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Retire to Florida
Old 11-08-2008, 04:40 AM   #1
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Retire to Florida

Anyone retire to an over 55 only community in Florida?
I am looking at the Villages for a good central Florida location and to be closer to the grandkids (in Lakeland). It gives me lot's of Golf and motorcycling opprotunities year round. Not at all sure about the tight age restrictions but like the ammenities and price. The real estate market there does concern me but is so reasonably priced compare to central NC that I could pay cash wiht my equity and just kick back and play forever.
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:44 AM   #2
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Anyone retire to an over 55 only community in Florida?
I am looking at the Villages for a good central Florida location and to be closer to the grandkids (in Lakeland). It gives me lot's of Golf and motorcycling opprotunities year round. Not at all sure about the tight age restrictions but like the ammenities and price. The real estate market there does concern me but is so reasonably priced compare to central NC that I could pay cash wiht my equity and just kick back and play forever.
Airman - there is a long thread about the Villages here:


The Villages in Florida?

I know little about the Villages or Florida other than this thread or Miami Vice...

R
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #3
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Grew up in South FL and we didn't call Century Village (the only community of its type at the time) "God's little waiting room" for nothing.

Why live in such a socially stratified setting as an over 55 only community? Older folks still have benefits to afford to younger neighbors, experience, time, interests, even setting the example for a dynamic senior lifestyle.

Young folks have benefits to afford to older. They bring vibrancy, life, excitement, and expectation to the neighborhood.

The older neighbors can help the younger with child care, education, and their time. The younger help the older through jobs that may be beyond the older's capabilities, from house work and chores to friendship and companionship.

There's nothing sadder than the quiet of a neighborhood without kids. I speak from experience, as the real estate market of the past ten years has turned our once family neighborhood into a neighborhood of either "dincs" or retirees, most of whom use our little colonial city cottages as their second home. The silence in the streets is deafening.

In Central Florida, there are real towns where you can live and be part of an actual community. Perhaps Gainesville, Sanford, or such...Micanopy for a little community that is a real place. Orlando even offers neighborhoods outside the usual suburban sprawl driven blight.

You get what you pay for, and living in the Villages would be a soul-less existence.

Ok, all the retiree condo commandos are now free to flame.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:39 PM   #4
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Check out Ponte Vedra Beach...........A golfers dream and not too far from Lakeland
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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There's nothing sadder than the quiet of a neighborhood without kids.
I love the sounds of shrieking in the morning.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:42 PM   #6
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Airman,

My folks are in Casa Del Sol, on 27S about 30 minutes from Lakeland. While they love it, It is dwarfed by some of the new communities. I would suggest that you sub-lease at one of the communities so that you can check out the area before you commit. Their park the annual rent varies from low 4k to low 5k depending on whether you have AC and/or Screened Porch.

Jim
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:33 PM   #7
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I love the sounds of shrieking in the morning.
i was especially fond of the kid 2 doors away who used to ride his bike through my newly planted cedar trees. i asked him nicely to please stop the 1st time, then firmly told him to stop the 2nd time. when i caught him doing it the 3rd time, i had no choice but to ban him from the property. his pedals were knocking the cedars right down. and he thought it was funny. lovely child.
i was so sorry when they moved. a side benefit - my doorbell no longer was rung by people in suits with books in their hands, looking for a handout...oops, darn keyboard slips...contribution.

if anyone needs a really good cook for a week or two and will pay airfare roundtrip to FL in the winter, let me know.
i DO agree with the varied ages in a neighborhood concept, though. all one age group would be weird.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:50 PM   #8
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I also grew up in S. Fla (Actually, spent my teenage/college years there...dad retired when I was still in high school). We lived in a "regular" suburb that was a mix of working and retired folks; more young working families than retired, actually. It was very much like any suburb anywhere, as I recall.

Not sure how useful my perspective is, since it's from 30+ years ago, but I remember my parents--who were over 60 at the time--not wanting to spend too much time around the people they met who were denizens of the so-called "Leisurevilles" (nearby retirement complexes). My parents preferred to be around folks who could talk about something other than their grandchildren and their illnesses/operations (which my parents, who had health problems of their own, referred to as "the organ recital.") Of course, I myself didn't spend much time around those folks--I was busy running around with other teenagers. So this is not really my perspective, but that of my parents.
As for not liking to put up with obnoxious, screaming kids...well, those grandchildren visit those retirement villages an awful lot...and they tend to be very spoiled....
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:05 PM   #9
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We lived there for 19 years. First stop was Orlando. Did not care for Orlando - too expensive, too tourist oriented. Left Orlando within 6 months and went up to just south of Jacksonville (Orange Park). Really, enjoyed it there for the next 18 and half years. I always wondered why my Uncle (now deceased) always said if you go to Florida do not go south of Jacksonville - now I think I know why. We still have a DS and his family residing in our old house in the OP Country Club. Area is (was) starting to get a little overbuilt and a lot more crowded than when we first move there (but where is it not now). Jacksonville is pretty diversified but still is a pretty military oriented area - Military Hospital and large Exchange and Commissary at NAS JAX is well utilized. LOTS of Golf Courses, good Ocean fishing nearby, close to St. Augustine (35 miles), Orlando (130 Miles). We left to live near a DD and her family and do not intend to go back - going to start looking out west. Frankly, IMO those "over 55" communities are not what we want yet. We are well over 55 (68/70) and have looked at a lot of them in the past. Sort of like going back to elementary school where the teachers tell you what you can or cannot do (forget that).
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #10
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When I was moving to Florida I made a list of what I wanted ( good hospitals , nice downtown,safe , decent airport , beach ). We then narrowed down the location and then we rented for eight months . Renting gave us time to look around and make a good decision on where we wanted to be . We also got the local newspapers for six months before we arrived in Florida . All these things helped us make a good decision .
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:50 PM   #11
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With 17 million denizens Florida, somewhat like California, has the breadth and diversity of a whole country. There are retiree developments, Latino communities, water, tropical and subtropical weather, unspeakable wealth and poverty.

We truly enjoy this state, if not everything about it. Almost anyone who wants this climate can find some area they would enjoy.
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:18 AM   #12
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I've had grandparents, and uncle, and now my parents live/retire to Sun City Center, FL just south of Riverview, near Apollo Beach/Ruskin. It is a very neat, relaxing retirement town - very well organized by the corporation that now runs it (WCI?) - used to be Del Webb Corp. The housing available varies from small crackerbox studio condos to large $400k homes. There is a lot to do - over 100 social groups from travel groups, motorcycle enthusiasts, softball, tennis, golf leagues - you name it. The cost of living there can be very affordable - I think most people are scared by the monthly association fees - but a lot comes with that (recreational memberships, pools, h20, lawn maintenance, and I believe exterior condo/villa insurance if you live in one).

The golf is very good there. I've been golfing for over two decades and go to SSC to visit and get as much golf in as body can take. SSC is only 20 miles south of Tampa - where you can find major league sports (NHL, NFL), and over the Sunshine Skyway the other direction, you can head to St Pete to watch the AL Champion Rays play in addition to visiting beaches, restaurants, etc.

Living amongst families with small children usually means unkept poorly maintained lawns, cars on bricks in the front lawn, litter, loud cars w/ loud stereos. Not my idea of a relaxing time. I don't agree w/ the above that you lose your vitality in retirement communities. I see more people exercising at SSC during my visits than your avg family neighborhood. I see friendships that last decades - as I've seen with my parents at SSC and their friends.

Healthcare is readily available in Tampa (ask Rich). Shopping in Brandon (although very congested).

Would recommend you visit a SSC site. They're not all gomers there.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:17 PM   #13
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Great ideas and suggestions. I think renting for a while is definitely a wise thing to do. Again many thanks
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:42 AM   #14
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Hello...lots of good ideas here. We are 3 month a year transplants but feel like we are getting the lay of the land a bit.

To each his own, but here is what we are doing and enjoy it. We rent a 3 bedroom fully furnished home Jan 1-April 1 for a great low price including all utilities and heated pool about 2 miles south of Disney World. Community is about 50/50 owner occupied vs. weekly rental homes. FYI, it is about 30 minutes from Lakeland where I officiate a lot of my high school basketball and baseball games in Jan, Feb, and March.

We love it. Others can comment, but we have less traffic hassles here during the winter than anywhere on the coasts or in the Villages area.
As noted by others, we love the neighborhood, the kids, the school buses, the dogs being walked, and the divergence.

Spouse works at Disney World about 10 hours a week and loves it. Meets people from all over the world. Gets paid to smile and have fun!
We are more hyper action types and sitting around in 55 plus place is just not what we want, but know many who do. There are so many of these places that I would shop around. Many folks say NO to manufactured homes, but to be honest some of the nicest places we have visited ( and we like to visit and tour for the fun of seeing different locations, decorating, prices and so on) have been several manufactured home golf developements. Problem there is we see lot rents going through the roof.

Homes in the development we live in were at $250,000 plus 2 years ago and can now be found for under $150,000 or even less. Might require a little fix up here and there, but good deals.

So, we like central Florida for the price, the fun, and if you stay on the right roads, the lack of traffic hassles.

Enjoy and good luck...Ted
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:05 PM   #15
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Hello...lots of good ideas here. We are 3 month a year transplants but feel like we are getting the lay of the land a bit.

To each his own, but here is what we are doing and enjoy it. We rent a 3 bedroom fully furnished home Jan 1-April 1 for a great low price including all utilities and heated pool about 2 miles south of Disney World.

...Enjoy and good luck...Ted
I'm thinking that I might suggest to my wife that we try a month long rental in Florida (or another southern clime) next year. (We're going on a cruise this year which will eat up discretionary funds for that sort of thing.) I don't dislike winters in Vermont, but I'm thinking it might be nice to try a getaway for the month of February and see how that goes. I know a lot of people do it for a month or so the first couple of years and gradually increase their time away to the point where they're effectively snowbirds. We shall see.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:09 PM   #16
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Ted, I'm curious of the names of some of the communities/housing subdivisions you're talking about where the homes are reduced so much. I'm moving the Tampa next Summer, but will consider the Orlando area if moving close to the relatives in Tampa is too much. Would you mind sharing?

Thanks-
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:54 PM   #17
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Ted, I'm curious of the names of some of the communities/housing subdivisions you're talking about where the homes are reduced so much. I'm moving the Tampa next Summer, but will consider the Orlando area if moving close to the relatives in Tampa is too much. Would you mind sharing?

Thanks-

I live in Sarasota and I would be hard pressed to name a development that was not heavily on sale . Have you considered Lakewood Ranch ? It's a huge development in east Bradenton to Sarasota . It has every imaginable type of condo, villa or house , several golf courses ,lots of clubs , shopping and easy access to Tampa and lots of older singles .
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:58 PM   #18
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Airman,

Haven't retired to an over 55, but my Uncle/Aunt lived out their final days in Sun City Center (mentioned here by some). It was a wonderful spot - for them. Clean, quiet, safe, etc. I loved visiting them there.

My MIL lived several years at an over 55 in midwest after FIL died. She never liked it but we loved to stroll the place and meet the great (relatively well-off) neighbors.

Never been a big fan of lots of kids, so I think I would eventually think about an over 55. But, for now, at 61, I hope it's a few more years into the future for me. I still like the interaction of many ages. Oddly, I do find myself attracted to older friends. That can't go on a lot longer, obviously. I'm becoming that older person, now.

You need to visit and maybe rent if that's possible. Get to know some folks in prospective over 55's and get the lay of the land. The good news is, no matter what you do, you can change your mind. If you decide to move out of an over 55, there should be a growing market and you'll come out financially with any luck at all. Do your research and I think you'll make the right decision.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:02 PM   #19
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I live in Sarasota and I would be hard pressed to name a development that was not heavily on sale . Have you considered Lakewood Ranch ? It's a huge development in east Bradenton to Sarasota . It has every imaginable type of condo, villa or house , several golf courses ,lots of clubs , shopping and easy access to Tampa and lots of older singles .
Thanks for the suggestions. Will look into Lakewood. I like that area -
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:46 AM   #20
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Oma, I will be brief here about your question and you can PM me if you have more specific questions. There are literally thousands and thousands of fully furnished homes and condos 2 to 20 miles south of Disney for rent. Here is map of the developements that have these properties. Each development has hundreds and hundreds of properties.
Orlando Villa Location Map

We ALWAYS rent directly from the owners with no middle people to increase cost. We have done 4 winters now and have had no problems.
If you want to see some of the homes go to VRBO® Orlando Vacation Rentals - Orlando Florida & Disney Vacation Rentals
This starts with one bedroom and goes up.
You can also see more homes at www.lastminutevillas.net Here you can send out a mass email to hundreds of owners giving them the dates you want for your month or more and a price you are willing to pay. They will respond with yes or no and usually a site with pictures, locations. Utilities are always included in the price and they are fully furnished.
It takes a little time and work but it is fun for us and we get very good prices. For about $1400/month you can find 3-4 bedroom homes. The closer to Lakeland the lower the price as a rule because you are farther from Disney....We know the communities pretty well. Some will have virtually no year round residents as they are all rentals. Others will have be about half and half. If you want more info let me know...
All the best...Ted
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