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Old 05-04-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
282 posts, read 358,700 times
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I am planning to retire next year at age 60, and to move to a specific area with a lower cost of living. I've been using realtor.com to check out housing in the area, and I keep getting a lot of results that turn out to be in 55+ communities. I want to buy an "age in place" type of house or condo--single-level living, low maintenance, community feel, highly walkable and/or easy access to mass transit.

I've read a few on-line articles re the pluses and minuses, but wanted to get some input from people who have looked at it or done it. Particularly those who have done it toward the bottom of the age range accepted in the community.

My primary doubts are these:

- I have trouble imagining living in a community that is not diverse, has no children or families, etc. Do these communities feel sterile?

- Is there a problem with housing values, since the size of the re-sale market is inherently limited?

- If I die there, will my heirs not have the option to live there themselves if they aren't over 55?

- Do the communities tend to skew very elderly, such that perhaps I'll start feeling older than I really am?


Thoughts?
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:22 AM
 
10,819 posts, read 8,079,355 times
Reputation: 17034
Quote:
Originally Posted by trying harder View Post
- Do the communities tend to skew very elderly, such that perhaps I'll start feeling older than I really am?
Yes they do skew way elderly. My experience, in renting short-term in a few of them, was that I felt younger than I am and couldn't wait to get away from the geriatric atmosphere. ~~shudder~~ We were in our early 60s and the prevailing age in all the places we visited appeared to be 80+.

Many 55+ communities offer vacation and short-term rentals via services like VRBO and Homeaway. I'd suggest you do the same before committing. We found the rentals by entering terms like "Sun City" or "55+", coupled with the name of the nearby city or locale in which we were interested, in the search windows of the vacation rental websites. You can stay in most for as little as a week or even a week-end. That's what we did, and in every case it was long enough (too long, really) for us.

Quote:
highly walkable and/or easy access to mass transit.
55+ communities with houses are usually far from such services. Possibly you could find condos or apartments that meet that criteria.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,763,041 times
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To trying harder (OP): In addition to the responses that you will receive here in this thread, I would suggest looking through past threads in this Retirement Forum for additional reading and additional opinions, as the topic you raised has been discussed quite a bit over the years.

Opinions vary and some of the discussions have been lively. Many people report they love their 55+ communities. One thing to keep in mind is that not all of the communities have the same feel, such as, for example, the extent to which they skew way elderly.
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Old 05-04-2014, 10:49 AM
 
10,819 posts, read 8,079,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that not all of the communities have the same feel, such as, for example, the extent to which they skew way elderly.
True. I should have specified our research and experiences were in Texas (Hill Country), northern New Mexico, western North Carolina, and central Arkansas. That covers only a tiny portion of the US and is why it would behoove the OP to look for rentals in his/her area of interest.
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Old 05-04-2014, 04:25 PM
 
223 posts, read 275,274 times
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We rented in a 55+ community in Haines City FL. It was a pretty nice golfing community and didn't seem to have a "just-for-old-timers" vibe. Many of the homeowners rented their properties out to families on vacation, like us. The communities weren't as diverse as we were used to, but we never felt out of place despite the fact that we are minorities. If we were interested in renting again, we'd go back in a heartbeat!

Other 55+ communities might have that older feel. In Ocala FL, there is a development called On Top Of The World. It has an old vibe and always has lots of homes for sale due to the advanced age of the retirees there. The best bet would be to visit and scope out each neighborhood. We narrowed our list as best as we could online with the information that we found there. The next step is a visit to the final three 55+ destinations.
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:07 PM
 
14,267 posts, read 24,025,211 times
Reputation: 20101
Quote:
Originally Posted by trying harder View Post
My primary doubts are these:

- I have trouble imagining living in a community that is not diverse, has no children or families, etc. Do these communities feel sterile?

- Is there a problem with housing values, since the size of the re-sale market is inherently limited?

- If I die there, will my heirs not have the option to live there themselves if they aren't over 55?

- Do the communities tend to skew very elderly, such that perhaps I'll start feeling older than I really am?


Thoughts?

I am 54 and bought a place in a 55+ community (yes, I am illegal ) ... for three more weeks.

1) There are no children and few under 55 in the neighborhood. However, a lot of the shopping and cultural opportunities are up the road three miles and we interact with a LOT of young families. Ditto at church and some of our volunteer activities. I ride the bus into Tucson 2-3x per week and have some great discussions with college students.

2) Housing values are starting to recover from 2008 in both standard and 55+ communities. As teh older people move on, there is a pretty decent number of people looking to buy a home that they will live in 6-12 months a year. There are a lot of people in the Upper Midwest that are looking to relocate to more reasonable climates.

3) That is one issue that is valid. Someone in the household will need to be over 55. As with any other real estate transaction, you MUST read the CCRs which dictate what you can and cannot do in the community. Some children who have inherited the properties have rented them out until they were ready to retire.

4) The average age in the community that I am moving into is 72 and some of the people are my parents' age. However, no one has held my age and lack of experience against me. Seriously, the older folks are an inspiration to me as they are VERY active ... They are some of the most intelligent and sharp people that I have ever met and have broadened my horizons.

For example, I met a Brooklyn school teacher who has given me a thorough history of new York City. I met a Vermont high school teacher who tool me to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show and gave me the grand narrated tour.

Many of my neighbors walk their pooches 2-3 times per day and that has evolved into the neighborhood walk. The one time my wife missed for three days straight, all the neighbors dropped by to see if she was OK.

On the other hand, when you are defeated by a couple of 85 year olds ...
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Old 05-04-2014, 08:31 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,676 posts, read 40,039,994 times
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55+ homes for early retirement

Also look into Senior housing Co-op. That can be a very supportive community environment as you age, and you can 'give' your 'share-ownership' through your will or trust. A few co-ops are into the 3rd and fourth generation.
http://www.coophousing.org/DisplayPage.aspx?id=122

There are typically "market rate" Co-ops (resale prices change with market) and limited / fixed equity, usually 3% cap / yr.

I have noted that the members are usually age 80+, but occasionally younger as well.

The reason I find, is that folks just don't want to give up their home, or independence. You do find a common response, "I wish I would have done this yrs ago".
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
9,013 posts, read 7,774,270 times
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I have some friends that retired to Sun City Hilton Head. I visit them a few times a year. They love it there. He is very active in several golf groups. I have played with them (ages 60 to 80) and they are a fine group of fellows. He also is in a group that plays cards once a week. She is more the homebody type.

There are many activities so one can be as busy as they like or not be busy at all.

It is far from a place filled with old people waiting to die.

My advice is to visit a few places and see how they fit you. As a golfer my prime interest would be the golf facilities.
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Old 05-05-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,953,845 times
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The older the community - the more likely it is that the residents will be older (and vice versa). Because a lot of people move into these places when they're younger and stay there until they can't live independently and need a place like an ALF or a SNF or they die. For example - my father lives in an older 55+ community where the average age is now 80+. There are much newer communities than his in the area - and residents tend to be in their 60's or early 70's. Robyn
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Old 05-05-2014, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,846 posts, read 19,943,516 times
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And then those old people die or move into care and the 'old' homes get sold to a new batch of younger old people.
In our relatively small community of 260 houses, we had about 20 new residents just this year.
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