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Old 06-15-2017, 10:17 AM
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We have been looking at tons of over 55 communities in Florida and some in South Carolina. We are trying to decide which to visit when we make a trip in the fall....it is making us dizzy
So I thought I would put out the question to those of you that DO live in an over 55 community. What community do you live in? Would you make the same decision, if you had to do it all over again Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:48 AM
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Please do a search, above, to find a myriad of threads about this very topic.
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Old 06-15-2017, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by brava4 View Post
Please do a search, above, to find a myriad of threads about this very topic.
I have. I am specifically looking for those that DO live in an over 55 community. There may be some new people reading this thread that I would like to hear from
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Old 06-15-2017, 11:14 AM
Location: Florida
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First I think you can find a community you will like "anywhere". Thus try and narrow down locations you would like. Shore, inland, mountains, weather, lake etc. Next determine if costs are important and if they are how that will affect your choice. For your two states I am thinking taxes would be the differences. Naturally an ocean front community can be more expense than a mountain community. I guess a price range is important. Manufacture homes, brick construction homes etc. New home or used although this is probably your last decision if you budget is not a problem. Use should be a better price. Be careful as new construction is not custom construction and you may have to do a lot of work after you buy the home.

As an aside I know people who have moved to Central Fl but felt the weather restricted their outdoor activities so they moved to the mountains of SC. By the way Fl is a long state and the weather is not the same for the whole state.

I would take the 3 day stay vacations if offered. You probably will need several trips. Maybe one to SC and then one to FL. Take a couple of years. Do not buy in a hurry. Take your time. Pay more attention to the location - restaurants, medical shopping etc. than the floor plan (once you think you are down to two or three locations start considering the house)

Look at the landscaping of the communities.

What size community - small, medium, large or extra large. The larger the community the more recreation, entertainment and educational opportunities but it may get so large you have to travel long distances to activities. I would look for a few thousand to 10,000 residences at build out.

I would look for a large community in Central Fl. Start around Ocala and Rt 200. This could be a good starting point to start figuring out what is important to you.

When you take the 3 day stays be sure to go to the pools to meet and talk to people.

I would look at golf cart communities. (This does not mean you have to play golf)

Try this blog and search on questions you have. Remember we may tend to post negative comments so note the subject so you can consider it. I would make a spread sheet and list everything that comes up, location, house features, and budget.
For budget consider now, 10 years latter and then another 10 years. You may need more help as you age.

https://www.talkofthevillages.com/forums/ I do not recommend this community but you can easily rent for a week or a month and use it as a base to to explore Central Fl.

When you get down to the end of your search check out the medical facilities and your health insurance. This could be a problem. Also check auto and homeowners insurance( probably no problem). If costs are important check utility costs as they can vary by community.

I would always make an appointment with a salesman. I did not find them pushy and they can be helpful. Yes you will tour homes but ask your other questions. You can start working on what home you like but remember this is one of your last decisions to make. Location is much more important. If you are offered an ambassador be sure to accept.

Some web sites can be confusing as they may have various types of homes and services. Thus you can find a community with older resales at very reasonable sales price and all outside maintenance and new construction with you doing all outside maintenance. Thus do not let the HOA fee turn you off until you understand what it covers and what you would pay for the same services if they were not included.

One thing that surprised me is that their is lot more moving within a community and between communities that I would have guessed. You may find your have a different life style and your home is to large or small. I would error on buying to large. Especially the garage for storage.
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Old 06-15-2017, 11:22 AM
Location: Idaho
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I do live in a 55+ community . . . sort of. Retired recently and am in the process of moving. Some of my stuff is in the new home, most of it is in boxes in my old home. Expect to make another run next week with whatever is ready to go.

The 55+ community is in North Idaho, and so far, from the few weeks I've spent there, I am very happy with my choice to live there. They advertise as "a built-in network of caring friends and neighbors". That they are! Incredibly so. They are an "active retirement" community, and have the infrastructure to support various activities.

The houses are stick-built houses upon which the land is leased for a 36-year period. When I deducted the cost of the stuff I pay now that is included in the lease fee, I figure I'm only paying about $150 per month to be part of that community and have access to the clubhouse and other community amenities.

Would I do it again? Yes, absolutely. Only thing I might do different is purchase a resale instead of a new construction. Outfitting a new house can get a bit expensive.


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Old 06-15-2017, 07:53 PM
Location: Arizona
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Check the finances. Make sure enough is coming in to maintain what they have and to keep adding new. If they don't add amenities every year it means they are not preparing for the next generation. You will just sit there getting old and no new people will move in.

Make sure there are clubs. Lots of clubs. What you think you will do there and what you end up doing may not be the same. It was like that with me. As you age your interests will change so make sure there is variety in amenities and clubs.

Check out the board. Make sure it isn't a bunch of old people. You need the younger, 50's and 60's people to have a voice in decisions. That way you will not have the ones that never want change and want to keep it the way it was when they moved there in the 1980's and 90's.

I know you aren't interested in Arizona but this is worth looking at. It will give you ideas on what to look for and what other places offer.Home - Sun City, Arizona - The Original Fun City! I really enjoy living here and have never second guessed my decision.
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Old 06-15-2017, 11:56 PM
Location: Wasilla, AK
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55+ communities come in all different flavors. Some are apartments. Some are RV parks, others are mobile home parks. Then there are condos and SF homes where all the outside maintenance is done for you, but you have much higher HOA dues. And some are just regular SF homes where you are responsible for all your interior and exterior maintenance. And then there is the matter of amenities. That can run the gamut from nothing to swimming pools, golf courses, clubhouses and much more. My subdivision is all single family homes where each homeowner is responsible for everything, just like in a typical neighborhood. The only difference is no kids playing in the street. HOA dues are $255 a year and there is a community recreational network that includes 13 swimming pools and recreational centers and a lot more, which costs $475 a year. In other words, there are lots of options and the first thing I would do is figure out what's important to you and then go from there.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:38 AM
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Thank You all for posting your suggestions. believe me, I have done all my home work, several times. How ever right now I am looking for real live experiences, for those that DO live in an over 55 community. Would like to know if they would move there if they had to do it over again, and how life is there, are people happy there. A lot of things you can`t find out with just a visit. To many places to go for a play and stay
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:31 AM
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Grove Isle, Vero Beach. "Where the Tropics Begin" LOL

We have condos, single houses and 4 unit attached "villas". That means ranch house in FL.

Each has it's own HOA under the Master Association.

HOA $355 and all I pay is electric. Includes cable and extensive other stuff. High reserves. Good management and maintenance.

If you do a condo make sure you know what parts of the plumbing you're responsible for in the walls for your insurance coverage and level of comfort. It depends on the documents. In MINE, you're responsible for the specific pipes that service just your own unit. That can mean potentially 5 leaks in one bathroom LOL. Sinks, toilet, shower fixtures and shower pan.

Florida is no fault so even if you're on the second floor and leak onto the first, you each file your own claim.

If you have too many claims, they'll drop you.

But that's still better than a single standing house, too.

Yes I'd do it again.

Caveat: Even though I spent my whole life partially living in FL, I'm sick of the heat at this point in time. After 10 years full time. (also I have a dog walking business). So I'm considering moving back up North since weather will be a non-issue for me if I'm not working.

YOu can advance search my userid I've written extensively on mine and generically.

If you go to see a community you most certainly CAN speak with residents. Mine is gated and guarded but my agent let me in and I went to the clubhouses and pools talking to everyone. It was a major part of my decision.

Also GOOGLE the community for resident sites and stories.

FL also has ALL the documents recorded online you can read for 55+ because it's a HUD age qualifier.

For example you DO NOT want to live in a 55+ where the residents condone UNLIMITED VISITS by their darling grandchildren. Unless you wanna live next to a day care or never use the community pool which is filled with KIDS.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 06-16-2017 at 06:42 AM..
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:52 AM
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People on this forum tend to be secretive about where they live. Maybe you'll get some private messages? Since you seem to have narrowed things down to FL and South Carolina you might try the State forums. Maybe people there with parents in 55+ communities can give you specific information based on their parents experiences. There are also reddit forums for a lot of places and things.
All I have to offer is my mothers cousin who went from a condo around St Pete to a 55+ in one of the Carolina's (or was it the other way around?) before finally settling in a house around St. Augustine. So from that I gathered it can be hard finding the right fit. He was not your typical WASP etc. though. If you are pretty mainstream I suspect that the location, costs and economic future of the community (I don't see much about that but it would be a concern for me anyway) will be more of a concern.
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