - that our world would get smaller and smaller as we got older.

I am glad that it works for you. But that kind of isolation isn't for everyone. Robyn

P.S. To give you some perspective - our HOA - in a suburb of JAX - has 1100 single family homes.
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Old 10-23-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,604 posts, read 32,114,993 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Having read your description of where you live - well it's nice to have close - cohesive - supportive and helpful. But - in terms of help - that assumes a multi-generational community where the younger people who are able to do stuff are willing and able to help the older people who can't. Perhaps you have that - but it's pretty much out of the question in most places (younger people have enough problems today without helping to fix a leak in a neighbor's roof - even if they knew how to do that).

I think we're the oldest people on our block these days. But the younger people are almost all dual wage earners with kids. I'm not sure I could count on them to pick up our mail when we go out of town (we use the PO for that - holding our mail - works fine) - much less do anything else for us. Which is not to say they are bad neighbors - just that I don't expect them to take the place of a home handyman.

Also - I don't think I could deal with how isolated you are. Eighteen miles from a grocery store isn't my cup of tea - especially when I'm cooking something - the recipe calls for a lemon - and I find out that I thought I had a lemon - but I don't. And I assume you are kind of far away from something like a golf course (I like to play golf). Medical stuff too (we are 10 minutes away from our PCP and our dentist and the Mayo Clinic for more complicated stuff). Cultural stuff and shopping as well.

I think the older we get - the less we like to drive (even though the driving here is pretty easy - no snow - ice storms - crazy traffic - etc.). So living in the kind of place you describe would mean - for us - that our world would get smaller and smaller as we got older.

I am glad that it works for you. But that kind of isolation isn't for everyone. Robyn

P.S. To give you some perspective - our HOA - in a suburb of JAX - has 1100 single family homes.
Thus my near closing comment, "Everyone's mileage will vary." Of course it's not going to work for everyone. I have no idea where the nearest golf course is. I'm sure it's a ways away. Then again, I haven't golfed since college. Nearest hospital is 22 miles away (doctor is four miles closer) but our minimally mixed age community maintains a lighted helipad for emergency evacuations if needed.

Lemons, huh? It takes planning but our larder is always well-stocked so we haven't felt a pinch in that department.

But again, when it comes to retirement, a rising tide DOESN'T raise all the boats equally. We freely acknowledge that one day we may have to move back to "civilization" but if that happens, it will be close to where we are. This is home.

Last edited by Curmudgeon; 10-23-2011 at 07:10 PM..
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