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Old 01-09-2016, 07:30 AM
 
29 posts, read 27,222 times
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My wife, 56, and and I, 60, wish to retire out of state in the next few years. Due to work schedules, we are not able to rent for 1-3 months to get a sampling of the people, activities, etc. As we begin our research, we are wondering whether to focus on newer, developing 55+ communities; or, those that have been fully completed. Established communities have the advantage of known amenities and financial strength. Socially, we are guessing it will be easier to make like friends and at similar ages at a developing community . . ? Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated! ScottD
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:37 AM
 
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I opted for an established community where the homeowners controlled the HOA after living in a community where the developer controlled the HOA to his own advantage. I found no problem making friends in my present community which is now 25 years old. The population is turning over as older residents move out and younger residents move in. Out of 938 residences only 11 residents have lived here 25 years and as of next week that number will be down to 9.
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:40 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 479,466 times
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Newer communities equal newer houses and newer neighbors, like yourselves.

Some people like older communities which have established matured landscaping, as well as more matured neighbors. Although, breaking into social circles/cliques could be challenging in a long-standing community.

Since we are both 62, we wanted to have neighbors close to our age, so we chose a newer community, which is still growing. After only a few months here, we're already no longer the new kids on the block, as several other neighbors have moved in...and continue to do so.

We also wanted a newer home, since I'm not exactly Handy Andy and don't want to deal with having to fix stuff...or, more accurately, call someone to come over and fix stuff. Also, rehabbing an older home was out of the question. I'm already rehabbing my bad back...don't need another rehab project at this point in life. We decided to buy a newly constructed home, which means everything is new and under warranty.

We feel we made the right choice for us. However, as they say on this forum...YMMV.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
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If you're considering a move to an area that's totally new to you - I think it's important to rent first. To get not only a feel for a particular community - but the area in general. Whether you're talking about the weather - the traffic - the availability of services/activities you need/want - etc. Also - not all areas have newer and older retirement communities. An area you like may have one or the other - but not both. Or an area may have older communities that are closer to things - and newer ones that are farther away from things (that's the case in the area where I live).

I don't think renting is a big deal. You sell your old place - rent a new place - and move. If you like the area - you buy/build. If you don't - you move again. BTW - if a place is totally new to you - living there before you buy/build can be very important in terms of getting a handle on things like the local real estate market - and the things that are important in a house. I find that buyers coming here from up north are often clueless when it comes to the features that are important in a Florida house (as opposed to a house in Massachusetts or a similar location). Also - if you wind up buying a new house (which I would prefer - my husband and I have never been "fixer upper" kind of people) - I think it's super important for the buyer to be around when the house is being built. I've seen/read many horror stories about new houses that were built without supervision from owners (because they lived out of town).

Finally - a lot of 55+ communities here - even newer ones - have resident populations that are 70+ (or older). That's something you'll have to look into - community by community. Robyn
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
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I would opt for an established community. For me, it offers greater assurance that things will develop as planned. We live in an older development, but new homes are still built all the time as their are plenty of lots left. So the housing stock is varied and so are the people. We have residents who've been here 25 years and ones that are in their 50's that moved in this year. Since everyone is a transplant, it's very easy to make new friends. I don't know about other communities but we have a club just for newcomers in order to help them establish friendships with other newcomers. The best way to make friends is to join clubs in which you have an interest, such as the bowling league, golf club, hiking club, vintage vehicle club, bridge or poker club, wine tasting club, etc.

By contrast, a neighboring community was established just a few years ago and they have had nothing but trouble with developers that go bankrupt, and people absconding with the HOA funds, etc. They still have only the original amenities that were built at the outset and none of the other planned amenities have come to pass.

I would investigate the HOA or POA and see how they are governed and check out the financial health of the community as well as the condition of the amenities and their adequacy for the number of residents. Is the pool always packed? Are the tennis courts always busy? If so you might be frustrated by the lack of availability. Also check out the things that are necessary as far as everyday life, like proximity to grocery, hardware and drug stores, restaurants, movie theaters, doctor's offices, veterinarians, etc. If the distance to these places is not something you are comfortable with than maybe it's not for you. Are the other folks there similar enough to you to make you feel comfortable? Not saying that you have to be just like your neighbors, but do you feel like you could blend in with them and find friends? These are things that a visit of at least a week or two might reveal without having to rent for months. We did rent when we arrived, but that was so that we would have plenty of time to hunt for the right house without being rushed.

Last edited by TheShadow; 01-09-2016 at 09:08 AM..
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,365 posts, read 3,704,692 times
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A lot probably depends on your neighbors and your personality. Either new/old could work or not work. My preference would be an established community that is still expanding. Probably new construction. Try a street, loop, circle with less than 50 homes on it. Easier to try and develop a community within the community.

I would want a builder that will be around for years and interested in keeping the community in good shape.

Note renting might be rather easy in the community you think you want to move to so do not reject renting at the beginning of your search. I know a lot of retired people that build a new home but their old home sold and they rented in the new community.

But lets change the basic search. Do you want to live in a small (100 to 500 homes), medium (a few thousand) large (say over 10,000 to 20,000) or even 100,000 plus (Villages, Fl). The smaller the community the more likely the community can have financial and management problems. The smaller the less likely to have a variety of activities. The smaller the more important that you get along with your neighbors. I think you will find larger communities a better bet. But make sure you consider the location for shopping, medical etc. Keep in mind that as you get older you may not want to drive as much. Also do you want golf cart access to most of the places you have to go? Newer communities may be in commercially undeveloped areas so consider this.
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Old 01-09-2016, 11:30 AM
 
14,261 posts, read 24,000,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
I would opt for an established community. For me, it offers greater assurance that things will develop as planned. We live in an older development, but new homes are still built all the time as their are plenty of lots left. So the housing stock is varied and so are the people. We have residents who've been here 25 years and ones that are in their 50's that moved in this year. Since everyone is a transplant, it's very easy to make new friends. I don't know about other communities but we have a club just for newcomers in order to help them establish friendships with other newcomers. The best way to make friends is to join clubs in which you have an interest, such as the bowling league, golf club, hiking club, vintage vehicle club, bridge or poker club, wine tasting club, etc.

By contrast, a neighboring community was established just a few years ago and they have had nothing but trouble with developers that go bankrupt, and people absconding with the HOA funds, etc. They still have only the original amenities that were built at the outset and none of the other planned amenities have come to pass.

I agree with you completely.

Where I live, there are 13 social centers which include five full gyms and 12 swimming pools. There are dedicated facilities for a computer center, woodworking, jewelry making and 60 established clubs, all that have been in existence for years. The facilities MAY BE older but they are well maintained and i visited nearly every single facility BEFORE I purchased my home. In addition to the facilities in the development, we have a wide variety of established services like EMT, social services, fire department services and the like.

In a lot of the newest communities, you are buying the promises of the developer. The pitch is generally "we are going to put in this facility and that facility." However, you really do NOT know whether the developer will have the resources to fully develop that facility.

Even in established communities like Fairfield Glade, a lot of the amenities that were promised in the 1970s when the facility was originally developed never materialized.

I also toured one community outside of Oak Ridge, TN, where a great clubhouse was built but only 8-12 units were completed before bankruptcy.
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:53 PM
 
29 posts, read 27,222 times
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Great comments so far! Hope more folks chime in....

We could rent for a week or 2 in hopes of getting a feel. But realize that will be fairly superficial. We are considering Tucson/Phoenix as well as San Diego from Indiana. Prefer the year round weather of SD but there are zero Del Webb-like developments. Unlike AZ that has a plethora of both.

Perhaps we need to investigate each community for how they "welcome" the rookies. Especially those that are completed.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:06 PM
 
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Older communities will get you older residents. Aside from resales, most residents were your age when they built their dream retirement home.

I live in a community that is both older and new. The developer began building 20 years ago then took a hiatus and is now finishing up the final phase. I bought new 4 years ago. There is a world of difference between the new section and the old section. As a matter of fact, this is how the residents differentiate. The age span, in general, is huge with the younger, more active people moving into the new section with more aged residents, those with health problems, living in the old section. Although everyone here is friendly and we all get along, everyone seems to gravitate to their own age group for events.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:33 PM
 
1,075 posts, read 1,118,445 times
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I got the best of both worlds. I bought in an established community, but in a new section. It is not a retirement community, but everyone on my street is retired and from 59-70 in age. It is a lake community. There are about 750 homes and they are building about 150 more.
We all built new houses and moved in at the same time. We are all new to the area. We have parties and celebrations all the time. In December I had 9 parties to go to. I love my neighbor's. It would not have been so friendly if I had moved into an established neighborhood. I would choose a new community again.
P.S. The community has children, but no one on my street has any. My street was marketed as a cottage community with one story homes. It was geared toward retired people.

Last edited by organic_donna; 01-09-2016 at 04:37 PM.. Reason: Spelling
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