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Old 03-28-2015, 12:50 PM
 
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One thing to watch for in 55+ communities is what do your fees cover. If I remember right, the Lennar Heritage communities in Williamsburg and Fredericksburg does not include the lawn maintenance like other communities may. The positive of that is you can landscape your own place which isn't true for most places, the negative is its another cost to have someone mow, although we were assured it wasn't much. Again, pros and cons to consider.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
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I will only tell you why Dh and I decided against it. Our move two years ago was cold, as in we had no family or friends here. In as much as we hoped the new community would become "family like" to us, I could not bear to be surrounded by older people that simply by odds may not be here for a very long time. No one knows what is in store for any of us, but we looked at the odds. We are both going to be 62 this year and the other consideration for us was, that as the tail end of the boomers many of the residents there would be older than us and if people were going to need to sell, the odds were there would be many ahead of us and we did not want to potentially put ourselves in that position. We were not blessed with kids for reasons unknown and therefore have always had many kids around us, the laughter and squeals make us smile and keep us young. Sorry for a depressing post but that is why.
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Dover, DE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yourown2feet View Post
That is within my price range (actually I would be willing to spend more $$, for a smaller house on a lot big enough for a side-loading garage), and a HOA of $250/month isn't bad if they actually do the maintenance...but look at that extra fee of $3240...you can bet that's for the clubhouse, pool, etc. where I would probably never put in an appearance.

And you still have to pay property tax.

I just don't see the value.

Sigh....

I know it's not VA but some info about ours. Houses in our community go from 1244sf to 2597+sf. Plus you can add basements, lofts, sunrooms, etc. that add space. Ours is just about right in the middle and it has 1890sf. Base prices from $211K to $360K, but can go up fast depending on any options and/or lot premiums. But you can also get the base as well. Most of the lots are on the small side, but for a lot premium you can get bigger.

Our HOA is $189/month and includes all HOA expenses and common area expenses, including full lawn care. Any snow/ice removal is not included, but we are in SC with not much of that. We did have about an inch of snow one day and a bit of ice another. They fear the threat of it more than the actual event. Lawn is mowed, fertilized and more, pine straw replenished twice a year and all builder installed trees or bushes are trimmed and pruned. They will not take care of owner installed trees or bushes as they don't want to accidentally damage them and have to replace them. We have replaced all but a crape myrtle and they prune that but not the others. But if you don't do anything on your own they will take care of it all. Our HOA also includes trash and recycling and very basic cable.

We don't have very many extra charges. There is a $1000 capital fund at closing, just a one time thing. Each year there is an extra $385 charge on your taxes for repaying off the bond for all the infrastructure. But considering the main property taxes are only about $1200 to $1500, depending on house valuation, per year that isn't bad.

I have to say that I don't really use the activity center a lot. In 7 years we have not been in either pool. I was a member of a club for about 2 years but don't do that due to my surgery recovery. DH started using the gym about 1.5 years ago to lose some weight but that's about it. He has used the woodworkers shop a few times and has gone kayaking with the club a few times, but the kayak stuff is self paid and not from the HOA. The woodworkers building was built by the builder, but everything inside is either donated or bought with WW funds that was done by club dues or selling items.

Of course each community would be different in dues depending on their costs. If the community owned a golf course inside it that would be extra, ours doesn't. If you find somewhere that you think you would like, be sure to ask to see the HOA documents and read them carefully. If you purchase a house there by law you have to get a copy. If you are just interested they may loan you a copy or direct you to online somewhere. If you don't want to pay for something you don't use, then it definitely isn't right for you. There are no ala carte menus. It's like insurance and taxes....I may never have an accident but I am paying for others who do, I don't have kids in school but I'm paying (at least some) for those who do, I may never need the police or fire department, but I pay for them anyhow, I will never drive on 80% of the highways in my state, but I pay for their upkeep anyhow. It's the way of the world. If I do need or want them, at least I know they will be there. You never know when you might decide to use something, or have someone visit who wants to use it.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:14 AM
 
479 posts, read 398,972 times
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This WaPo article (it doesn't seem to be an informercial) makes over-55 communities sound like Nirvana. The reader comments are more balanced. For me, the most poignant reader comments focused on something I hadn't really thought about: These places are out in the middle of nowhere - naturally so, since they take up a lot of space, and land close to population centers is expensive. Developers target these out-parcels for retirement communities, since people who are still working wouldn't want to commute that far.

The result, I would think, is both good and bad.
The good: You don't have to deal with the Type-A's out there on the road any more.
The bad: If, after a while, you find the place isolating and depressing, you're stuck.

As one person commented, "It's way out in the country - no way you can get to an evening performance at the Kennedy Center." Somehow I don't think that little skits put on by residents at the clubhouse quite compare.

Riding high after 55 - The Washington Post
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Old 03-30-2015, 05:29 PM
 
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The WaPo article is right, many of these communities are out in the middle of no where, where the builder can afford to build them. Regency at Dominon Valley is mentioned in there. It's gotten a lot of publicity. We happen to come across it a few weeks ago as we were exploring an alternate way to get out of NoVa and head south, at rush hour. The two lane road it's on had a huge backup all the way to the interstate. They advertise the new hospital out there. I would hate to have an emergency at that time as the backup going to it was terrible. Every commuter heading west was also trying to use that "shortcut". Years ago, at a totally different location I asked the sales rep what people did as I knew the road it was on got very busy with commuters. His answer was when retired you didn't have to go out at that time. Yes, some logic there, but still to be not near shopping is not ideal either.
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Old 03-30-2015, 09:54 PM
 
1,734 posts, read 1,947,792 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choff5 View Post
The WaPo article is right, many of these communities are out in the middle of no where, where the builder can afford to build them. Regency at Dominon Valley is mentioned in there. It's gotten a lot of publicity. We happen to come across it a few weeks ago as we were exploring an alternate way to get out of NoVa and head south, at rush hour. The two lane road it's on had a huge backup all the way to the interstate. They advertise the new hospital out there. I would hate to have an emergency at that time as the backup going to it was terrible. Every commuter heading west was also trying to use that "shortcut". Years ago, at a totally different location I asked the sales rep what people did as I knew the road it was on got very busy with commuters. His answer was when retired you didn't have to go out at that time. Yes, some logic there, but still to be not near shopping is not ideal either.
"where the builder can afford to build them"? HA! The limiting factor is greed.

Pick up a set of house plans. Develop a bill of materials. You will note that anywhere in the country, you can build a house for $70/sq ft, all in - including land. With the exception of places where there is no more land to build on, so you'd have to knock down neighborhoods filled with delusional $800K 1000 sq ft boxes to do it.

The "builder" requires a 45% markup on every unit to break ground. Successive generations of loan owners do their best to duplicate the markup, assisted by their used house sellers. The "builder" - with a GED - considers himself qualified as an architect. Therefore, he will "design" the house that is cheapest for him to build, with the highest markup over 45% that he can extort.

In the immortal words of Cody Lundin: "The more you know, the less you need".

Personally, I advocate doing your own planning, estimation and building. You will wind up money ahead. If you insist, of course you are welcome to pay for the convenience of an already built, used edifice. However, please be aware that you may do yourself a favor once you understand the cost of a hands-off approach.
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:20 PM
 
1,780 posts, read 2,164,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jane_sm1th73 View Post
"where the builder can afford to build them"? HA! The limiting factor is greed.

Pick up a set of house plans. Develop a bill of materials. You will note that anywhere in the country, you can build a house for $70/sq ft, all in - including land. With the exception of places where there is no more land to build on, so you'd have to knock down neighborhoods filled with delusional $800K 1000 sq ft boxes to do it.

The "builder" requires a 45% markup on every unit to break ground. Successive generations of loan owners do their best to duplicate the markup, assisted by their used house sellers. The "builder" - with a GED - considers himself qualified as an architect. Therefore, he will "design" the house that is cheapest for him to build, with the highest markup over 45% that he can extort.

In the immortal words of Cody Lundin: "The more you know, the less you need".

Personally, I advocate doing your own planning, estimation and building. You will wind up money ahead. If you insist, of course you are welcome to pay for the convenience of an already built, used edifice. However, please be aware that you may do yourself a favor once you understand the cost of a hands-off approach.
I don't think you can buy land and build your own house within a retirement community, and I know you can't do that within Colonial Heritage. As to the $70 per square foot, that's not a fair comparison, because part of what you're buying is the private, gated community, along with its many amenities.
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:29 PM
 
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I looked at the pictures. Never thought of moving to a place like that, but now....

Yeah. Maybe.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:45 AM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
I just thought of another possible advantage of a 55+ community. Very often, when we have moved, we found it hard to start new friendships with locals who had lived there a long time. It seems that their social life is already established with family and friends that they may have had for decades. If its a small town, this is especially true, no matter where you go.

But in a 55+ community, everyone has moved there and left much of their old life, and their other relationships behind. So you have a whole community of people who are looking to make new friends. Almost like the first couple of weeks as a freshman at college.
Good to hear this. This thinking is one reason I am leaning that way. I am in a bit of a rut with my life in general right now but doing well financially. I am old enough to qualify for the communities now, so I don't have to stick it out for all that long. I am not happy with where I am geographically. I want a big change.
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,767 posts, read 4,825,615 times
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We're in a community that isn't 55+, but is marketed mainly to retirees. There are families with kids, but they're few and far between. Lots of adult kids and grandkids visit because it was originally designed as a vacation community, so there are lots of fun amenities. It is the opposite of cookie cutter. We do have architectural guidelines, but they are broad and it's easy to see that there are a huge variety of homes here. We have HOA guidelines about things like the type of fencing allowed. because it would affect your next door neighbor's views if you put up a solid board fence 6 feet tall, or if you had muliple junky cars in your yard, etc. The demographics here shifted over the last twenty years into the older end of the spectrum, and now sloooowly are shifting back the other way. The housing and stock market crashes have delayed the arrival of many boomers. I think the rules here have evolved over time and now are pretty inclusive. Kids are welcome in both the indoor and outdoor pools but, if under 16, must be under supervision of an adult. No one under 16 is allowed in the weight room period. Also the pool has lap swim hours and aqua-robic hours during which time the pool is only used for that activity except for the one lane that is always lap swim. These rules are fine. I can't see why more rules are needed. Everyone is polite and it's pretty easy to sit on the opposite side of the pool from the rugrats if you're so inclined, or ask their parents/grands to rein in the little buggers.

I can't list 5 reasons I would want to be in a 55+ community, because I've never lived in one.

edited to add: Even though we are not 55+, we do have clubs and groups for all interests just like many 55+ communities, and virtually everyone here is a transplant. Making friends is easier than I'd ever imagined.
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