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Old 08-14-2016, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,154 posts, read 8,684,984 times
Reputation: 6152

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Over 55 communities will be our first look most likely in Florida. We live in Florida and plans are to keep that home. Other states considered will be North Carolina, possibly Tennessee, SC and GA.

Activities and social friends are going to be high on the list. We have the other necessary items on the list such as closeness to medical facilities and so forth but I expect this process to take around 2 years due to still working and just taking time off when we can.

(1) Did you visit a place more than once?

(2) How long did you stay?

(3) Did you take the community's offer of "staying and paying" for their 3-4 day special they offer?

(4) If yes to #3, did you feel a lot of pressure?

(5) Did you meet a lot of other lookers/residents that made you feel welcome or did you feel it was forced?
I hear people talk about cliques and certainly want more a friendly, all are welcome place.

(6) Example - once you moved in, you had to look really hard to find all the friendly people who existed just 6 months ago?

(7) How many communities did you look at?

Due to working so much of our lives, my husband and I have missed out on a lot of the fun stuff. We both are healthy at this point!

May have more questions later. Thanks.

Last edited by Bette; 08-14-2016 at 03:18 PM.. Reason: Title: Finding the right FIT in a pre-retirement/retirement/55 plus community
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:07 AM
 
284 posts, read 259,073 times
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Hi Bette! Well I can answer some of your questions based on our experience looking for a primary retirement home in the SE. We didn't look extensively because other than the social aspect, navigable water was at the top of our wish list and that narrowed the search considerably. We did look in South Carolina, the Florida Panhandle and Tennessee, but decided on Tellico Village in East TN. We actually ended up purchasing a house on our 3rd visit, but are yet to become full time residents.

Our initial visit was a 2 night "Discovery" package through their POA (the marketing/management group). This included a land and water tour of the village, hosted by residents who volunteer their time, an appointment with one of several approved realtors, if you're interested in looking a property, and dinner at the Yacht club. Everyone we met was so friendly and because most of our conversations were with actual residents, we just never felt any pressure whatsoever. People seemed genuinely happy to be living there. We were impressed enough with the people and amenities that on our next visit, we rented a house for a week and actually invited ourselves to a couple HOA (the social group) functions just to see how we would fit in. We came away liking it more and more.

On our 3rd visit we bought our home and couldn't be happier with our neighbors. The hospitality they extended to us was warm and genuine and we look forward to being there full time next spring. My husband even commented this weekend, that for the first time since college, he feels like this place will give us the sense of community we've been missing. I have to agree.

Check out their website if you'd like ... tellicovillage.org
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Old 08-15-2016, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Boca Raton, FL
5,154 posts, read 8,684,984 times
Reputation: 6152
Smile Thank you!

This was actually on our list and your comments were exactly what I was looking for.

The sense of community plus social is what we need. My husband also has relatives in East Tennessee so that would be nice for him.

I really appreciate your reply.

PS - Could not edit the title "Finding the Right Fit"
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Old 08-16-2016, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,355 posts, read 3,689,532 times
Reputation: 4074
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bette View Post
Over 55 communities will be our first look most likely in Florida. We live in Florida and plans are to keep that home. Other states considered will be North Carolina, possibly Tennessee, SC and GA.

Activities and social friends are going to be high on the list. We have the other necessary items on the list such as closeness to medical facilities and so forth but I expect this process to take around 2 years due to still working and just taking time off when we can.

(1) Did you visit a place more than once?

(2) How long did you stay?

(3) Did you take the community's offer of "staying and paying" for their 3-4 day special they offer?

(4) If yes to #3, did you feel a lot of pressure?

(5) Did you meet a lot of other lookers/residents that made you feel welcome or did you feel it was forced?
I hear people talk about cliques and certainly want more a friendly, all are welcome place.

(6) Example - once you moved in, you had to look really hard to find all the friendly people who existed just 6 months ago?

(7) How many communities did you look at?

Due to working so much of our lives, my husband and I have missed out on a lot of the fun stuff. We both are healthy at this point!

May have more questions later. Thanks.
You are off to a good start. It takes time to make a decision and you may not finalize it until a year or two after retirement.

#1 Yes. Picked a big developer and visited communities in several states that we had come up with as possibilities. We decided the builder did not stand behind his communities and selected a different builder than we started looking at. The first round of looking was more toward what are the communities like and to help us determine what we wanted.

#2-4. We tried to stay using their facilities. Some have ambassadors (residences) to show you around. Although I do not like "salesman" you definitely want to meed with the properties salesperson and take their tours. You can get lots of answers to questions on a lot of topics. I would say not using then is a waste of time. I was also very surprised how little pressure they put on you to buy. I think the idea is they show x number of prospects and they will sell y number of homes and they do not have to be high pressure to do that. I would not buy on my first trip anywhere and I would let a couple of months pass before making the decision. Remember this is not a vacation so look at the area as if you lived their. We did rent a home for two weeks at one place. If you can consider renting for maybe 6 months or a year before you buy. I know a lot of retired people who are on their second retirement home. Most in the same community. The trend is to move to larger homes for a number of different reasons. As you check out sites ask the salesman about second home moves and why the people made the move. Larger garage, storage and more entertaining are major reasons. Your life style will change.

#5 Very friendly. Go to the pools and hot tubs. You will be able to meet people and they will all (ok most) be glade to tell you about their community. The bias will be positive which is natural. Being able to use the facilities is one reason to stay at the community.

Don't think you can avoid cliques. It just happens. People group around their interests. I think if you move into a new construction area of a large community you will have the best chance to minimize them.

#7 Probably 10. They have a lot of similarities. Thus location is a major difference. We did find some differences between builders in customizing the homes. You want to be sure you can get to a grocery store, doctors etc. Some communities were up to 10 miles from what we would need on a daily basis. Remember driving may become a problem. In some communities we could go by golf cart to most everything. We like that. We are probably less than 2 miles by gold cart to most of our daily activities. Our neighbor traded a very nice car for a golf cart after 6 months. Consider public transportation but you will probably not find any.

After a couple of visits start to figure out what state you want, lake front or ocean property, mountains or low lands etc. Next community size - small, medium, large or very large. I lean toward large as they have more activities and should have a better financial base. After that how convient will it be to get to the services you need, keeping in mind that you are getting older. Then I would look at the home itself and try and figure out what I would do in each room. Note the first couple of communities you were looking at the homes but I have this as one of the last items to worry about. But you have to start somewhere and looking at the home is a start. You probably have a lot of communities close buy so you might start day trips to a few to start working on your list of must haves. Then you can start on staying at the communities you might like. If you can, rent in the community you think you want to buy in. You can not learn everything in two or three days.

Sounds like travel might be in your mind. If you need airports consider this. How will you get to and from the airport etc.

Since you live in FL I would tend to stay in Fl unless the summer heat is a negative. Then look for the mountain area of the states you mentioned.

This blog may have some interesting questions that will help you. Search past history. I am not recommending the community, just the blog. Talk of The Villages - The Villages, Florida But it is easy to get weekly or monthly rentals there so a visit early in your looking might help you develop your list of must haves.
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