Four Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community
Written by Janet Fetterman, Broker Associate, CAM.
For the largest generational segment of the world’s population, the “baby boomers”, retirement is right around the corner. Individuals born in 1945 to 1964 fall in this category and represent seventy-six million people in the United States alone.
As a “baby boomer” myself, I know we are a “different” generation than those who came before us. Who we are has been greatly impacted by technology and the globalization of the planet. Today, as we end another chapter in our lives, we are redefining “retirement” and the communities in which we choose to live.
The following tips are for your consideration in choosing your retirement community.
Urban/Rural or somewhere in between? Have you had it up to your ears in long commutes and “creep-along-hour traffic? Do quiet drives through the country send you into a tranquil serene state or are you bored out of your mind at the thought of watching the grass grow?
Your quality of life and stress level is greatly impacted by your surroundings. Consider your shopping patterns, the medical/hospital availability, major route highway accessibility, places of worship and entertainment options that are available in the communities you research. Decide what is acceptable for you with regard to traveling distance and proximity.
Community Age Profile
Will you be surrounded by your peers in your new community? Of course there are 55+ communities which some view as their opportunity for fun and play and these are ideal for many. Often times, the downside to these communities is that they have a less than warm and welcoming attitude about younger individuals, such as grandchildren. If you envision a summer filled vacation time with visiting grandkids, their dribbling popsicles, trips to the community pool and noisy children playing outside during those long summer days, you may find that you have neighbors who may not be very appreciative. There may actually be restrictive hours for amenities use by your young guests and you may find that your visitors are viewed as intruders.
If you are retiring at an earlier age than others, you may find it hard to find golfing buddies and tennis partners or even develop friendships because everyone else is still working. Golden Ocala is an active and youthful club with plenty of activities designed to meet any members needs.
Permanent or Seasonal
Will you be living year round or part of the year in your retirement community? In Florida, based on geographic location, there are definite “seasons” where the population is at its highest. If you are looking to escape brutal winters of the north, January through April will give you great respite in the sunny south. Of course, maintaining two homes can present its own set of new problems. In our community at Golden Ocala, we have a full-time division dedicated to helping residents rent out their homes and professionally manage their care for absentee owners.
It has been my experience that many people will start out with two homes. However, then they may discover they lose touch with friends in their old home town and going back and forth wears them out. Therefore, they end up moving permanently to their new retirement communities. One of the great things about Florida is that family usually LOVES to visit and people discover they can actually spend more quality time with kinfolk visiting than they ever did when they lived in the same town.
It is great to move to a community that has a fitness center, a golf course and tennis courts. You don’t want to have to base your workout schedule or tee time around everyone else though. At Golden Ocala, we have a maximum set number of golf course memberships that will be sold based around the members’ schedule. This ensures that members have an enjoyable golf outing on an uncrowded course regardless of the season.
Be sure to review the community covenants and rules and regulations prior to your agreement. Also, make sure you get all your questions answered before you get started into the emotional process of purchasing a home. Speak to people who live in the community – you’ll be amazed at what they will share, what they say and what they don’t say. Be sure to plan eating out at a local restaurant in the middle of the week to see how long a wait time is and take into consideration whether you are dining during the season or off season. It is possible the well touted retirement community has over sold and the infrastructure of the surrounding city has not yet caught up. We speak with disgruntled residents from communities like these every week in our sales center.
Finding the right community fit for your golden years can be a challenge. The task at hand may seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Our experienced agents will answer your questions and assist you with your real estate needs both inside and outside the gates.
Give us a call at 352-369-6969 and we’ll show you how to Discover the Golden life, Discover Golden Ocala. Life here is Golden!