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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-27-2006, 11:14 AM   #21
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Caroline:
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This idea has really captured my interest, Akaisha. I probably get MORE interested the closer I get to the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, and the beginning of a new work week. I've been working to get my mind around the idea -- move from California, sell the house, live in a small unit, live in ARIZONA, etc. etc. There are a lot of ponderables.
So happy the idea has struck a chord with you, Caroline. Yes! There are lots of ponderables… If you stay mentally flexible and try things out in different combinations, you’ll eventually find one that suits your lifestyle very well.

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I wonder if the folks who live in these places, many of whom travel like yourself, ever rent them out for the short term? Or maybe the parks themselves have rentals? If so, is there a mechanism (bulletin boards, newsletter, etc.) that allows them to do so? Is there some way that folks interested in renting for a short while could get in touch with them?
Yes, many many people rent their units out monthly or for the ‘whole season’. We have people who are still working full time jobs and come here for the holidays, long weekends, or short vacations. There are those who have 2 or more homes, including one in the mountains, so this one they only use part time.

There are others, who, due to illness or other reasons, have chosen to keep the model, not use it personally and simply rent it out until they feel comfortable in letting it go.

You can contact the office at any of these places and ask what is for rent or sale. Ask how much and for how long, etc. Come and visit -- and then get local right away. Reason is, when you know that John who hangs out at the pool has a unit for rent $400 a month cheaper, then you don’t have to go through the office any longer, and can save that $$. Many of the people here rent to the same people year to year, or to friends of those people, etc. Word of mouth is the way to get the deals.

Also, you might want to try a few different communities. Maybe the tennis or golf or other clubs, dances, social orgs. etc. appeal to you in another park. Maybe you find you want a larger park with more options or a smaller one with a real neighborhood-y feeling. You don’t always know until you live in one.

Trying them on for size is a great way to know for sure!

Youbet
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Did your parents own or lease the land the double wide was sitting on? Sometimes land value escalates and more than overcomes the depreciation of the housing unit sitting on it.
My parents leased their land. The price appreciation was simply due to the fact that their location was coveted. They were walking distance to grocery stores, a movie theater, Ace Hardware, the city park and ˝ mile from the beach.

That being said, the ones here that offer the park model and the land are initially more expensive, but of course, the land appreciates also.

My initial point of course, was that there are lots of options available. There is no one size fits all. That is why on our second page: http://retireearlylifestyle.com/a_a_...ities_list.htm
I offered so many choices.

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The low priced dpreciated examples you gave show this to be the case.
Exactly. You can’t have it both ways. The ones that go for $3,000 fully furnished and a year’s free rent or $7,000 fully furnished simply won’t appreciate. That is why Billy and I call this ‘throw away housing.’

If you buy one of these, even for $10,000-$12,000 and live in it for ˝ dozen or a dozen years… and then walk away.. Who cares? Or… you could donate it to one of the many charities in the area. They love this stuff. You can donate your car and boat too! or for that matter, when you move in and don't like the furnishings, just call these charities and they will come to your door to pick up the stuff.

Be well,
Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-27-2006, 05:55 PM   #22
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

One of the draw backs is that many of these communities do not allow large dogs. My best buddy these days is my golden retriever.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-27-2006, 09:49 PM   #23
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Akaisha,
I got DW to read your posts; we're going to look into Florida areas early next year. It seems to be a good cost effective way to just park everything and then travel. Not the only way, but certainly worth looking into. Thanks for the info.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-27-2006, 10:32 PM   #24
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

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One of the draw backs is that many of these communities do not allow large dogs.
You call that a drawback? ;-)

Seriously, I love dogs, and large ones at that. And I'm glad you have a buddy, Oldbabe -- I'm in the market for one myself -- maybe a standard poodle to get around my allergies. But after listening to my neighbor's mutt bark non-stop for weeks at a time, I'm thinking this policy might have some positives to it.

How large is large, according to these policies? Seems like a fair policy would go by decibles, not size... Some of those little guys can yip up a storm.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-28-2006, 08:53 AM   #25
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Caroline, I agree that the size of the dog is not very relevent.

We used to have standard poodles and the last one died a few years ago. Great for people with allergies but you do spend a lot of time grooming. Good smart dogs, and ours were not barkers at all. But their size alone was intimidating to some people. Our largest, Spike, weighed 75 pounds but was the gentlest dog I ever have know.


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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-29-2006, 02:11 PM   #26
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Our community is “pet friendly”. Some people have 3 dogs in their rigs or park models. This one guy, (who has 3 dogs) has a yipper, a 20+ pounder and one that looks like he is about 35+ pounds. He gets on his motorized not-exactly-wheelchair/motorcycle and takes them to the compound every morning for their ‘constitutions.’

Several have chocolate labs or golden retrievers, others have those lap-type dogs. Cats seem to be less common, but you can’t always tell, since cats can easily hide from attention.

Eagle43
Quote:
I got DW to read your posts; we're going to look into Florida areas early next year. It seems to be a good cost effective way to just park everything and then travel. Not the only way, but certainly worth looking into. Thanks for the info.
That’s great news, Eagle43. It’s not the only way, for sure, but it’s a comfortable option. That’s just what we did - parked our stuff and traveled.

Be well, all,
Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 11-30-2006, 07:33 AM   #27
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Akaisha,

How about security for your few posessions left in your park model? In general, I worry about leaving anything unattended. I am guessing that you have furnished it as if it were a hotel room, that you don't leave your personal treasures / memorabilia / important stuff there.

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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-01-2006, 08:41 AM   #28
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Great Article Akaisha. When (if) I return to the USA, I will definately look into the RV lifestyle.

Of course I plan to continue my newfound Thai ways, i.e.; playing my stereo at full volume and in to the early moring (sunrise?); riding my motorbike against traffic and on the sidewalk and not using the trash cans.

Geez, wonder if that's one reason why Billy is so secrative about your location?!?

Mai pen rai

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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-01-2006, 09:08 AM   #29
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Hey Lance,
Just because we are a pet friendly community doesn't mean we let just any critter in!

Billy
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-01-2006, 02:06 PM   #30
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Unfortunately the Cal-Am site does not provide prices.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-01-2006, 05:25 PM   #31
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

ED
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How about security for your few posessions left in your park model? In general, I worry about leaving anything unattended. I am guessing that you have furnished it as if it were a hotel room, that you don't leave your personal treasures / memorabilia / important stuff there.
Right. We have personal treasures, but mostly things that hold emotional value. That being said, I would be upset if I returned home and there was no bed anymore… or my books and art supplies were gone. 8)

Our particular community has a ‘courtesy patrol’ - which patrols the place both in the day and in the middle of the night. Other communities are gated (we are gated, but we don’t have a guard at the entrance like some) where would-be-burglars would have to climb the concrete/metal fences or deal with the guarded entrance.

Since our community is relatively small compared to others, we do have the beady watchful eyes of neighbors who know everything about our business who keep our best interests in mind and keep an eye out for other neighbors. This is very effective. In general, thievery is not too common, although it happens. -- no different than in other neighborhoods.

But the point here is, that none of us have rambling rooms full of plasma screen TV’s, Garages full of expensive toys, exercise equipment, Picasso’s and so on.

There are probably more millionaires per capita in our community than in the country club community just up the road, except that people here live simply. The country club community is always getting hit because that is where the ‘stuff’ is.. Know what I mean?

You could always put an alarm on your home. We have thought of doing that… just never got around to it, really…

Lance
Quote:
Great Article Akaisha. When (if) I return to the USA, I will definately look into the RV lifestyle. Of course I plan to continue my newfound Thai ways, i.e.; playing my stereo at full volume and in to the early moring (sunrise?); riding my motorbike against traffic and on the sidewalk and not using the trash cans.
Hi Lance!!
Hey, Buddy, you’d fit right in! Everyone thinks these old fogies are sticks in the mud, but when the Canadians come down it gets pretty rowdy. We can’t keep up with the happy hours and Bar-B-Ques. Heck, tonight they are decking the community halls with boughs of holly right as we speak. People are at the pianos singing and playing and dancing and drinking the egg nog!

Bennevis
Quote:
Unfortunately the Cal-Am site does not provide prices.
Just use the forms to contact them. They will respond either by phone, email or a brochure. Tell them what you are looking for, and your price range. Ask what it costs per month to rent.

Every information site is different. Simply venture forward and begin somewhere. Gather info, go and visit and then get local. You'll find your best info that way.

Best to all of you, and thanks for taking the time to view.

Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-02-2006, 01:32 PM   #32
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

OK, I'm interested at least as a second home for winter. Or two models in seperate locations. What are the downsides? It can't be all perfect, right? Or can it?
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-02-2006, 03:26 PM   #33
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

I have several family members living in manufactured home community, and Akaisha is right on about the security aspect. And when something *does* happen, everyone knows by the next day, and so vigilance is increased toward whatever particular risk presented itself.

Think of prey that tend to roam in herds to reduce the risk to any one individual

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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-02-2006, 03:33 PM   #34
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Kramer:
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Think of prey that tend to roam in herds to reduce the risk to any one individual
Well put! You bet everyone knows about it 'instantly' and everyone jumps in with ideas and solutions and will be on the lookout for anything suspicious. It's a great neighborhood feeling. I feel pretty protected, I must say...

Shredder
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It can't be all perfect, right? Or can it?
Let me first say, that nothing and no place is perfect. 8) It all depends on what your needs are.

Once you define what you are looking for then finding what fits the bill is easier.

Do you want:
Appreciation in property value and housing? Large rambling rooms with plenty of space for kids, grand kids neighbors and friends to stay overnight or for weeks in your home? Do you absolutely love stuff - like lots of sets of sheets, towels, tableware, holiday decorations, plasma screen TV's, tools to work on several vehicles that you own? A place to put your ATV, boat and 3rd car? Storage space for your kids' stuff?

Are you a leader of a jazz band and need your studio onsite to practice in? or an artist that needs a warehouse attached to your home to produce your product? Do you want to raise horses or grow your own grapes for the wine you make? Do you want a managerie of pets?

All these things take room and the $$ to pay for that room.

If instead the idea of a small investment appeals to you where you can invest little and still have access to a large spectrum of amenities, community, activities, and you don't want or need a lot of 'stuff' to house, don't need 3 vehicles or your own private art/music studio, don't want 2 greyhounds, 3 siamese cats, a parrot from the tropical amazon, then this option could appeal.

There is nothing 'wrong' with either side of the fence. It all depends on what you want and what you are looking for in retirement.

If you are looking for 'housing with ease' then our 'Worry-Free' Housing option would help you find that match. If instead, you want to grow your own tomatoes, top your own redwoods, have your own personal koi pond... then this wouldn't feel comfortable for you.

However, the $$ you would save in this type of living could free you up to do other ventures that otherwise you might not be able to afford.

Either way, it's up to you. It's a win-win.

Just figure out what you are looking for... 8)

We wanted something virtually hassle free, so we could devote time to other pursuits...

Be well,
Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-03-2006, 09:40 AM   #35
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Thanks for the great answer Akaisha! I guess I looking for a affordable winter time escape from the snow and cold of MI sometime down the road. (It's 21.5 degrees with about 5 in of snow here as I type.) Without having to pull it down the highway. Plus I'm 6'7" and don't relish spending months in a little RV. A park model with 8 ft walls seems more like it. I'm 52 yr old and DW is still working for a few years so it would be a while yet. But it does sound like something that would appeal to us, like the price, the social things, activites, while still having a garden, wine making, fishing, hiking in our area. Truly the best of both worlds.....Duane
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-03-2006, 02:43 PM   #36
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
...Either way, it's up to you. It's a win-win.

Just figure out what you are looking for... 8)

We wanted something virtually hassle free, so we could devote time to other pursuits...

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
Most if not all these tradeoffs also apply to condos. In fact, the only differences seems to be that you have your car close to the kitchen, some outdoor rooted plants, and some responsibility for exterior maintenance. You might have some extra risks/costs for tornados/insurance. But your list of lifestyle choices is pretty much dead-on. I think security might be better in a condo (except for the car). I think ongoing costs might be better for the "worry-free" choice.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-03-2006, 04:28 PM   #37
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Shredder
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Plus I'm 6'7" and don't relish spending months in a little RV. ..But it does sound like something that would appeal to us, like the price, the social things, activites, while still having a garden, wine making, fishing, hiking in our area. Truly the best of both worlds.....Duane
Yowza! 6’7”! Billy’s brother is 6’6” and I know how he has to jumbo-size things in order to not bump his head or have his knees at his nose when he sits…

Yes, it has been the best of both worlds for us as well. We travel like crazy all over the world while we are still able, and then come home and in 30 minutes our home is set up once again. Very little muss and fuss, very little investment or worry.

Kcowan
Quote:
Most if not all these tradeoffs also apply to condos.
Exactly. We looked into condos as an option as well. Some are very attractive!

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to view.

Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-29-2006, 12:43 PM   #38
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

UPDATE:

The other day, our neighbor - a young recent widow in her 50's - had an electrical problem in her home. Power was off in certain sections and although she checked out the situation best she could, she couldn't locate the problem. She was distraught, embarrassed, and missing her husband greatly. She said she felt silly that she couldn't find the problem herself, and one could tell she also felt vulnerable...

Fortunately, living here in our community, we have maintenance men driving around in their golf carts every day looking for problems to solve... Moments later, 2 maintenance men drove to her home and rectified the situation. Price? $0

Had she lived in suburbia somewhere, she - at best - would have had to contact a neighbor or perhaps call an electrician and the wait would have been longer and the price higher.

Another benefit of living in one of these communities... 8)

Be well,
Akaisha
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-30-2006, 10:49 AM   #39
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
Fortunately, living here in our community, we have maintenance men driving around in their golf carts every day looking for problems to solve... Moments later, 2 maintenance men drove to her home and rectified the situation. Price? $0

Had she lived in suburbia somewhere, she - at best - would have had to contact a neighbor or perhaps call an electrician and the wait would have been longer and the price higher.
MIL lives in a townhouse 45 minutes drive from us. She has 3 neighbors who look after her. My brother had a severe fall a few years ago and has limited mobility now. Two neighbors have taken on the project of helping him. NO request needed, they do it on their own.

I think the parallel here is that single-family dwellings tend to attract this kind of attention more than highrise condos where the close proximity tends to encourage people to leave some space. OTOH the building super can react pretty quickly when called.
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing
Old 12-30-2006, 12:25 PM   #40
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Re: 'Worry-Free' Housing

Sounds like both your MIL and brother have excellent neighbors. How fortunate!

From my personal experience, I haven't had that neighborhood support since I was a child - you know, when all the backyards were sort of all one big backyard 'highway' and no one ever heard of 'play dates'.

When Billy and I ran the restaurant, we were rarely home even on weekends and holidays, so we only knew our neighbors with a nod and a smile.

Here, however, it's pretty easy going and the strongest neighborhood feeling I have ever had as an adult. People are always out and about going to the pool, billiard hall or workout room, or just taking walks around the gardens. Really peaceful. I always feel like I can ask for help or grab someone to chat. Very secure.

Be well,
Akaisha
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