After nearly two decades of selling real estate, I've reached some conclusions on the components of a retirement community that are best decided prior to the home search. As a Baby Boomer myself, the issue of value for your money and quality of lifestyle is foremost in my mind as well when I tour neighboring communities.
The Baby Boomers aren't like the generations that came before them. They are more likely to have a second career or go back to college. Technology and globalization has impacted this generation and redefined the word retirement mostly by taking the "tire" out of this stage of life.
This generation has always had a wander lust and has been a proponent of change and in their golden years it would be fool hardy to think that this generation would all of a sudden change. In the United States alone, the Boomers are represented by 76 million people! We currently are mid-way through the transitioning phase from the Baby Boomers' major earning years to this next stage of life.
Community Resident Age Profile
The status of your health and your age when you start this next stage is very important in determining the kind of community that will best serve your needs. My Dad retired after 35 years as a GM Financial employee when he was only 58. He moved into a family home in Florida that was not located in an association but a regular neighborhood. It turned out that he and Mom were the only retirees in the neighborhood. During the day they were the neighborhood watch team for the street because everyone else was at work.
In order to develop a social life, they had to work earnestly at meeting people for golf and social activities because there was no "ready-made" environment for them to become a part.
On the surface this seems ideal to many. These communities are designed with built-in activities and networks and the new resident only needs to plug into their activity of interest and participate as much or as little as they desire.
The tricky part of some of these communities is discovering the "culture" of the community. Sometimes there is a general negative attitude about visiting humans of the "under 20 years old kind." If you notice in the Covenants, Rules and Regulations or even on signage posted, that children are only welcome during certain hours or at certain amenity's areas, it might be a red flag that extended stays by the grandchildren will be frowned upon and very close supervision and vigilance will be expected. If your grandchildren are full of noise and very busy activity ( and what child isn't?), their visits might present some real problems and as your guest they may feel unwelcome and your neighbors will be annoyed with you and them.
We are not a 55+ Community here at Golden Ocala, but weekly I speak with people looking to escape what they perceive as a very restrictive and negative lifestyle because they want their families to visit and enjoy the facilities that they support each month through their association fees and in some cases private club memberships.
When Being Popular is a Curse
It is interesting to be in real estate and to read of the next population explosion community. I sold homes in the Palm Coast area during the years when it was the fastest growing community in the country. Homes were sprouting out of the ground at record speed and the city and county infrastructure worked feverishly to attract and build shopping, restaurants and medical facilities.
Now I am seeing the same phenomena with the Villages where by some accounts 4500 homes per year are being built and sold. Again, I speak with people looking to sell and buy elsewhere because the neighborhood and community that they bought into a few short years ago has changed so much they barely recognize the place. When waiting over an hour for a seat at dinner is the norm in the middle of the week in "off season" then during the season the dinner wait is 2+ hours and is just not acceptable no matter what price is charged for the Early Bird Special.
Be sure you speak with people in the restaurants and the stores and get their take on the community. Pay attention to the traffic patterns and congestion during different times of the day. If you are a golfer and you are joining a community/club where you can only get a tee time, booked 2 weeks in advance and at the crack of dawn, your happiness quotient will dissipate in the Florida sun quite quickly.
At Golden Ocala, by our very covenants, the club membership is guaranteed to be maxed out at certain levels. We also have different kinds of memberships so that you are only paying for that portion of the community that you will really use. This insures that the course is never crowded and that the club is adequately staffed to meet the needs of the members first and foremost.
In your golden years, finding the right community fit can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be. Trained as a SRES- Senior Real Estate Specialist, I have the education and experience to assist you in finding the right place to call home. Whether it is inside the gates of Golden Ocala or in the Ocala area at large, my first order of business is discovering what you want and need and then to go to work delivering it.
Give me a call at 386-299-6393 and I'll show you how to Discover the Golden Life, Discover Golden Ocala. Life here is Golden!
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