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Old 02-26-2010, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
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"Leisureville" is a good book to read if you're considering an over-55. It's focused mainly on The Villages in FL, but does talk about the Del Webb communities in AZ. It provides a lot of food-for-thought on the pro's and con's of these communities and things to look out for. My Mom's in an over-55 in FL. It was built in the 80's so it's kind of "plain" on the outside compared to the snazzy new developments. However, it's an established community with long-time residents, not a new development with flippers, speculators, foreclosures, delinquent condo fees, inadequate reserves, etc. Doesn't have a golf course (does have a large pool and clubhouse with activities) so the fees are reasonable. Does have a lot of snowbirds, but it's by no means a ghost-town in the off-season. One problem is that the long-time residents are getting older and not able or willing to volunteer for the condo Board or to run the activities. At one point, they were close to having a real problem due to lack of willing candidates for the Board. From personal experience, I know it's a thankless job and people burn out quickly. There is a property management company to run day-to-day operations, but still the board is supposed to be comprised of owners.

Other than that, it's a very pretty, well-kept, quiet community that my mother is very happy to live in. Not a Del Webb, but same concept on a much smaller scale.
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:46 AM
 
8,181 posts, read 11,902,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon08 View Post
"Leisureville" is a good book to read if you're considering an over-55. It's focused mainly on The Villages in FL, but does talk about the Del Webb communities in AZ. It provides a lot of food-for-thought on the pro's and con's of these communities and things to look out for.
I read Leisureville and enjoyed it immensely. That said, I would not recommend it for someone looking for an objective view of 55+ communities. The author himself admitted his bias against such communities from the start. And as you know, that is why he went to live in The Villages for a little while and write his book. He couldn't understand why his neighbors were moving away from him and their town and moving to an age-restricted community with no children.

The other issue of course is that the size of The Villages alone makes it unique among 55+ communities. I believe that it spans three counties and has 100,000 residents. The grounds include several town squares, each with shopping, dining, businesses and nightly entertainment.

A good site to read about The Villages is Talk of The Villages - The Villages, Florida
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Old 02-27-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
51 posts, read 178,357 times
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A couple of interesting thoughts brought up that I'd like to comment on.

With respect to average ages. Down the road a piece from our Sun City is another, older Del Webb Sun City. It's maybe 15 years older. Many of our residents came here from there because of the age difference. The average age here is probably in the early 60s. At Sun City Palm Desert, it's closer to the mid to late 70s. People moved down the road to get into a younger 55+ community. But an interesting thing is happening. As the Sun City Palm Desert ages, it's inevitable that folks move away, or, I'm sorry to say, pass away. Those homes are being purchased by folks much closer to 55 than to the average age in the community. Right now we (Sun City Shadow Hills) is aging and our neighbors (Sun City Palm Desert) are actually getting younger (on average). We figure in 10 to 15 years, we will be the older community!

Second thought was on snowbirds. We are snowbirds, as are many of our neighbors. On the street I live on there are perhaps 4 or 5 permanent residents, and 12 or 13 snowbirds. It is pretty empty around here during the summer months. For some, that's not a problem. Our next door neighbor is a full timer and loves it. She's a widow and lives alone, but has a son who lives in a nearby city. She loves it when the snowbirds arrive, and she loves it just as much when we all leave! There are some groups that sort of disband in the summer and take up again come Nov 1st. Others, like the Bunco group my wife just went to, are looking for all full timers so they don't have to suspend or look for substitutes in the summer.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
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When I looked at Laguna Woods (CA) last year, the average age was, like, 78 or some such thing. I wasn't even 60 yet! The problem is a lot of those communities were built years ago and many of the residents are the original owners. Those owners are now late 70's or 80's. Which means, as they pass away or move to LTC, a younger population needs to replace them. But will they? That was one of the points that was made in "Leisureville" -- that those communities are aging right along with the residents....the facilities, the infrastructure, etc. The HOA fees and reserves need to cover replacement and repair of aging common-area facilities. The amenities that were important back in the '70's or '80's may not be the same to the younger retirees of today. The style and layout of older condos or homes may not appeal to the younger generation. It is definitely something I had not considered, but is a valid concern. Personally, I don't think I'd care if the average age at Laguna Woods was 78....all I know is, it's probably the best bargain in Southern Calif. real estate and if I want to be around younger people, I can get in my car and drive to them. However, those issues can certainly affect resale value.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:13 AM
 
6,989 posts, read 6,981,700 times
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Default Trouble Renting/Reselling in Older 55+

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon08 View Post
When I looked at Laguna Woods (CA) last year, the average age was, like, 78 or some such thing. I wasn't even 60 yet! The problem is a lot of those communities were built years ago and many of the residents are the original owners. Those owners are now late 70's or 80's. Which means, as they pass away or move to LTC, a younger population needs to replace them. But will they? That was one of the points that was made in "Leisureville" -- that those communities are aging right along with the residents....the facilities, the infrastructure, etc. The HOA fees and reserves need to cover replacement and repair of aging common-area facilities. The amenities that were important back in the '70's or '80's may not be the same to the younger retirees of today. The style and layout of older condos or homes may not appeal to the younger generation. It is definitely something I had not considered, but is a valid concern. Personally, I don't think I'd care if the average age at Laguna Woods was 78....all I know is, it's probably the best bargain in Southern Calif. real estate and if I want to be around younger people, I can get in my car and drive to them. However, those issues can certainly affect resale value.
Some friends of ours bought a 55+ home in AZ. they are in their very early 70's. They decided they wanted to move "back home" and put their house in the 55+ up for sale. No takers. They tried renting, but the renter, who was age 55, said it was full of old people and left. They still have the place just sitting there. Plus they have bought another house back home. A financial difficulty.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:14 AM
 
6,989 posts, read 6,981,700 times
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Default The Point is to Make Friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon08 View Post
When I looked at Laguna Woods (CA) last year, the average age was, like, 78 or some such thing. I wasn't even 60 yet! The problem is a lot of those communities were built years ago and many of the residents are the original owners. Those owners are now late 70's or 80's. Which means, as they pass away or move to LTC, a younger population needs to replace them. But will they? That was one of the points that was made in "Leisureville" -- that those communities are aging right along with the residents....the facilities, the infrastructure, etc. The HOA fees and reserves need to cover replacement and repair of aging common-area facilities. The amenities that were important back in the '70's or '80's may not be the same to the younger retirees of today. The style and layout of older condos or homes may not appeal to the younger generation. It is definitely something I had not considered, but is a valid concern. Personally, I don't think I'd care if the average age at Laguna Woods was 78....all I know is, it's probably the best bargain in Southern Calif. real estate and if I want to be around younger people, I can get in my car and drive to them. However, those issues can certainly affect resale value.
But our main reason to move to a 55+ is to make friends our own age. I like much older people, but want to be around folks my own age. Otherwise, I can just stay in the community where I am, which is full of 35-45 year olds and kids.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Texas
2,847 posts, read 1,957,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staywarm2 View Post
Some friends of ours bought a 55+ home in AZ. they are in their very early 70's. They decided they wanted to move "back home" and put their house in the 55+ up for sale. No takers. They tried renting, but the renter, who was age 55, said it was full of old people and left. They still have the place just sitting there. Plus they have bought another house back home. A financial difficulty.
That is the economic situation right now in Arizona. That's where we moved to Texas from. Can't sell things there. Not a problem where we are now. The economy is still good here and houses are selling. In 5 months, 5 sold on our street, and sold signs on 6 more lots in the past 3 weeks.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 657,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staywarm2 View Post
Some friends of ours bought a 55+ home in AZ. they are in their very early 70's. They decided they wanted to move "back home" and put their house in the 55+ up for sale. No takers. They tried renting, but the renter, who was age 55, said it was full of old people and left. They still have the place just sitting there. Plus they have bought another house back home. A financial difficulty.
The bulk of the 55+ communities are located in the "sunshine states", CA, AZ, FL and NV. Keeping in mind, those areas are still suffering from an enormous housing bust. So, it is not surprising your friends home is just sitting on the market.

A friend from Pittsburgh was telling me recently her cousin and his wife bought a home several years ago in an upscale 55+ gated community in Gilbert, AZ. The cousin was complaining because there were so many forclosures in their community. I was surprised because I was under the impression that most retirees paid cash for their retirement homes. I guess not. Maybe with the loss of equity in their permanent homes and the hit to their 401k's did not allow them to pay cash for their dream home. Some people just do not want to give up their dreams even though their financial situation has changed dramatically.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:45 AM
 
6,989 posts, read 6,981,700 times
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Default $10 to download the "Talk of the Villages" Book

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
I read Leisureville and enjoyed it immensely. That said, I would not recommend it for someone looking for an objective view of 55+ communities. The author himself admitted his bias against such communities from the start. And as you know, that is why he went to live in The Villages for a little while and write his book. He couldn't understand why his neighbors were moving away from him and their town and moving to an age-restricted community with no children.

The other issue of course is that the size of The Villages alone makes it unique among 55+ communities. I believe that it spans three counties and has 100,000 residents. The grounds include several town squares, each with shopping, dining, businesses and nightly entertainment.

A good site to read about The Villages is Talk of The Villages - The Villages, Florida
I paid $10 to download the book about The Villages off their TOTV website. (Not Leisureville book.) It was rather useless, except for some moving in type info--phone, etc. It didn't give any negatives AT ALL! Or any help in dealing with problems. Waste of money...
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
4,404 posts, read 5,919,009 times
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Staywarm, yes, that would make sense if it's from The Villages' website -- probably just a marketing tool, but surprising you had to pay for it! That's why I appreciated reading Leisureville, which admittedly did contain many more negatives than positives.

That said, I know quite a few people who have moved to The Villages. I have not heard of ONE PERSON who didn't like it. I ran into a couple at the auto tag place here in PA who said they had just moved back from The Villages. I thought, "Finally! Someone who didn't like The Villages....now I'll get the real scoop!". But nooo, turns out they LOVED it there....they moved back home to PA solely due to family obligations. I've been there and I know it's not my cup-of-tea (too far from the ocean), but I do think it's impressive that I haven't been able to find any critics other than the guy who wrote the book, LOL!
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