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6 months living in Sun City
Old 04-27-2016, 11:48 AM   #1
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6 months living in Sun City

Granted, ‘active adult’ planned communities are not for everyone and many abhor HOAs, so the anti-HOA comments are really not necessary. With that said, this is just a friendly update after 6 months in Sun City Texas (Georgetown). I apologize for the length and rambling, but if our experience is of interest to any future FIREs, that will make me feel good about the post. YMMV.

Community
There are about 7500 homes built out with a population of 13k or so. Each neighborhood is numbered and named, but everyone goes by the number. Most seem to have 70 or so homes in each neighborhood. The builder, Pulte, bought out Del Webb some time ago. They control the community until 10k homes are built, at which time they turn operations over to the Community Association.

Homes
Building quality is what you’d expect in the home price ranges offered. We are very pleased with our 8 year old 1700 sqf home. Property taxes are another story. Double what were paying for a 2400 sqf home.

HOA
HOA dues are about $100 a month. We have not heard any complaints about the HOA rules from other residents and a modification I made to our back yard was quickly approved. I’d guess there are plenty of politics played at the board level of the association, along with infighting in the committees, but it has been pretty quiet on that front. The only griping I hear is from the serious golfers who complain about various issues with the course maintenance and want another course built, which is supposed to happen at some point.

We don’t have kids or grandkids, but those that do have a few more rules from the HOA to deal with regarding svisits and family use of some of the facilities.

Ambiance
There is sameness to the homes in the use of stucco, stone or brick and neighborhoods are built out according to the model homes and options available at the time they started selling in that area. Currently, there are 11 different model homes available from Pulte, but an endless variety of external and internal options and a wide variety of landscaping tastes so we’re not put off at all by the general look of the community.

There is a neighborhood of custom homes where those so inclined built 1M+ homes that are beautiful and follow very few of the normal CA guidelines.

The community property is meticulously maintained. Landscaping is stunning with the use of native plants, shrubs and trees. There is an abundance of green belts with all kinds of wildlife. Our home has a strip of green belt separating our back yard and one of the golf course tee boxes. It’s common to drink coffee on the back porch with a family of 6 or more deer 20 yards away. Wild turkey stroll through the area. Plenty of birds and, thankfully, we’ve seen very few squirrels. Our last home had six pecan trees and hordes of pesky squirrels.

Activities and amenities
10 miles of wide sidewalks winding through the area for exclusive use by pedestrians. Multiple nature trails that lead through the woods and along creeks and rivers. Golf carts are a staple form of travel and there are 3 beautiful golf courses on site as well as pickle ball and tennis courts. There are 2 activity centers with meeting rooms and ballrooms for the dozens of clubs that are organized around interests, crafts and hobbies. Two fitness centers and multiple indoor/outdoor swimming pools are available. Several buildings are dedicated to woodworking, stained glass, pottery, doll making, quilting, painting, photography, billiards and more. A community garden adjoins the softball field and dog parks.

Social
Most neighborhoods are very active socially. You can be as extroverted or introverted as you choose. I would guess the older neighborhoods are less active due to the ages of the residents. The community is 20 years old at this point.

One of our biggest decisions involved the decision to build or buy a resale. New communities mean similar aged neighbors are all building at the same time. There’s a bond that forms early with those on your block. We decided on a resale in a community built 8 years ago. Our neighbors are mostly just a few years older, but we have never met more active and friendlier folks than our new neighbors. We wouldn’t hesitate to make the same decision again. We did look at a neighborhood that was somewhat older. We could have gotten a lot more home for the money, however it would need significant updating, plus the neighbors would generally be much older.

Our neighborhood has 6 or 7 activities and outings planned for the year. Everyone we’ve met has been extremely friendly and outgoing. The guys play poker or darts every couple of weeks. The ladies have their outings and get-togethers. About half of the residents play golf. Golf is a very social activity where you wind up with a group of comparable players. There is one social golf club called ‘Whiffs and Giggles’.

One interesting observation is that nobody cares what you did or who you were in your working life. I've become friends with folks that have never asked what I did for a living , nor have I asked the question of them. Others that know don't care and most conversations are about what we're currently doing, planning on doing or about family and the good life.

Medical
Two hospital systems in the area provide great access to healthcare. One clinic adjoins the property and you can take a golf cart to see your Doc. We do hear an ambulance go by about once a week, but that’s a good thing… help is close by. The running joke is that when you hear an ambulance it means a golf cart is for sale.

Crime
I think the only crime residents need to be aware of are scam artists who take advantage of older folks. I have heard of only 1 instance of a shady vendor. In that case a neighbor took advantage of a $99 air duct cleaning job. Turns out the scam was to use the special to get access to the attic in order to sell an ultraviolet light system to protect from mold for only $1,200. There are plenty of other reputable tradesmen and the Next Door app is where everyone goes to get recommendations and referrals for just about anything.

Hope this helps answer a question or two for those interested. I certainly tried to research everything I could when we were making our decisions on where to spend the next phase of our lives. Several on this forum were helpful.

Cheers!
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:08 PM   #2
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I enjoyed reading your summary, thanks for taking the time to put it together. Some of what you describe sounds very appealing. We don't know where we'll end up yet, plans still evolving with the luxury of time. Cheers.
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Old 04-27-2016, 12:42 PM   #3
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Also enjoyed. The idea of a homogenized community hasn't ever appealed to me, but increased opportunity for social interaction is enticing. Your description does enhance the appeal, thanks.
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Old 04-27-2016, 03:12 PM   #4
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Thanks. DM lives in Sun City Center, FL and my sisters live in Leander. Also, we've rented in retirement communities in Naples and Sarasota and are currently in the process of buying a condo in Sarasota.

On a visit to TX a couple years ago we stopped by Sun City Texas, toured the model homes and facilities and had lunch in a local restaurant. It seems quite similar to other former Del Webb communities we have visited but newer.... as you have observed commonly the people are quite friendly, generally similar age and pretty much don't care what you previously did for a living. The only negative for us was the weather as central Texas is definitely colder than central/south Florida in the winter.
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Old 04-27-2016, 04:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
One interesting observation is that nobody cares what you did or who you were in your working life. I've become friends with folks that have never asked what I did for a living, nor have I asked the question of them. Others that know don't care and most conversations are about what we're currently doing, planning on doing or about family and the good life.
That's been a huge benefit in our 55+ community as well. It's really nice to be around folks who couldn't care less what you did for a living and it never comes up. They are always interested in what you have planned for the summer (when many travel or go to homes in the north).

We have one large development with different types of homes in different areas, so there is no segregation by age. Ages in our community span 50 to 80, and we still find a wide range of ages buying in. More, and more younger folks show up (as DH and I get older).

Our community is a bit different in that the population drops to about 25% during the summer (it used to be even lower). We don't mind as it is quieter and we get the facilities all to ourselves! (just about)

We left the Texas hill country (much colder winters, less wildlife, especially in winter compared to the RGV) but it is a beautiful area, and you are very close to Austin with all the benefits of a major city with top notch shopping, dining and culture.

And I noticed that flights out of AUS are a steal these days!!!
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Old 04-28-2016, 02:44 PM   #6
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I have always wondered how it would be to live in one of those communities. Nice to hear all about it.
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Old 04-29-2016, 12:59 AM   #7
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Glad you are enjoying it. Several patients I treated lived there and loved it. High property taxes though, one of the reasons I left Texas when I retired.


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Old 04-29-2016, 09:29 AM   #8
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We have lived on our adult community in Orlando Florida for nine years, and love it more every year. We just finally bought a golf cart to toodle around in...now we're really living! Cocktail hour golf cart rides are all the fad. I couldn't assimilate to a neighborhood with kids again....and wouldn't want to try.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:00 AM   #9
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We have lived in an over 55 mobile home park of about 150 homes for about 7 years. Most homes are manufactured , as opposed to the "tin can" type. As people move or pass away, the old homes are pulled out and new ones put in their place.
We are in the south central coast of California, in a very temperate climate. We are inland just enough to get the sea breezes, but not get the coastal stratus clouds.
It took a little getting used to, since I moved from the San Fernando Valley with 2.9 million people to this small town of 29,000. I sure do not miss the 100+ degree days in the SFV LOL.
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Old 04-29-2016, 10:30 AM   #10
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It sounds great to me. Too bad I am not old enough for Sun City yet. Few more years....
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:51 AM   #11
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Very nice writeup. We looked at both Frisco Lakes and another one here in Texas, but decided on a small gated community without regard to resident's ages.
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Old 04-29-2016, 01:57 PM   #12
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A very good writeup!

Having said that, not my cup of tea. We lived in an HOA community for six years, and I hated it a lot more than I thought I would have. I much prefer the expat communities in Mexico and elsewhere. The people are more diverse, and you don't get letters telling you to do something that no one else seems to be doing. Aargh, don't get me started...
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Old 04-29-2016, 02:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dixonge View Post
A very good writeup!

Having said that, not my cup of tea. We lived in an HOA community for six years, and I hated it a lot more than I thought I would have. I much prefer the expat communities in Mexico and elsewhere. The people are more diverse, and you don't get letters telling you to do something that no one else seems to be doing. Aargh, don't get me started...
So true. I love being in an HOA and other times I hate it. We used to get letters all the time if our grass was slightly brown or whatever. Now, we have a neighbor who is letting their yard go all brown. However, last year they put a law into effect in California that HOAs can't find people for not watering their grass. So as long as this drought is in effect this house in our community looks like the Beverly Hillbillies. It's horrible.
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