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Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 03-10-2004, 12:01 PM   #1
 
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Anyone living in Southeast?

Just read the article on Retirement in Newsweek - 3/15/04 issue. That article lead me here.

Anyway, I scanned a couple threads on "best places". Saw a lot of Texas, MN, AZ, Midwest, Northwest. Didn't see much, if any, on Southeast - SC, GA, FL, etc.

Would love to read reviews of many of the golfing developments. From people who actually live there, not including those that freelance in real estate on the side.

Solivita, The Villages, WCI Communities, Ginn Company Developments, The Hammocks, Citrus Hills, Del Webb, etc.

I guess those people are outside playing tennis, rather than inside pounding on a keyboard.

Solivita has its own little forum. It doesn't have much volume. Check out http://www.solivita.net

Thanks.
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 03-10-2004, 12:38 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

My dad lives in a Del Webb community in CA, and my long time ex girlfriends mom lived in the big one in AZ. They had some similar experiences.

Couple of things to consider in these sorts of communities. If you're a golfer, check into the true costs to play. The residents own the golf course in the one my dad lives in, which is unusual...generally the Del Webb's golf courses are run as a separate business. At my dads, you can play for about a buck a hole during off times and about $25 during peak times, and there are no extra charges for using your own golf cart. Up the road aways is a new Del Webb. $45+ to play and they charge you a 'trail fee' to use your own cart on the course thats about 2/3 the price of renting a cart.

Check out the amenities in detail and make sure they suit you. My dads has "The Restaurant". The restaurant doesnt make any money and nobody goes there. Food is too expensive and not to the taste of most of the residents. Instead of changing the menu or cutting the costs, the board keeps plowing more money into "re-doing" the decor and whatnot. There is a core group of people, many of which are on the community board of directors, who "like the idea of having the restaurant around" and are willing to pay the price for the benefit, even thought they themselves dont use it. Unfortunately, the monthly CC&R dues keep escalating to suit a minorities interests.

Which brings us to the board...in his Del Webb and in my old "managed community" you often end up with a passel of folks who like to spend your money and sometimes you arent getting much in return. Many of these boards do a great job and have the interests of the community in mind. A bunch sure dont. Make sure you talk to plenty of residents and see that any expensive amenities are well used. Detail all the costs.

The difference in my dads total out of pocket costs between living in the Del Webb he's in and the one a few miles away is about 25%. Big difference in price and not much difference in quality of life.

You may find that there is some benefit in buying a nice place of your own in a regular neighborhood thats adjacent to a lot of golf and other activities.
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-25-2004, 11:54 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

My folks (64 &62) live in Solivita and are quite happy there. They bought the smallest unit 3 yrs ago with the intention of using it only in the winter. They spent one winter there, came back to PA, and sold their house (in PA) to move back full time. Since then they purchased a new, full sized, unattached house.

They are very happy with the activities and facillities. We have visited 3 or 4 times, and I've been very impressed with the gym, pools, and golf course. My parents have joined an unbelievable number of clubs and groups, and are both in the best shape of their lives.

Being from the northeast, the housing prices strike me as quite low. My folks feel that many mistakes are made in the home building process, because so many houses are going up at the same time. I think living in the area while your house is being built would be a huge advantage.

The surrounding town, Poinciana, is pretty rural, but is growing very quickly. There are a couple of supermarkets, and the standard pizza and asian strip mall restaurants, but not much else in the way of restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Evidently, all of this is in the process of being zoned and built, so things will change in the next few years.

My folks also feel that being near Orlando gets them more visits from family, which could be good or bad, depending on your situation.

Bill
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-26-2004, 04:38 AM   #4
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

You know, we looked all over that part of Florida where
Orlando is located. I was pretty familiar with the territory and a favorite aunt lives nearby. I know the
weather is more reliable (warmer) than Texas , where
we ended up. Three (3) things discouraged me:

Congestion (Traffic and people)
Mosquitoes. We like to live in the country near water.
Humidity. Very low in north Texas.

I even made an offer on a place northwest of Orlando.
Glad now we did not get it. I confess I may have missed
something as I never lived in Florida, whereas I did
(four years) in Texas. Anyway, we are committed now.

John Galt
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I'veRe: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-27-2004, 11:41 AM   #5
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I'veRe: Anyone living in Southeast?

I've had no luck finding any reviews, forums or discussions about specific active adult communities (AACs). Where to Retire magazine is a good resource, but you really won't find any negatives addressed in any of its articles. Lotsa good info, tho, & one helluva lot of ads, which I used in initially seeking info from these communities. This magazine also puts out a Top 100 Retirement Communities list each year. Many FL communities are on it (but on a list of 100, how could they not be?).

We've visited quite a few AACs in central FL, & stayed at several - Del Webb's Spruce Creek, Plantation at Leesburg & Pringle's Royal Harbor. We're going back in June to stay at 4 more & re-visit a couple.

From its info packet & video Solivita appears quite nice with excellent amenities, but also seems more expensive than most. I think the housing prices might be quite a bit higher, & their monthly fee, which includes a community development district (CDD) fee, is very high, $250+ as I recall. I've also been told that's its kind've out in the middle of nowhere. I think another AAC in that area, Lake Ashton, is also more expensive. This may be in part due to its location near Disney & Orlando, & possibly higher government (county) costs.

Counties we've looked in so far include Marion & Lake, north/northwest of Orlando. I believe costs in Marion, further away from Orlando, are overall lower than in Lake.

Many of these AACs offer 1 or 2 night stays for $50-$75 per night, & include use of amenities & a meal or 2. The meal is usually with a couple living in the community. This is an opportunity to ask lots of questions, as is spending time at the pool or fitness center. We found folks to be pretty open & honest, & plan to be much more inquisitive on our next visit.

Folks on this site have been helpful (I posted on this subject once before) but most, I think, are not inclined to give up any portion of the "I" of FIRE by being governed by the rules & regs of AACs or planned communities.

Feel free to email me if you want to exchange info.

Bill
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-27-2004, 12:29 PM   #6
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

We looked in all of those Fla. counties also, but not for
AACs. I don't think we would fit in well in those,
although I can see the appeal for some. A friend retired
about 4 years ago and resettled in a huge planned
community in central Florida. Forget the name but it is
vast. Anyway, he was extolling its virtues and I was
thinking "not for me man!" BTW, we also noticed everything seemed less expensive as we got farther
away from Orlando.

John Galt
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-27-2004, 02:03 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

John - That does seem to be true. The farther away from Orlando, the cheaper (or at least, less expensive). That is, until you get near the coasts, then the trend reverses.
I wonder if your friend is in The Villages. About mid-way between Orlando & Ocala, I don't know the actual size, but I just read it just surpassed a community in Las Vegas as the highest in annual sales, after being 2d to that community for the last several years. It recently announced another expansion, & is located in 2 counties. It looks crowded & congested, with small lots all crunched together. Big selling point is "free golf," but I've heard that brings out all the duffers (not perjorative - I'd be one of those if I played), so it's almost impossible to get tee times on the free course. Not for us.

Bill
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 04-27-2004, 06:40 PM   #8
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Yes, Bill. That is it...........The Villages.

John Galt
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 05-23-2004, 08:58 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

We retired to The Villages, Florida 6 months ago and are having a wonderful time. The present population is about 40,000 and is projected to be 100, 000 at completion in about 10-12 years. We looked at virtually every retirement community in Florida, and we found nothing that compares with The Villages. You can discover it yourself for virtually no cost. They have a visit package set up where they give you "Village Dollars" to spend in the community on food, clothes and golf such that your cost is next to nothing. Come join us!
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 05-25-2004, 11:24 AM   #10
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Hey, why soooo far South. We live in Virginia and are looking into Bay Creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It's a golf and marina community with courses designed by Arnold Palmer and some other big golfer (not my thing, but it sounds impressive). My husband and I are looking to buy a weekend house there (we're about 2 hours inland) and when we retire (about 10 years from now) we'll be there full time.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia is no where near as developed as Maryland..still very quaint (affordable), but only zip over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel and you're in VA Beach (fun, shopping, nightlife) or Norfolk (airport is pretty good).
Good luck in your search!!
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 10:33 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

We have a friend that lives in a place in FL called Homosassa. It is on what is called the Nature Coast. Home of the Manatee. He says if you like laid back, little development, old Florida, water and fishing this is the place. I have done some research on this area and am going down to check it out!
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 10:37 AM   #12
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Yep we checked out the general Homosassa Fla.
area back in our "Florida "phase, and before we settled on Texas. The information you have is pretty accurate.
We liked it, although I am not sure it was our first choice.

John Galt
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 02:11 PM   #13
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

If you have been doing some looking, I would be interested in what your first choice was and why. I'm in the Northeast. Getting a little sick on the winter although I do like to snowshoe and stuff.
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 02:25 PM   #14
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Our first choice in Florida wouldn't appeal to a large
portion of people. We like to be as far out from civilization as possible while
still having it reasonably accessible. Obviously
big water is easy to reach in Florida. Our finalists
were around Palatka on the St. Johns River (north central) and
Carravelle (panhandle). Lots of water and big areas
that are sparsely populated, not too much traffic and
reasonably priced real estate in both areas. We would not be interested in any kind of "planned" or "retirement"
communities.

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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 02:55 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Wow, the median value of owner occupied houses in Palatka is $52,200, about half the national average. Less than half of the people own their own homes, way less than the national average. That is keeping the housing costs down! The St. John's River sounds nice. I am a river rat since I was a kid. I too like less populated areas but like to cook so gots to have a place to buy quality stuff to cook.
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 06-02-2004, 03:25 PM   #16
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

I used to live in Ocala and work very near Palatka about 30 years ago. Very Hot and Humid in the Summer, but you do get used to it. Very nice in the winter though!

This area is more like Rural Alabama, Mississippi than Florida, hence the Low Prices. You won't have any trouble finding some nice Grocery Stores within 50 miles I'm sure.

Watch out for the Gators, I used to fish in the St. Johns river and I would not go swimming in it and I would hate to fall out of a boat. It is literally infested with them!
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 07-30-2004, 04:54 AM   #17
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

There are still some good opportunities in the coastal carolinas. I'm not keen on planned or retirement communities either. On the other hand I dont want to be far from the services I frequent esp. Lowe's and HD since home improvment is something I enjoy. Being near the sea presents plenty of opportunities for that!

I've visited several areas in and around the coastal NC/SC state line. There is lots of golf and fishing. Oak Island, Bald Head Island, Southport, Holden Beach, Kure Beach, and Carolina Beach (our choice) are developing. Wrightsville Beach is full. Growth in all directions seems to eminate from there. Wilmington, NC is a fine hub..it works for us.

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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 07-30-2004, 06:15 AM   #18
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Padre Island,TX all the way round to Key West,FL - DA GULF, DA GULF nothing but the gulf - no stinking mountains like where I spent half my life - WA,CO, and north AL.

Oh there are foolish souls who still like four season clime's - get thee a Jimmy Buffett record and get in the mood. Then there's the Carribean for the really wealthy - like Sir John.
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 07-30-2004, 05:16 PM   #19
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Don't forget the parrot unclemick. A marguerita would'nt hurt either.


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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?
Old 11-22-2004, 07:46 AM   #20
 
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Re: Anyone living in Southeast?

Palm Coast Florida, between St Augustine and Daytona. Great retirement area, Newer homes 120K+, weather is not as hot as Orlando and southward, low cost of living, hospital with high ratings, low hurricane risk area ........
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