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Old 12-27-2013, 11:11 AM
 
15 posts, read 34,886 times
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Active 67-yr senior lesbian, I am thinking of relocating from Wash DC area to Delray Beach, FL with my partner. I love progressive areas such as Burlington VT, Takoma Park, MD, but would like to live in the warmth and sun and tropical flowers, to give FL a try. Southeast FL looks a bit like a big shopping mall, very man-made and pruned, compared to the parts of the Northeast that I love, but much of the US looks like shopping malls nowadays..... My partner and I are artists, and will be retired, not need to look for work. I fear being bored and lethargic in FL, but believe that it will be what I make it. I like the idea of living near Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, so I have a small town feel of Delray Beach, but close to organizations and activities I might want to become involved in. I have been involved with Better Investing investment clubs, Landmark Education; I like yoga, Zumba, meditation, gardening, the beach, tennis, walking, biking.

That said, I would like to hear positive feedback about Southeast Florida, in particular Delray Beach and specifically 55+ communities such as Rainberry Bay. A friend suggested that there are a number of lesbians who live in that community and like it. I like the ideas of community swimming pools, gym, etc. I'm not sure what activities I would take part in, I might drive to Delray Beach for my Zumba or yoga class, etc.

I would prefer that there are a good percentage of people in the 55-75 age group, besides the over-75 population. I understand that gay people are integrated in the general society of people, which is great, so don't feel you need to focus on the lesbian aspect of this long post

- I have visited Wilton Manors, but that is more male gay, and too expensive).
- I visited Jupiter Beach which was beautiful but seemed too far from cities for me.
- I had been told I'd like Lake Worth for its progressive hippie character, but was dismayed at how rundown it was, what a huge percentage of foreclosure there was, and it did not seem like 'an investment,' but rather, other than the newly renovated casino/pool on the beach, Lake Worth still seemed in decline, other than small pockets such as Parrot Cove...

I'd rather hear what you like than criticisms, although I appreciate honest frank discussion with specifics; I read a lot about what people don't like, and there are many things I don't like about Florida; that is why I am nervous about this move. We are thinking about the $90-$135K range.. since the HOA fees are high.

It has been suggested I rent for a season; I probably will try to do that right in Rainberry Bay. Are there other nice 55+ communities to recommend that are in Delray Beach/Boynton Beach/Deerfeld area besides Rainberry Bay? Any feedback specifically about Rainberry Bay would be much appreciated....I don't want as cheap and rundown/old as Kings Point, but not luxury either. We need a 2-BR, plus patio, with garage for storage, or a 3-BR since we are artists, and need the space. Single level, no stairs. I will miss having a garden by buying a condo/villa... But a single family house seems like a burden as I age from 67 up..., especially since houses in SE FL seem older than the condo communities.

Thanks for feedback, opinions, suggestions.

Last edited by Etana; 12-27-2013 at 11:21 AM..
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:30 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
783 posts, read 532,200 times
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I can't speak to Rainberry but there is a very vibrant and growing arts community in Delray. Artists Alley have open house gallery night on Thursdays and Arts Garage has great jazz and other music events. There is ALWAYS something going on and there is a real community of locals here, it isn't jut tourists. There are also a few historic districts so we have more of the Old Florida feel, definitely less cookie cutter. I'm from the northeast having lived in Boston and NY Metro area and don't find anything lacking here from an arts perspective. And definitely a very accepting and open community, come on down
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:39 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
783 posts, read 532,200 times
Reputation: 1492
Oh and you were looking for positives . As you said South Florida has its challenges, but there are definitely a lot of positives. Here is my list - beaches are fantastic, flora and fauna gorgeous, there is a LOT to do in Delray that isn't expensive - galleries, local theater, cooking classes, golf, art and photography classes, lectures and book clubs at the library... list goes on and on. Some people might say the people in So Fl aren't nice, I haven't found this to be the case at all. The other day at Dunkin Donuts the woman ahead of me paid for my order because she thought she took too long . And if you like yoga check out Yoga Sol in Delray. Fantastic studio. I live fairly close to Rainberry Bay and the location would be very convenient for what it sounds like you want to do..
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:47 PM
 
Location: New York
33 posts, read 44,298 times
Reputation: 23
Wow Etana and Klaucka
am I interested in this thread.. Thank you Etana for your research.... I hope it fills in... I have been online for hours today in a snowstorm n NY, researching just the subject matter Etana poses. I have looked at neighborhood after neighborhood.. and am so afraid of making a huge mistake. It will be hard for me to rent for a while to"test " areas out..as I must continue working...I have pets..and a huge house in a tough area of Westchester NY ....... I'm planning to sell this.. and relocate $ (15,000 yr r.e. taxes !) . I am so done with NOT fitting in where I live. and need the next chapter of my life to be less stressful however..I won't have all that much $ to show for it as the market is bad and half of it belongs to my ex..
I am a very youthful 64, single lesbian woman and must continue working ...prob forever.... am a self employed jewelry designer selling at exhibitions. and so ...accustomed to a lot of cultural stimulation . I have relatives in communites in other areas of Florida, where either everyone is either part of a couple, or there are serious pet restrictions or everyone in the community has nine toes in the grave.

I stumbled upon the listings of homes in Lake worth and hoped that I'd finally hit something as it seemed to fit the bill re subjects Etana brings up, but the prices and the value of the houses made me suspicious and now due to her research, I see why. THank you for that.
I have been drawn to DelRay Beach in my head for a year, although I'm not sure if I will find something affordable that is safe. Frequently those two words do not go together. I am going to Dania Beach Jan 14 for a few days.. If anyone can suggest places for me to check out, I would appreciate it. I will need to get to an airport frequently.
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Old 01-03-2014, 07:53 PM
 
15 posts, read 34,886 times
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nycamberlady,
Do you know how much equity you have in your "huge house in a tough area of Westchester NY?
You don't describe what 'fitting in' would be for you. For me, probably it is Burlington, VT, Asheville, NC, or Portland, OR, but I don't really want to go any of those places. So I'm thinking what can I do activity-wise to fit in, trying to be positive now, but I imagine it will take years to feel homey in SE FL. But I crave the warmth, and if I make a mistake, I can always leave FL after a 5-7 year try.

In terms of $$, you could examine the less expensive communities such as Kings Point or my friend lives on Moonlit Drive, Delray Beach, I don't know the community name, but condos there go for $90-$110K I think. They're a bit small for us; a 2BR will be tight for us unless it has a Florida room / indoor patio, plus a garage.

What do you know about Dania Beach?
If you'll be buying alone, you can buy a smaller home...
Keep posting with what you find out.

Etana
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:28 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
783 posts, read 532,200 times
Reputation: 1492
nycamberlady, i'm laughing in an empathetic way as i will also be working forever. i expect news of my demise will be when i am late to a conference call . where i am in del ida historic district there are still some affordable bargains out there especially if you are ok with a little renovation, check out trulia or realtor.com between ne 4th and say 15th streets. usually smaller ranch homes but will have substantial yards. we also have pets (five ) so we faced the same issue as you which is why we settled on east delray as i feared and HOA would not look kindly on my pit mix. another option from a rental perspective would be to look at guest houses in this area. a lot of the older homes, even modest ones like ours can have guest houses and almost all the yards are fenced.

as etana said some of the older (built in 70s) 55+ communities are great low priced options and some even allow pets. many have been completely renovated and while they are not over the top plush they are very neat and well kept. in addition to kings point, leisureville in boynton is another one that looks nice.

WRT to Lake Worth, the prices are lower as i feel the area is still "transitioning". Delray definitely has its ghetto areas they seem to be more clearly demarcated, although they are within a mile or so of one another. But that is the way Florida is - while it took some getting used to most of the folks are just hard working folk and we havent had any issues since we moved here two years ago. Also, and this is just my non statistically based opinion but it seems like Delray has started to get past the tipping point in really getting its act together. There is so much investment and new development going on (which of course has its downside as well), combined with diligent policing that I am hoping we will continue to make this an even better place to live. And from a social perspective there are a lot of very active people in your age range, the west side of Delray can feel pretty ancient pretty fast but I definitely dont feel like Im in a retirement home in town and on the east side.


I can totally understand what a challenging decision this is and am happy to answer any more questions
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:34 PM
 
Location: SoFlo
783 posts, read 532,200 times
Reputation: 1492
oh and the other big plus with Delray is the proximity to three airports, all within an hours drive. i travel for work every other week with a fair amount of international travel and the prices and options are great. i can pretty much get anywhere direct between PBI, FLL, and MIA. all three airports now have the TSA Pre Check and I am going out of PBI i have literally left my house and been sitting at the gate in 25 minutes. nice!
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:02 PM
 
Location: New York
33 posts, read 44,298 times
Reputation: 23
Both of you have REALLY made me feel better. THANK YOU !!!! I originally had a retirement plan, without boring you with the details, it went poof last year with a real estate disaster.. Fortunately for me, I am healthy and can't believe my age. but being realistic, if I intend to have even ONE DATE before I'm dead, it can't be with my present schedule, working 8 days a week,, and even with that..making less than I did when I was 35. nothing left over to put aside for my senior years. what?
omg, they are here ! when did that happen ?

Ok..I happen to like work, but if I don't change my cost of living, I see myself either dead with my face in a pile of gemstones ( I make jewelry) or sitting on a beach someplace with jewelry in one hand and offering to braid peoples hair with the other and when they ask me where I live, I point at the dunes !

I neVer expected to live in my house alone, so closing up a house with all the intense jobs associated with that..and expenses.... and still working and being a single parent ( yorkie and 3 cats) , it is challenging to contemplate such a major life change. But what happens if I continue to stay here? More of the same.

Klaucka... and Etana......Your specific mentions of areas, streets. to look at , types of real estate to consider.. all HUGELY helpful. in fact, when I am there mid Jan...I will look at the things you listed in detail. I would love some sort of a sense of community. The only place in my life I've ever had that, is with the artisan group I exhibit with.. I don't have any community to join anywhere in my life right now, but in truth, even if I did, I wouldn't have the time... by reducing overhead, I could ..oh yeah, possibly not work 7 days a week just to pay bills. for example: I can't find anyone to share my interest in travel ! I just came back from a month in south east asia, and the only people who have asked to see my photos are internet friends, I've met from around the world ! What? and the same for Peru, China, Everywhere I've been. I just don't have commonality... and need to develop it..perhaps I need to start a travel club in Del Ray Beach !!
BTW Etana, I work in a lot of exhibiitons in wash d.c. suburbs.. in fact at the end of Jan, I will be exhibiting at the Sugarloaf Craft show in Chantilly , va. Many many of my customers work in DC

Etana, From what I read today, it may take some time for us to adjust... psychologically speaking . I also can't even imagine myself in a 2 br 2 bath condo. as I am used to a big house/yard/garage etc.. but that's all I'm seeing pretty much online.. Klaucka's comments make me feel there are things we don't easily see just randomly hitting real estate websites, also it is impossible. to get feel for neighborhood that way.
as for me, I really can't live in an apart unless it has a house feel, as in first floor. I also have to be thinking about my animals. ..(animals) I have a friend who has offered to give me her apt in boynton beach so I could use it as a base for hunting, but I don't have the time.

I also have to laugh when you say older homes.. My house was built turn of the century ( 20th !) so a house built in the 70's is new construction to me ! I have a dream...... CENTRAL AIR omg. I was paying $ 400 mo year round just for elect/gas here and couldn't even afford window a/c except for the hottest nights. ( Got that down to $ 200) As for the over 55, of course, I was scared, my brother moved into one because he was ....ah...?67 ? he moved out said everyone there was OLD as in almost dead. but I do realize they are all different. But 3 cats? I can't hide them, they have to go out.

oh yeah..what about that ??? MAJOR question, is it safe for outdoor cats in DelRayBeach area? I mean, even here in Ct, there are areas, no one lets their cat out.

OMG I AM AGAIN talking too much.. It is what I do !
thats it. THANKS again.
, .
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:33 AM
 
Location: SoFlo
783 posts, read 532,200 times
Reputation: 1492
There are a LOT of outdoor cats in my neighborhood. The biggest threat though are the cars, although I see a lot of "feral" (but very friendly) street cats that thrive in the area. Our young Persian is constantly planning his "great escape" as there is a lot of outdoor activity that he would like to be a part of. But since he hasn't been an outdoor cat since he was rescued from the streets of Newark, I'm nervous he would get hit as we are on a pretty busy street. But no one would have any issue at all with your cats being outdoors - although I can't speak for the communities.

WRT to the house size, we downsized from 5000 sq feet when we lived in Dallas to a 1600 sq foot main house and 900 sq foot guest house. Definitely an adjustment and I'm still trying to get rid of so much JUNK, but I have to say I'm really enjoying the downsized lifestyle especially since I haven't seen anything close to the $1700 per month A/C bill we faced one July in Dallas. In South Florida, you can really do a lot of "living" outside so the square footage doesn't matter nearly as much here. I also save quite a bit of $$ in gas as everything I need (pharmacy, grocery, doctors, yoga) is within biking distance. The one thing to be aware of here if you do buy is the cost of the home and flood insurance. By some miracle we lucked out and this strip of Delray is not in the high flood zone even though we are about 1 mile to the beach, but our home (essentially hurricane) insurance is $6k per year even with the highest wind impact windows you can have. And west of the 95 doesn't always mean low risk flood zone, so definitely check the FEMA flood maps.

I really enjoy looking at real estate and walk my dogs around here daily so if there are any interesting properties you see online, I'd be very happy to do a drive by and check it out. And don't worry about talking too much
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:12 AM
 
Location: New York
33 posts, read 44,298 times
Reputation: 23
YOU are a keeper. and we have a lot in common. streets of Newark ..a stray Persian ! My cats are rescues also ... the word was out that my yard was a nursery. In the last two years, I have placed two more adorable adult cats .. who insisted on living with me ( too many) and they were affectionate kissers.. I wanted to keep them and toss mine out ! at one point due to maternities, I had 8 cats here, and my dog.. and I travel all the time (domestically)

5000 square feet , yipes, now you must feel as though you are in an apartment !
the insurance quote, are we talking $6,000 a year ? is absoutely daunting. and that's with you not being in the high flood zone. I did not have this figured into my financial equation. wow.
Living here, in Westchester, I have had very few natural disaster situations over these 25 years. therefore while my heating bill is high, my insurance is not.

so do you think this insurance is prob part of the high HOA fees I'm seeing from time to time ? these fees I suspect are the reason that some of the awesome homes I've seen undervalued, in good neighborhoods..
or does one have to have this insurance ALSO... when buying a townhome in a community?
I think I haven't had right figures from my brother.. in my moving to florida analysis

Having had numerous ( investment houses with problems) houses over the years. the idea of renting is super attractive. on the other hand, with channeling that rent towards ownership, I could pay off a house in a "short time"
there I am back to ownership and issues. so the idea of buying in a development where someone else maintains everything is attractive. of course they all look alike, little individuality etc.. and 2 bedroom 2 bth seems to be the norm.. the killer is, the pet situation

One of my cats could easily stay inside all the time. Hideable. The other two ..no. my Yorkie is not a barker but she is 14.5 and I live in dread as she is 1 1/2 years past life expectancy. She is healthy but .... someday I will need a new little toy baby. I can't be living in a community that prohibits 2 (visible) cats and a teentsy dog

My sister, who I am close with.. states that she will follow me .. timing this together is another challenging issue. Now if I understood you correctly $ 500 a month just for insurance? Yipes, that makes buying a house together almost essential.

so I'm waiting to hear from you.. and as long as we are talking $ what about utilities ? can you give me a clue on that too? You are terrific. btw if you'd rather my personal email is katyasamber @ aol.com
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