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Old 08-16-2014, 07:13 PM
 
1,915 posts, read 3,347,180 times
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I met a retired American gentleman at a hotel I was staying at in Guatemala this year. He actually impressed me when he told me why he chose to retire to a hotel in Central America. It was extremely cheaper than renting a home, his room was cleaned daily and he used the lobby as his living room. Travelling through the country at leisure by bus and meeting people from all over the world.

His choice sounds better than the stories of people that claim to live on cruise ships after retirement. Really great man! A few days later, I saw him in the lobby but he had so many people talking with him, I could only wave at him since there wasn't an empty seat near him.

Great idea for single retired people that don't want to be alone.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,094 posts, read 22,952,534 times
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I personally, don't like living with a HOA of any kind. Been there and hated it. There will always be the plant nazi or the pet nazi or the whatever nazi.

I'm living in a 55+ apt bldg, and I have learned that the next one I move into (away from the heat in Redding), I will not make friends in my bldg. I will look for activities and friends outside of the building. For now, I don't have the choice of living in a SFH, and 55+ subsidized apts are what I can afford.

Realize that if you live where everyone is retired, they won't have much to do. They will, however, have lots of time to monitor you, or ask you for help or favors, etc.

Now living in subsidized housing definitely ups the population of people who will ask you for favors and help. But, most of the conversations I hear are about their health problems, their new teeth, etc. There is also a lot of drama and gossip. It's like they've all reverted to high school.

So, even in a housing community of retired folk in SFHs, I'll bet you'll still have to deal with the nosy neighbor who will tattle about your guests staying too long, or whatever, fill in the blank.

I am on a very limited income (SSI) and am on Section 8 waiting lists. My hope and dream, is to be able to move into a tiny cabin or house in a town. I don't want to be in the boonies, but I don't want to live with a bunch of seniors the rest of my life - at least until I need assisted living. I don't like nosy, needy neighbors that I have to actively avoid and/or say "no" to constantly. And I don't want to hear about people's teeth or surgeries or pain or whatever.

And the day will come when they will tell you how they can't drive anymore, and their kids never come around and they have no idea how they will get to their doctor appointment next week.....hint hint. Next thing you know, you're taking care of their yard and shopping for them, on and on. And they will come knocking at your door without calling first.

When I go somewhere outside of my apt bldg, with active seniors (for instance I go to the free kayak tours on Whiskeytown Lake, and there are a lot of independent, active seniors who volunteer there and go kayaking, etc.), it's a whole different world. So, if you do move into a 55+ community, and you don't want to become enmeshed in the needs and drama of those in your community, I suggest you don't get chummy or go to their activities, and find your friends and entertainment outside the community.

Obviously, this is just my take and my experience as far as how it doesn't work with my personality.

I had a condo and couldn't sell it fast enough to get away from living with a HOA. I don't like the unknown of the fees going up (and mine did by about 23% in just the first 3 years), and I hated being hassled about growing tomatoes in pots, or using too much decorative bark (told it was bad for the plants), on and on.

Anyway, just my two cents. If I had the choice to have a SFH with no HOA and that was not a part of a senior community, that's where I'd be.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:55 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,922,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
each of us see retirement through different eyes; approaching it, expecting something different. I think retirement communities are great in many ways. I am not sure I want to live somewhere that is not more diversified. No, I don't want the basic suburban home on a street of cookie cutter lots and kids everywhere. Most of us have been there, done that, but I don't want to live in a situation where we just watch people go down hill, watching them pass away and waiting in line for my turn. I don't like going to the bridge party and hearing everyone talk about their latest visit to the doctors or when they will their knew replaced.

We probably have the best situation we can ask for. We live in a town that was, at one time a retirement village, but has changed in the past few years. We get to see kids playing, but not everywhere, we do have our senior friends. We all have custom built homes, from small zero lot lines and town homes to massive homes on 200 or more feet of late front. Traffic is not bad, we have decent medial facilities and good shopping. We also have an abundance of golf courses and lakes. I just can't think of a more perfect place to spend our last years.

We also have a couple great retirement apartment living complexes and some assisted living centers. Both hubby and I have decided if something happens to one of us, the other will probably, by then, be ready to downsize into a retirement apartment.
Exactly we are all different and one size does not fit all; like most things.
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Old 08-16-2014, 10:55 PM
 
10,813 posts, read 8,061,664 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneR View Post
Might we be better off finding a great American small town where we might find that modest home with a yard, white picket fence, garden and perhaps it's a short walk to downtown where there are locally useful businesses? Where is Mayberry?

We're now rethinking our future which might include more of a small town environment.
In our travels, the closest we've come to what you describe is Brevard NC.
It's a wee bit isolated for us, and the NC tax environment doesn't suit us but for sure it fits your description. Housing and COL prices there are reasonable. It's an actual town and not a retirement community but the population seems to skew heavily toward retired folks.
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:55 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,957 posts, read 83,612,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitmom View Post
Sounds like you've never been to Hot Springs Village?

It's pretty much what you described in the 1st paragraph above, only with lots of trees. It's miles of roads dotted with enclaves of suburbia-type neighborhoods. You must have a car to get anywhere. There are no walking or biking paths and the roads are much too dangerous for anything but cars. (There are some walking trails in the woods, but they're no good for getting from one place to another).

From most homes it's at least several miles to the strip mall just outside the HSV front gate, where there's a supermarket and a few fast food places but little else. Up and down the highway outside the gate, there are pet supply stores, liquor stores, real estate & insurance offices, a lumber supply and a Walmart.

It's an even longer drive into the town of Hot Springs, where all the retail and businesses are in strip malls or the town's one big covered mall. Downtown Hot Springs is picturesque but has only tourist shops and cafes.

Also, if it matters - Hot Springs Village is not an age-restricted community.
Hot Springs Village is developed by the same corporation that developed Bella Vista and they are very similar. The biggest difference is Bella Vista is not a gated community and is a little closer to medical facilities and shopping. We looked at both and decided for us, Bella Vista offered a little more of what is important to us. We have the lack of sidewalks as well, but people still walk a lot and we have several great walking trails ad we have a great bike club. The transportation issue does exist, but again, we have a wonderful volunteer cab service.
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:59 AM
 
71,526 posts, read 71,712,424 times
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After buying a 2nd home in an hoa i now see the value in over 55 communities.

Everyone in our hoa was busy with their own families and kids. It was very hard to make friends or have social events. At least in a 55 plus folks are there because they want to make friends and be with others outside their family.
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Old 08-17-2014, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
71,957 posts, read 83,612,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneR View Post
We've spent the past several months giving very serious thought to our retirement living. Hours have been spent on the internet looking at various web sites specializing in selecting the 'perfect' place to spend those golden years. Now I'm having some second thoughts.

As noted on other pages of this site we recently visited several age-restricted communities in Arizona. We have chosen a few as our favorites. They are gorgeous. Perfectly manicured community lawns, waterfalls, golf courses with views of mountains and desert. The homes lined up perfectly and no matter the age they all appeared new. Most importantly the residents seemed warm, friendly and happy. So no matter where this post takes me I am not, in any way, denigrating the life style chosen by residents of retirement communities. I am however rethinking whether or not they would live well for us.

My wife and I have, from time to time, thought of having a retirement home similar to the home seen in the film "On Golden Pond". A modest home set on a lakeside where family would come and visit, where life would be beautiful and simple. Our biggest hurdle has been economics. Have you ever priced lakeside property? But as I gave this thought I began to realize part of the attraction of such a setting is the "country feel" this setting promotes. That led me to rethink life in a retirement community.

While retirement communities are well designed with lots of amenities they do appear to us to be very 'suburban', that is, there are rows and rows of similar looking homes on well maintained streets. Residents have limited choices for destinations from home. They leave home (sometimes by golf car), go to the recreation center or golf course then return home. Day after day, back and forth, taking the same route time and time again to the same place. For shopping it's usually to a nearby strip mall where you'll find groceries, home supplies, perhaps a hardware store and maybe a gift shop or two. It's not unlike where I live now (only the weather is much, much better!).

While we found these communities to be very lovely and the people to be very friendly, do we really want to move from one suburb to another? Might we be better off finding a great American small town where we might find that modest home with a yard, white picket fence, garden and perhaps it's a short walk to downtown where there are locally useful businesses? Where is Mayberry?

We're now rethinking our future which might include more of a small town environment. There are a couple places that might be better for us. One is Hot Springs Village in Arkansas where there are about 15-thousand residents spread over 26-thousand wooded acres. Nearby is the town of Hot Springs which has more of a small town feel and not filled with strip malls. The other is perhaps the worlds largest retirement community, The Villages in Florida. While the residential areas of The Villages still look very suburban these areas are built around town squares featuring shops and restaurants. Yes, there are some strip malls there as well but that is not the only source of shopping.

Fortunately we have a couple years, maybe three, before we make a move. We've gone from being absolutely sure we're going to move to a specific Arizona community, to rethinking what we really want to do, what type of life style do we really want. Everything seems to be still on the table.
Gene, I just reread this: it sounds like you have already found Hot Springs Village. It is developed by Cooper development, just like Bella Vista. I would suggest you give some thought to Bella Vista as well. They are similar, Bella Vista is bigger and we do have a better proximity to medical facilities. This is just a thought, but I will add, Hot Springs, which is a great little city is not all that close to Hot Springs Village. Regardless both Bella Vista and Hot Spring village seem to have just about everything you are looking for, senior activities , outdoor life and yet more diverstion than places like the Villages.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Tucson
446 posts, read 571,454 times
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My husband and I "flip/flop" all the time about retirement. When we first started thinking about it over ten years ago we were all about retiring to the Berkshires. Then we soon realized that it is only nice there for two months of the year when Tanglewood is in session. The rest of the time it is cold, dark, and dreary with no cell phone service. Crossed that one off our list.

Then we fell in love with Portland, Maine. Until we got snowed in in April. That was the end of that.

About 6 years ago we began coming to Tucson for winter getaways and really fell in love with it. So now we have the destination but we are flip flopping over whether or not to just be snowbirds.

We cannot afford to own two places, so it would mean renting in Tucson for the winters and how long can you keep that up. The moving back and forth would seem to get old very fast. It is very far to go from Boston.

If we sold our place here then we could have a beautiful place there. But if we sell we could never afford to come back here. That would be it. What if we change our mind.....what if......

It is very hard to make these decisions isn't it? HOA, no HOA, 55+ or regular neighborhood. A lot of choices. Very difficult.

GeneR I have been following your posts for some time now and hope you can figure it all out. It is daunting.
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:36 AM
 
1,075 posts, read 1,117,794 times
Reputation: 1416
I am moving to Asheville in 3 weeks and building a cottage in the Biltmore Lake subdivision.

Biltmore Lake | Asheville Real Estate - Homes, Townhomes, & Homesites
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,391,767 times
Reputation: 16283
Quote:
Originally Posted by organic_donna View Post
I am moving to Asheville in 3 weeks and building a cottage in the Biltmore Lake subdivision.

Biltmore Lake | Asheville Real Estate - Homes, Townhomes, & Homesites
Best of luck I was in Asheville this past April - nice place.
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