Why The Villages is the Best Place to Retire for Len and Ann

Category: Active adult communities

Note: This is the latest in our series of adventurous retiree profiles Our goal is to portray a variety of active baby boomer retirement lifestyles for our members. If you know a boomer retirement we should know about tell us via the Contact Us link.

Len and Ann are the kind of people that don’t like to stand still. And that’s a trait which perfectly qualifies them to be residents of The Villages, that giant, non-stop fun active community of 100,000 people near Ocala, Florida. Here is their story – we hope you find it useful to learn more about how they came about deciding to living here, and what it is really like to live in The Villages.
UPS in the Villages

What They Did Before Retirement
Len had a long career as an IT guy at SNET, the former Connecticut telephone company. He retired the first time at age 50, then became a consultant with Coopers Lybrand (which eventually merged with Price Waterhouse). Because he was initially based in Myrtle Beach, he shuttled between there and Connecticut for a time. The job eventually took him to Tampa, Florida, while Ann continued to spend most of her time in their Connecticut home.

Ann, also a computer person, enjoyed her career as a data processing teacher at a state technical college. After that she owned and ran an ice cream and candy story in their Connecticut town for 13 years. When she finally sold the store she began spending most of the year in Tampa & Sarasota with Len.

The Transition to Retirement
In Tampa Len had initially rented apartments from month to month, since he only used them as his base while going out on the road. The consulting job kept him traveling until 2001, when the Enron collapse and the 9/11 tragedy events put a crimp in management consulting. He subsequently started his third career as a virtual help desk IT resource for a large insurance corporation, a job which he still enjoys doing 2-3 mornings a week. When he started that gig he and Ann began a search for a more permanent place to live. Their plan was to find a nice place in a community where they could enjoy their semi-retirement.

Their Retirement Priorities – and What They Considered
They were tired of scraping ice off of the windshield; they both agreed they wanted a place with warm winters. As they began to look around the couple’s top priorities were to find somewhere where they could enjoy golf, be close to the beach, and have quick access to a good airport. They concentrated on new construction to minimize maintenance. They soon bought and built in a Sarasota country club, where they lived for 9 years. Although they liked the community well enough, eventually they began to look around. They found the pool required a lot of work, and they worried about issues in the community down the road. Their fellow residents’ average age was older than they would have liked, and they tired of the country club social life.

A Visit to The Villages Turns into More
Some friends in their community had places in The Villages, and they talked a lot about it. So Len and Ann took a drive up there to look around. They followed that up with a “lifestyle visit” – a short stay in this sprawling community near Ocala. At that time their visit cost about $75-$100/day for a 2-3 bedroom villa or house, and which included golf, golf cart, and some restaurant meals (these lifestyle visits are still enormously popular, but now include dining discounts instead of free meals). While there they spoke with a helpful real estate agent who kept in contact with them, and eventually showed them a lot of properties. Eventually they sold their Sarasota property and purchased a home in The Villages, choosing a 2 bedroom plus den and 2 bath home as opposed to the other option, a villa (semi-detached home with fenced in but smaller yards).

What Their Home is Like
Homes in The Villages are priced from below $100,000 to about $1 million. Although they were originally all manufactured homes, most now are stick-built on site. Some have masonry sides, while others have vinyl siding. Theirs is 1800 sq ft. with a layout they love. The neighborhood is the basic structure in The Villages. Each one has an adult pool, and every 4 or so neighborhoods have a family pool (OK for kids). The pools are built around golf courses so they don’t bother homeowners. Activities like horseshoes, pool, and bocce are available near the family pools, which their 3 grandkids enjoy when they come down to visit.

Their Retirement Lifestyle
Both Len and Ann love living at The Villages, where they have now been for 2 1/2 years. Ann enjoys water aerobics as well as taking part in the great variety of activities offered by the neighborhood ladies’ group. Those include day trips, lectures, yoga, line dancing, and more. Or, she might play cards or get together in one of many smaller women’s groups. She reports that she is much more willing to try something on her own than she was in the Sarasota country club scene where they used to live.

While Ann is out having fun with her fellow women residents, Len’s big activity is almost daily pickle ball games. He also enjoys playing golf with his neighbors 1 x 2 times a week golf, plus an occasional game of setback. An avid photographer (the photos on this page are his), he also likes attending camera club meetings or the New York sports teams fan club he organized.

Their Social Life
Since everyone has moved here from somewhere else, most folks are looking to make new friends. Life at The Villages mostly revolves around one’s neighborhood, which are usually defined by the street that leads to it. Their neighborhood has 206 rooftops (homes and villas). A common social activity is a Flamingo Friday Party held twice a month in one of the community member’s driveway and garage. Together Len and Ann frequently enjoy activities like team Trivial Pursuit at the neighborhood rec center group. Or they might take part in neighborhood game night. Bridge is very big here, as is mahjong, card games, movie clubs, etc. Though there is a non-stop array of things to do here, there is no pressure; people do what they want at their own pace.

Fees
The fee for amenities is $140-150 /month, plus trail fees for your golf cart, if you want to us it on the golf courses. The amenities fee covers almost all amenities as well as golf on the executive courses. A few things are extra, such as classes in the recreation center and the fitness room. When you buy your home it comes with a bond that costs about $20k. This covers the cost of building the amenities, and it is paid down over 20 years.

If You Choose This Lifestyle – Some Practical Advice
Len and Ann were kind enough to share several pieces of practical advice for people considering a move here:

They learned that living in a place with so much there is a tendency to overbook themselves. For example, Len owns a Ford Mustang, so he is eligible to join 2 clubs for that – the Mustang Club or the convertible club. With almost 2,000 clubs and countless sports clamoring for their attention, they recommend you pace yourself so you don’t get overloaded.

While making friends at The Villages is remarkably easy, the couple recommended that if you buy here consider moving into one of the newer neighborhoods. That’s because everyone is in the same boat in a new neighborhood, all looking to make new friends. You will be fine if you move into an older neighborhood, they say, but it might take you a little longer to get settled in socially.

If you are interested in The Villages by all means take a advantage of the “Lifestyles” visits. Come with an open mind, talk with people, and ask them questions.

Pluses
– Len and Ann are very happy with their home and its quality. They report that when there was a problem, the builder fixed it immediately under the warranty.

– The nice thing about this place is that people don’t care where you live, how much money you have, or what you did in your previous life. All walks of life are represented here and most everyone gets along fine. Politics and religion are generally not discussed, “because we are done with all that stress and confrontation.”

– They both agreed The Villages is a great place for single women – people are accepting, and there are tons of things for them to do without feeling like a 5th wheel.

Minuses
– There are a lot of rules which you have to get used to. For example no statues are permitted in your yard, parking of boats and RVs is tightly regulated, no vehicles with advertising are permitted, garbage goes to the curb in plastic bags, and you have to take care of your own yard. They believe that the rules are effective at maintaining the lifestyle, and recommend that you read them before you come.

– Compared to where you might be moving from, you will be closer to your neighbors here than you might be used to. So don’t move here if you don’t like being around other people. Yes, you will have neighbors and your house lot might be smaller, but you will see other advantages – like a more interesting social life and less work around the house.

– They are far from the beach, a previous priority. But now they recognize they didn’t go there much anyway.

Bottom Line
Of course we had to ask Len what he thought about the semi-mythical, Viagra-powered, aging Lothario called Mr. Midnight, who was portrayed in the book about The Villages, Leisureville. As expected, Len was dismissive: “Andrew Blechman wrote about a place neither he nor anyone he socializes with can recognize.”

Len and Ann agree they haven’t seen any major pitfalls to living here. In fact, they would make the same decision to move here “in a minute”. Thank you Len and Ann for sharing your story!

Resources
List of clubs at The Villages (1,828 at last count!)
Topretirements Review of The Villages
TheVillageRetirement.com
The Villages – Facts and Opinions
Talk of the Villages Discussion Board

Comments. Please let us know what you think about The Villages. If you live here, please share your insights for your fellow members.



Posted by John Brady on January 17th, 2012

87 Comments »

  1. I would hate living here. I don’t like golf, but I love cold winters and cool low humidity summers. I also love hiking in mountains. After our son graduates from college, we plan on moving out west and live in or around the Rocky Mountains. I lived in Montana for about 5 years when I was much younger and western Montana is the only place where I have lived that I still miss very much. The people out there are so friendly and I still love snow, as long as I live on a street that is plowed by the city/county when it happens.

    by Martin — January 18, 2012

  2. Whether it be the Villages or any other retirement site that is oh so attractive, ther is one major issue that your presentations lack up front if at all.. Of course, that would be cost. It is disturbing to read all about and fall in love with a community only to later realize that your blue collar carreer doesn’t even qualify you to be the pool boy, let alone a resident.
    I love your work but remember, not all of retiring Americans are wealthy.
    Thanks

    by Mark Crosbie — January 18, 2012

  3. This type of community is a money pit because of the golf course and extensive amenities–the homeowners are on the financial hook for everything whether they use it or not. And the annual dues are subject to increase according the to CC&Rs at the discretion of the HOA board. Also, any community that has private streets is locked into a never ending maintenance battle in keeping them in good repair, and the cost can be astronomical as personally experienced in a former community that had designated private streets.
    Read the fine print and ask lots of questions about every potential financial pitfall, and understand what your share of it will be if you choose to live there.
    Rules were mentioned, and this size HOA is comparable to a city, and the bureaucracy is comparable as well. Your freedom to choose what, when, where and how to make changes to your property is surrendered at the entry point, and from there you’re at the mercy of a group of homeowners who rule via the HOA board. If you want to spend your retirement being told virtually every move to make with your property, then these types of communities are worth considering. If you feel that you’re capable of handling the affairs of your property, then opt for a less intrusive kind of community.

    by Denny — January 18, 2012

  4. We checked this place out last spring & were not impressed at all. Facilities are very nice, but an overall feeling of not being welcoming to those who are a bit “different”.
    We asked about having a vegetable garden, and the realtor acted as if we were going to raise goats & chickens! He treated us as if we were Ma & Pa Kettle & got rid of us as soon as he could. He had a very condescending manner & suggested that we might not fit in.
    The political climate is also VERY conservative, so be forewarned not to mention this subject.
    If you would be comfortable in a huge but plastic “DisneyWorld”, go for it.

    by Marge — January 18, 2012

  5. I keep reading about this place the Villages. Although it sounds like a great place to retire, I am very leery of that bond you have to pay off. Just read about the CDD bonds on a florida for boomers newsletter and I am very leary of a place that has those. I am going to be limited in funds and won’t lock myself into such a place with extra costs

    by marlene — January 18, 2012

  6. Google “The Villages + IRS” and read about the three-year plus squabble between the Villages’ original Community Development District municipal bonds and the IRS’ “suggestion that The Villages retirement community redeem more than $344 million in bonds the IRS says were improperly issued as tax-free. The agency wanted $16 million in back taxes and a promise by community development districts never again to masquerade as a legitimate government.The Villages thumbed its proverbial nose at such a notion, and then it was on.” (http://andrewblechman.blogspot.com/2010/09/update-on-villages-big-irs-problems-pt.html)

    by oldnassau — January 18, 2012

  7. We looked several times..NO INDOOR POOL.. Used to be you could use the one at the Wellness center and that is why many folks purchased there. They cut that out and left all who needed it for therapy out in the cold…..VERY NICE! Be careful about getting married to an HOA…the fees go only one way. Do your homework before you buy

    by bob — January 18, 2012

  8. Doesn’t seem like the previous posters would find The Villages their cup of tea. I have lots of friends, however, who are extremely happy living there. They just love all of the choices and nice people and activities. Sure, there are costs to be paid and rules to be followed. But they and 75,000 others are crazy about the place!

    by Ken — January 18, 2012

  9. We have made many visits of 3 month periods to The Villages and were it not that we come from the UK and would have a problem with the cost of medical treatment in the US we would move to The Villages tomorrow. The place is a wonderful place to live with facilities unrivaled anywhere in the world. The people are so friendly and you can do as much or as little as you want to.

    by Linfordboy — January 18, 2012

  10. No mention of rentals. . . does anyone know if they are available?

    Editor’s note: Yes, there are plenty of rentals. You can get them from the developer (although obviously they would rather have you buy), or try googling them, or places like vrbo.com.

    by cassandra — January 18, 2012

  11. Wow! Some of you have no clue as to what you are talking about.
    I have lived in The Villages for 5+ years; it is conservative; it is autocratic; Mr. Midnight is older now; Viagra shouldn’t be paid for by Medicare. The bond you speak of covers the infrastructure e.g.roads, pools, rec centers, libraries, common grounds maintenance. My wife and I chose living near Soanish Springs which is the older of two town centers and I am a baby boomer, born in 1946. The HOA is a figurehead not a political action committee because the developer pretty much controls everything, so The Villages won’t get run down anytime soon.We have charter schools from pre-K through high school and anyone who works for the community or the hundreds of retail stores, doctors offices, etc. their child can go to them. All roads are public, the major ones are gate controlled, monitored and patrolled by Citizen Watch. If you don’t like living in a small city this isn’t the place for you. Now as to growing vegetables, my neighbor across the street grows herbs in pots and I grow blueberry bushes in my backyard as a decorative bush. You want an acre of vegetables, buy property in a small town. I disagree with a lot that The Villages has to offer, but I like the 3 seasons, cool, sunny, hot, but I escape to the mountains of Virginia during the middle of the summer. The one thing I do like the most is Florida is one of seven states with NO Personal Income tax and yes cassandra there are rentals, incl. my own home. I always say “make no promises before there time” and the same can be said for The Villages, “Try it out for a week, month at different times of the year, then make your own decision.” People who have never lived here or rented here have no business offering their opinions of The Villages.

    by Jim — January 19, 2012

  12. I offered my opinion based on MY impression of what we saw and the manner in which we were treated by the realtor who showed us around. He represented The Villages and was quite succinct in his attitude that we were not “suitable” candidates to live there.
    We are financially middle-class, Northern Midwesterners from a country setting. We grow our own fruits and vegetables (not herbs in pots), eat meats & eggs from a family farm down the road from us, we heat our house with wood, and try to be as self-sustaining as possible considering our ages. We were looking for a possible winter home in a warmer climate.
    We thought the physical layout, the facilities and the amenities were great, but certainly do not want to live in a place that does not welcome a variety of lifestyles.

    by Marge — January 19, 2012

  13. The villages is close to Ocala. Any feed back on the city of Ocala and other towns near the villages, good or bad, experiences with other gated housing 55 communities.

    by Brad — January 19, 2012

  14. Marge,
    My apologies for the way you were treated here in the Villages. I wouldn’t have felt welcome either and that’s a shame because you sound like nice folks to know.

    by Jim — January 19, 2012

  15. @Marge, Have you thought about Lake Weir Living? We’re only 8 miles from The Villages. Many of the amenities available are sometimes available to the public (believe it or not). For example, if you like golf — 9 of their championship 30 courses — are open to the public. Also, their enormous MVP 4-story health club is available to the public for a few dollars more than the residents. Those are just a few examples. If you have a chance, and haven’t settled somewhere else, please visit Lake Weir Living. You won’t be disappointed to see the size of yard you can have to grow your own fruits and vegetables! Also, Marion County has organic meat farms!

    and @ Mark Crosbie, Do you know that Lake Weir Living near The Villages is made of up hard-working middle Americans who want a retirement dream Florida home that fits their budget, and we have pools too..See Newsweek’s Jan. 23rd issue..Voted Best US Retirement Showcase!

    by Neil Schuster — January 20, 2012

  16. Thanks for the apology, that realtor needs to find another career! I wonder how many other visitors he has turned off to The Villages?

    And also will check out Lake Weir on our next visit to FL. I hope it’s soon, as our thermometer registered a -0 last night!!!!

    by Marge — January 20, 2012

  17. To cooperkat10, In Delaware, I have found a number of 55+ age restricted communities and non-restricted communities. Some that come to mind are Independence, Heritage Shores, Nobles Pond, and Roesville. They are clustered most closely to Newark, Dover and Lewes areas but there are others dotting the countryside. I started my web search using ’55+ communities in Delaware’. DE is growing in popularity for retirement so many communities are not age restricted but tend to have a number of older residents.

    by Katjac — January 20, 2012

  18. The Villages is great and at the top of my short list for the near future … however after talking with some new residents, I find that the health club options are not great … by this I mean that the present facilities are over crowded, No indoor pools, no decent locker rooms, no wet areas(to include hot tub, sauna, steam) …. I am hoping that in the near future … a modern health club … as good as a YMCA or LA Fitness, LifeTime Fitness …. ???? I would hate to retire at the largest, healthiest, retirement community in the country without a decent health club??

    by Fiddlehead — January 21, 2012

  19. We live in Los Gatos, CA, near the Villages in San Jose. Are all of these communities related i.e.owned by the same organization? Or is this a coincidence.
    Lynn.o

    Editor’s Note: To our knowledge these communities are not related. We have well over 50 communities at Topretirements with the word Village or Villages in the name. We have 9 “Leisure Villages” or “Leisure Worlds”. Apart from that Village sounds like a pleasant place to live, in other English-speaking countries the term “Retirement Village” usually applies to what we in the USA might call an active adult community or retirement community.

    by Lynn O'Brien — January 22, 2012

  20. Neil,
    All the championship courses are open to the public; the executive courses are closed to the public. We don’t pay for them as they are part of our amenities, FREE Golf for Life. We even pay for the championship courses be it by subscription or singley. I have heard that Lake Weir Living is nice. We have friends who have places in both The Villages and on Lake Weir. I guess they wanted the best of both had to offer.

    by Jim — January 23, 2012

  21. I thought that Lake Weir appeared from what I saw in the websites that is mostly for people with RV’s, motorcyclists, etc. I would think it in general it is a different crowd than what is in the Villages today. I was going to visit Lake Weir until I found out about the above and decided that it was not for me but I am sure it is for many others.

    by bill — January 24, 2012

  22. We received some comments back from Len to try to fill in some of the questions raised by other responders:

    Private streets: No the streets are all county owned and maintained with our tax dollars.

    Rules: Yes, there are many. Read them and if you cannot live with them don’t try and live with them.

    Veggy Garden: Not really as the lots are too small, but if you have a Villa which is fenced in there are no garden police to stop you. Many people use pots to grow veggys in on their property or lanai.

    Bond: I looked at that as part of the price of the house that I did not have to get a mortgage on…if it is an issue, may resales are sold with paid off bonds.

    Indoor pool: no but the outdor pools are heated and used year round. Ann goes to water aerobics a few times each week, year round.

    The bottom line is that The Villages is not for everyone…so be it…it s sthe place for over 70,000 people so far.

    (Thanks Len!)

    by Admin — January 24, 2012

  23. My husband is turning 60 and hopefully we will be able to retire in a few years. We would absolutely love to move to the Hobe Sound area in Florida but are concerned about being able to afford this. Mainly we hear that the homeowners insurance and property taxes are high in the area. We have everything paid for and money saved so right now we’re in good financial condition and good health. We don’t need a mansion and we don’t have to live on the water, gated community, or country club so does anyone think this is possible for retired folks? I look forward to any comments.

    by Karen — January 26, 2012

  24. I’m a Californian that just got back from checking out retirement places in Florida. I stayed at Del Webb’s Stone Creek in Ocala, and also checked out Summer Glen and The Villages. I loved the homes and the community of Stone Creek, but worry a little bit if someone like me: single and used to living in an urban area might eventually find an area like this too uneventful. I did venture down the road from Stone Creek to find mostly strip malls. Summer Glen was not for me; however, surprisingly, I did kind of like the Villages. It seemed like there were ample activities. I liked the idea of shopping being so convenient, places to eat, music that wasn’t rap, friendly people. I didn’t get a chance to check out the health clubs, but I had a feeling they might not be as modern as what I’m used to. I like the idea that there is entertainment every night, and I know people have complained about the parking, but it’s not as bad as parking in San Francisco. One of the things I don’t understand is that most of the places I looked at don’t have fenced in yards, which makes it difficult for dog owners. I would advise not to discount places without checking them out for yourselves. Think about what’s really important to you and look at different places.

    by Liz — January 29, 2012

  25. September 22, 2009

    A visit to “The Villages”

    Here is my “take” on the central Florida community know collectively as “The Villages,” located near Ocala in central Florida.

    The only problem that I had personally with “The Villages” is that everyone down there looked to be a MINIMUM of 5-7 years older than me and there were quite a few that were considerably older than that. I suppose since I am (was) 58 years old (at the time of this writing), I felt a little bit ahead of the curve when it comes to considering living in over 55 communities like “The Villages.” I had to keep reminding myself that many of the so-called “snow birds” who generally tend to be a little younger and who may still be working up north haven’t come down yet for the winter season. Therefore, most of the full-time residents are indeed going to be on the “older” side. The other problem is that “The Villages,” being virtually self-contained, your not really going to see too many “young” people or young families except when they are visiting. This can be a little depressing and a downer for some people who at least like to see a mix of young and old even if it’s right outside their community. The Villages being the only game in town is virtually all seniors “all the time.”

    Other than this “age issue” which was personally a bit of a put-off. “The Villages” community itself was lovely. The V’s, from what I understand, is approximately a 45 square mile community with its own zip code and post office.. At the time of this writing there are about 76,000 residents and about 40,000 homes. This is continually growing as it appeared sales were moving along at a nice clip despite the present down turn in the economy and housing market. This is a major golf community with approximately 20 golf courses and growing. The big attraction is that golf is virtually “free” at least on all the 9 hole “executive courses,” of which there are many, with the payment of your home owners association dues which are very reasonable (presently about $145/month..at time of writing). They also have two championship 18-hole courses. However, while reasonable in price to play aren’t exactly free. There are pay as you go fees and special memberships and deals that can be paid for separately.

    It seems like everyone drives around The V’s in golf carts even if they don’t play golf. The community is interlaced with dedicated golf cart paths (they also double as bike, walking and jogging trails) as well as diamond marked roadways on some of the shared main streets through the community. Everything is pretty much accessible in The V’s by golf cart, It is very conceivable that you could give up a second car in the household and just have one car and a golf cart. Many of the homes in The V’s have golf cart garages as well as a two car garage.

    There are lots of community pools and fitness facilities throughout the development including a new 35,000 square foot facility that is scheduled for completion before the end of this year (2009). As a resident of The V’s, you are entitled to use any one of them. There are about 60 community pools as well which are available to all residents. Some pools are for “adults only” which is nice if you don’t want to deal with everyone elses grand children and teenage guests. Of course, other pools are set up just the opposite and are specifically for young guests or the grand children.

    There are presently two town centers and a third one on the drawing board, from what I understand. The two existing ones are Lake Sumter Landing and the other one (also the older of the two) is Spanish Springs. Between the two of them, there are plenty of shops and restaurants. I believe the restaurant count right now is about 60 (Sept 2009). A new “Fridays” was being built at the time of my visit. Some of the restaurants including one’s like the “Light House” (btw, one of my personal favorites) are not chains, which is nice. There are supermarkets, and medical offices, financial offices, and pretty much everything you’d need including a Spa. There are also multiplex movie theaters, bowling alleys, and a very lively saloon type place that features live music and entertainment virtually every night of the week along with reasonably priced dining. This particular place is only open to residents of The V’s.

    Also, impressive was the fact that The V’s have their own modern hospital, an separate assisted living facility along with a separate Alzheimer’s “wing” or building. Also, The V’s has its own dialysis center. The only thing along these lines that was missing was a cemetery. I am just pointing this stuff out, since they seem to have covered a lot of the bases, especially in the medical department.. Having all this available is very convenient especially as you get older or you weren’t in such good shape to begin with.

    by Artie Schwartz — January 30, 2012

  26. Hi Artie-
    Does your post mean you are selecting TV as your retirment community? Or our choosing a different place?

    by LisaJ — January 30, 2012

  27. Artie, Thanks for the detailed info on TV. However, you mention using the golf cart trails also for biking, walking/hiking, jogging, etc. Did you (or has anyone else) actually seen them being used for such … to what extent? We love to bike and walk trails, but I have seen no TV litertaure that shows anyone doing such. Also, from what I have heard, all too many of these “retirees” in their modified golf carts like to drive fast enough to get speeding tickets in the area. If any # of these “older adults” also drink and drive their carts, I would be VERY leery of walking/biking the paths. Just wondering. A large community such as this (or OTOTW, Peach Tree, etc.) seem ideal for us at first, but these supposedly multi-use trails become less enticing when one considers the other uses (which at least at Peach Tree includes students taking the family cart to school!!!!)

    by Mad Monk — February 6, 2012

  28. […] this large, there are many more who are attracted to the idea. See our recent article, “Why the Villages is the Best Place for Len and Ann” for more about living […]

    by » Tempted by The Villages: Here Are Some of the Best Retirement Alternatives Topretirements — March 20, 2012

  29. Visited the V last weekend. Great realtor, no pressure. Kept assuring me that there were plenty of singles to mingle with but the only ones I saw were much older…in their mid to late 70s… This, despite his claim that the median age in the V is 64. I don’t believe that or they had them all locked up for the weekend. Everyone appeared at least ten years older than 64. The other thing I noticed was couples, tons of older couples. Maybe I’ll try it again in ten years, when I’m in my middle seventies, but for now, I don’t think there is a single unmarried or married person who is 64 or younger living there.

    by Becky — June 17, 2012

  30. Becky, keep in mind that this is mid June and many of the residents have left for the summer. Maybe thhe older ones stay behind in the summer? But I know how you feel. We have visited several active adult communities and when we go into the community center, everyone seems old. Maybe its just my perception of how old I personally feel, vs what I look? I told my wife, I would revisit the idea when I am 80!

    by Locobill@live.com — June 18, 2012

  31. TO Becky, I know a couple of people who live in the Villages. The ones I know are in there 60’s. One is single and lives there about half a year. She told me when she is there she feels very safe to drive her golf cart to the square to listen to music by her self at night. This is the only thing she really does except golf once in a while. She said there is a singles club but everyone she saw or meet when she went was old… I have been to the villages about 6 times as I live about 40 minutes from there. I kept going back to see if I really liked it or didn’t. It’s a big step to buy a house there then hate it. Two times a realtor took us looking for houses. The other times we just drove around and went to the main shopping area and walked and had lunch and dinner. I have to agree with you. I never saw anyone that looked younger than in there 70’s. I even noticed most of the people who worked at the Villages and even in the restaurants were older than I am. I even saw a bunch of bikers that stopped for lunch and they are in REMARKABLE shape but on average they still looked about 70. I wanted to find a place where I would feel safe if and when I find myself single. I think the Villages will fit that but not sure about anything else. Things I hated, I did not want to buy a house then pay the $25k bond and then pay the $175.00 monthly fees. All the homes are on top of each other so if you get a neighbor you don’t like he is basically in your back yard. (And we did run into a nasty guy with our realtor 1 time) We all remarked, I am glad he does not live next door to me… I also did not like every main road is a round about, there are round abouts all over…. It did not feel homey to me at all. It is so conjusted.Out of the 6 times I went half were when snow birds were down and half were not. When the snow birds are down if you hate congestion you will hate it there for sure no matter what the age of the people. The one couple I know have lived there for 18 years. They are around 70. She told me when the snow birds are there it has got so bad it takes her 3 or 4 times to get through the traffic light and an extra 10 minutes just to go to the grocery store. They are now looking to move out but now sure where to move to. I never felt any pressure to buy from my realtor but I do think they tell you what they think you want to here. I hope this helps you some and who knows what 10 years will bring to you. I have not found my perfect place yet and not sure I ever will as we all know, there is no perfect place. Kathy

    by kathy — June 18, 2012

  32. What I find interesting is that so many active adults still settles on HOA (homeowner association) communities. There is an ‘Option Button’. You just have to look. HOA-free communities are a niche market. They are not a ginormous, corporately-owned development; they are a unique find. HOA-free communities can save homeowners hundreds-of-thousands: 1) homes are of quality but not with the huge corporate market-up, 2) typically smaller infrastructure and thus smaller bottomline to the buyer, 3) no governing association that charges monthly fees with a 3% annual increase.

    In my opinion, you owe it to yourself to research all active adult communities if you truly want to be a smart buyer; don’t just settle on ‘the typical’ cookie-cutter communities. HOA-free communities rock!..and with today’s economy, you owe it to yourself to do your HOA-free community research!

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 18, 2012

  33. Neil, I do not want to live in a community where the person who lives next door is free to paint his house purple,leave trashy stuff in his yard, and install a basketball hoop in his driveway outside my bedroom window. I dealt with a basketball hoop in my previous house for the last year and it was horrid. There’s a reason why HOAs exist. You just need to find one with reasonable rules and regs, not a lot of infrastructure to maintain, and then participate in the governance to keep it that way.

    by Linda — June 18, 2012

  34. Linda, I think there’s an over generalization happening here of life in a HOA-free community. I understand previous experience, but a new niche is brewing. HOA-free communities are a turn-on for boomers who have experienced the very bad, ugly political side of HOAs.

    Seek a community where the county land use and code enforcement is strong. HOAs are always costly, even as they get older. As a community grows older, the amenities fee might be lower, however the cost of maintenance goes up as the structures age — more cost to maintain — which is passed along to residents.

    Developments for decades have been, and still are, communities with costly common infrastructure to maintain its golf courses, club houses, elaborate pools, etc. Also HOAs typically have a minimum annual increase. Always expect HOAs to be ever-evolving — financially.

    In my opinion.

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 18, 2012

  35. Sorry if this has already been discussed but is there a place that lists what active adult communities in Florida do not have HOA fees? and what are the other costs?

    by maria — June 18, 2012

  36. Locobill, when people move to an active adult community they tend to stay there and age in place. So, if you’re looking for a younger average age, look at newer active adult communities. Of course, be sure the infrastructure and amenities are already there, and that there are enough residents to make it viable.

    by Jan Cullinane — June 19, 2012

  37. To Neil, I have yet to find a HOA-free communitie. Can you tell me place to see? Thanks!

    by kathy — June 19, 2012

  38. Neil Schuster, I currently live in a community governed by an association. I picked one that did not have a golf course, community building, swimming pool, tennis court, yada, yada. All that is available in the local community. We have no facilities to be maintained other than our houses. One would have that expense anywhere. But my neighbor isn’t going to be painting his house purple or installing a basketball hoop outside my bedroom window. It works for me. Not all HOAs are evil.

    by Linda — June 19, 2012

  39. Kathy,
    You asked for Internet area to find HOA-free communities in Florida.
    Would you believe it’s as easy as a google search — search: “HOA-free community, Florida” You’ll find some information. Happy hunting your permanent dream retirement!
    – Neil

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 19, 2012

  40. Linda, I’m happy that you found your happy place in the sun! 🙂
    All the best to you!
    – Neil

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 19, 2012

  41. THANKS NEIL…I’m not to good at computer searching. BUT, I try!

    by kathy — June 20, 2012

  42. Kathy, You can send a direct email if you need help: schuster_neil@hotmail.com.

    Happy hunting! 🙂
    – N

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 20, 2012

  43. Neil, I haven’t exactly found my place in the sun. I live in this HOA in Minneapolis, MN (actually in a first-ring suburb, 7 miles from downtown). I built this house 20 years ago. The more I look around, the more I think I’ll stay put and just travel during the winter. That’s worked for me the last few winters. Actually, last winter was so mild, I only left twice! The house in Minneapolis is paid for and I can just lock the door and go away, knowing that the yard will be watered and mowed or the snow removed, depending on the season. Most of the year, Minneapolis is a very nice place to live, with the exception of the high taxes. But I’ve discovered that senior citizens get a nice tax break on our otherwise terrible property taxes. There are cultural events galore, excellent medical care, world class shopping, and direct flights to most of the world. So far, it’s working out pretty good for me. I may still try to find a cheap Florida rental for the winter, the better to be able to hop on those last-minute bargain cruises from there!

    by Linda — June 20, 2012

  44. Dear Linda, That’s great! There’s plenty of places to be a snow-bird in Florida.
    Happy hunting!
    🙂

    by Neil S. Schuster — June 21, 2012

  45. […] Further Reference: See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann Sunbelt Remains on Top in 2012 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns 100 Most Popular Active Adult […]

    by » Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware Dominate 2012 List of the 100 Best Active Adult Communities Topretirements — August 8, 2012

  46. I took a ride over (live in Fl) and checked out the so called Lake Weir development – Approx 10 miles from the V’s

    Not for me! Anyone interested should physically check it out FIRST before ……..

    by Robert — December 31, 2012

  47. Has anyone checked out Lake Weir Living? We were in the area and drove around and looked at the homes there. Some are very nice homes. Seen a couple that were trashy around the properties and a foreclosure. Seems very remote area, not such a safe area to be in.

    by Sandra — April 28, 2013

  48. Robert-can you tell me what you did not lie about the Lake Weir development? Thanks

    by Roxanne — April 29, 2013

  49. for roxanne – there is no development there just a bunch of vacant lots for sale and nothing around that would be of interest. If you want privacy and “the boonies” then this might be the place for you.

    I didn’t like it and personally would not move there.

    Best bet is for you to check it out personally.

    Hope this helps.

    Robert

    by Robert — May 1, 2013

  50. Just something else to consider about the Villages is the hospital and medical. We were practically packed and ready to go until we did extensive research on the closest hospital. Horrible!!! Also, a resident of TV that we know was hospitalized and because of a number of hospital errors almost died. This might not be of too much of a concern for a number of people considering TV but at some point it might. Just something to consider.

    by jeb — May 2, 2013

  51. Hi Robert- thanks for the info. I get their info. I knew there was no HOA, but I thought it was a more and upcoming area. Didn’t realize it was in the boonies. Thanks so much.

    by Roxanne — May 2, 2013

  52. Hi love the info provided by this site and bloggers..
    we were looking at Del Web Ava Maria Fla and reviewing the daily schedule of events ie..swim classes /get togethers etc..
    every Thursday AM they listed a ‘faith study hour’ followed by a ‘bible study hour’ both held at the main recreation complex..did not know it was a religious community..can anyone talk more about the religious affiliation?

    by Robbie — May 3, 2013

  53. Robbie, Ave Maria is a religiously-affiliated community. Here’s a link to more on the town in Wikipedia-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ave_Maria,_Florida . The references at the end of the article will lead you to other articles/web sites.

    by Carole — May 3, 2013

  54. After reading so many comments,and looking for the best place to retire with the lowest cost,I’m now more confused than ever. I now live in Tn., but, have been told that Fl. is by far the cheapest place to live. However, I have found most HOA’S to be very expensive{I found this to be true when I lived there seven years ago, as well}.Any thoughts?

    by Chuck Lawson — May 3, 2013

  55. Chuck – I just bought my retirement home in TN on Tellico Lake and can’t imagine why you would want to leave TN! I guess it depends where you live but I would put TN way above anything in Florida. But maybe you like hot weather, lots of traffic from all the tourists and I dom’t think the taxes are any friendlier than TN. Of course, this is just my opinion! 🙂

    by Barbara W — May 4, 2013

  56. Barbara W….. Hi, I am on my way to Lewes DE this morning to check out the area and meet with a realtor to get an idea on housing etc. I have heard commercials on the radio in the past week regarding Tellico Lake and am curious. I think TN is beautiful, especially the western part. I’m not sure exactly where you are located but would appreciate any info on your experience regarding this area. I am widowed with no family to speak of, so I am free to move just about anywhere. I suppose that is good but can also be daunting as to picking out an area. Thanks so much for any and all help!

    by Karen M — May 4, 2013

  57. BarbaraW- which area of Tellico Village do you live in? I love that area and would love to know about the activities/amenities that Tellico Village has to offer. Is it difficult to meet people, etc?

    by LisaJ — May 5, 2013

  58. Karen – I am also on my own. I spent about a year and a half looking on the Internet, getting brochures, talking to realtors. Since October I have made two trips looking at places in NC and TN. I had never been to eastern TN – it is beautiful! Lakes and the Smokey Mts. Some places I looked at were too far from a major city. I found a place about 30min from Knoxville. It is on a peninsula on Lake Telico. Beautiful views, quiet. There is an active women’s club and other activities – maybe not as many as some places but I think enough to stay as busy as you want. I have views of the lake and mts – just perfect I think!!

    by Barbara W — May 5, 2013

  59. Chuck~
    Have you looked at Stonecrest in Summerfield, Fl.? It is only a few miles from The Villages and is a true golf Cart community, so you can go via cart to all kinds of restaurants,entertainment & shopping etc, as well as the golf courses and of course, access to The Villages, as well. The HOA is EXTREMELY reasonable–especially for all of the amenities there are there. The place is beautiful and centrally located to so many places, and things to do!! We looked all over-(incl. Tn., Ga.and the Carolinas) and saw nothing to compare for the HOA fees, and amenities.

    by Constance — May 5, 2013

  60. I am going to take a look at Stonecrest-thanks for the information-appreciate it!. While Tn. is nice, I miss the weather in Fl. I can swim, walk, bicycle,or go to the beach every day. I worked so many hours when I lived there, that I never really had time to enjoy the area. Looking forward to moving back. I’ve lived in six states. Florida continues to be my favorite!

    by Chuck — May 5, 2013

  61. Lisa – I didn’t buy in Tellico Village although I did look at it. I bought about 3-4 miles down the road at Rarity Bay. I bought a condo. It is smaller than TV but has enough activities for me. It is on a peninsula in Tellico Lake.
    FYI for those who are worried about money Bankrate.com lists Tenn as the best place to retire.

    by Barbara W — May 6, 2013

  62. Barbara-Thank you!. Rarity Bay is a gorgeous development, I’m sure you will be very happy there.

    by LisaJ — May 7, 2013

  63. Ok, I know i’m going to get a lot of flak for this posting, however—-. I still don’t get the deal about necessarily wanting to buy into a location where you need a score card to keep track of all the rules. Somewhere along the way I thought one of the good things about retirement was going to be the fact that what you do is up to you as opposed to the way it was when you were still working. But–from what I’m reading that’s clearly not the deal with places like the Villages and all the other similar style setups in Fl. Unless or until I get so goofy I need someone to tell me what I need to do each day I’d like to think that I’m capable of making those decisions myself. Kind of reminds of an upscale neighborhood one of my sons moved to where he cannot change the color of his front door or shutters on the house unless he gets permission. He has a fenced back yard and cannot place a swing set or similar type of thing in that yard if it shows above the level of the 6 ft. fence.
    Makes you wonder who owns the house. The association or the person paying the mortgage.
    So after working for 30-40 yrs. why would anyone want to go to live in a place where you have to have permission to grow some vegetables in your own yard?
    What ever happened to individuality??

    by Anne — May 7, 2013

  64. Actually Anne, I do see your point. I think our country was founded on individual freedoms. That said, however, people moving to these communities are expressing their freedoms-just in their own ways. I am sure people know that they are exchanging one kind of lifestyle for another, and are, for the most part, happy to do so. Not everyone WANTS to grow a vegetable garden in their back yards-nor see a weed patch -disguised as a so called veggie garden in their neighbor’s yard. After working hard for years on end, many folks WANT to see well maintained grounds or an orderly beauty that comes with a HOA attached. Again-their choice. No one has a gun to their heads. They are expressing themselves-just in that way. You can always go to the country or an subdivision that does not have a strong HOA if that is what appeals to YOU, but do not knock someone else from doing differently, if that is what appeals to THEM. That is the beauty of being an American, no?

    by Constance — May 7, 2013

  65. Anne – I so agree with you. Most HOA’S are on the side of ridiculous! I am for a well manicured yard too but the rules on some of these are outlandish. Not for me unless in a condo. Some HOA’S are lax and allow junk cars, etc in the development. Don’t worry about the flak on this site – everyone in entitled to an opinion including you!

    by Debbyeone — May 7, 2013

  66. I have dogs and was reading the by laws in pebblecreek in AZ. I was terrified when I read that dogs may not be walked ona neighbors lawn. While I don’t go out of my way to do that, they like to sniff and it is rare that when They have to go its on cement. I always clean up after them but didnt like the idea of prying eyes watching my every step with them. And cement is very hot. Unless I spoke with someone on the board who said don’t worry about it, I worry about this level of detail in by laws.

    by Nancy — May 8, 2013

  67. Where are the best places for a 60ish woman to retire in NC SC or the North East?

    by Diane Petilli — May 8, 2013

  68. Stay away from Lake Weir. There is no model homes for you to see. They rely on the other home owners that have already built to see there so called designs. It is so far out in the boonies it is not funny. We went and drove around and seen other homes that are in foreclosures, homes that had all kinds of junk in the yard and driveways.

    by CyndieD — May 26, 2013

  69. […] Further Reference: See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann Sunbelt Dominates 2013 List of 100 Best Retirement […]

    by » Surprises Galore: The 100 Best Active Adult Communities for 2013 Topretirements — September 2, 2013

  70. We are very seriously considering The Villages. Certainly it’s not for everyone. Yes, the majority of the lots are tiny, and most everyone hires the yard work out, and that’s just the way they like it. I think of it like going on a cruise: sure, some folks will dig deep to get a suite with a balcony, but most folks will get an interior room realizing that they are basically just going to be sleeping there. I could build a dream home with a pool, billiards room and a wood shop, but that is an awful lot to maintain. At The Villages I can share those amenities and a lot more. I’d like to get back into bowling and golf, and be involved in the huge Apple users group. With so much to distract me, it’d be real easy for me to let yard work slip a bit if there were not such rigid rules. I welcome the structure because I don’t want drama. I welcome being surrounded by grown-ups… I’m sick of thumpers rattling my windows and f’bomb dropping teens. I just hope we can find a small place a short cart ride to one of the squares so we can be in the middle of everything.

    by SLSettles — May 18, 2014

  71. Anne isn’t it great you can move wherever you want?

    by easilyamused — May 19, 2014

  72. Homeowner’s Associations are not for everyone. There are good and bad, but you have the freedom to check out their Rules and Regulations, etc. before buying. You can even chat with homeowners. Some communities are mixed ages with a section for 55+. Yes, I agree it’s cheaper to buy outside of a planned community, but I don’t want to be alone at this stage of my life. I don’t want to look for a gym and then be faced with young folks, phones in hand, sitting on the equipment and talking in groups like it’s a social club or moving at lightning speed in the aerobic classes. Don’t get me wrong, I can represent, but I am not auditioning for Glee! Then there’s having to find people your own age to associate with. The worst part is all the young folks in the neighborhood thinking you’re the Neighborhood Watch or worst yet, finding some child sitting on your doorstep with a note from his parents pinned on him asking you to watch him because he’s got a runny nose and can’t go to school today (LOL). NOT! I am going to research 55+ communities and find one that’s financially stable, fines folks for not following the rules and has a good sized community where I can do my thing while feeling secure in my advancing years. If my neighbor’s a buzz kill that’s ok, stay on your side of the fence. But like SL says, the dual exhaust at 6 a.m., the kids spraying graffiti on street signs and the loud music rattling my windows are done! I might miss the sounds of kids playing in the street but, maybe not, I’ll be playing tennis, bocce ball, cards, taking a class or just walking on the trail with my hubby and with people I can relate to – folks who are tired of the drama of life and just want to wake up smiling.

    by veloris — May 19, 2014

  73. Veloris – LOL. You are probably right. Not only is our country divided politically, we are very much divided between young and old. I am reading on the internet about an elderly women {73} whom was rammed by a car driven by a professional surfer/model, whom is female and 30 years old. This happened in Hawaii at a Waikiki apartment complex. The elderly women was probably moving to slow. The 30 year old surfer women was arrested for attempted murder.

    I live in the Los Angeles metro area, and the general pace of everyday life is quite fast. Los Angeles is very much a youth,beauty, and money focused area. Physical attributes are very important in the L.A. area, and all of Southern California. You do see and become well aware of the divide between young and old. And as older people stride towards 55+ communities, I believe the young are glad they do so.

    by Bubbajog — May 19, 2014

  74. Bubbajog, the 30 and 40 something’s are the ones who want to decimate SS as well because they don’t want to subsidize the older generation. – I hear it from my younger neighbors and family members all the time. They forget that we did it for our parents and grandparents – and without all the whining of the Me Generation!

    by SandyZ — May 20, 2014

  75. Wow, Veloris, you said it all. And I am all for it. Yes, I want to be with people my age that I can relate to and talk to. I don’t mind kids playing but don’t want them in my yard or under my window when I want to relax. Yes, Yes, Yes, let’s move to a 55+ community and enjoy this time when we can and appreciate our enjoyment.

    by Svenska — May 20, 2014

  76. One of my concerns is — frankly — busybodies with nothing to do in retirement but take over a HOA. I’ve spent time talking with people in some of the community centers of 55+ communities that I’ve been checking out, and it terrifies me. I’ve had gentlemen talk about wanting to put screening in for new residents to make sure they’re “compatible,” I’ve had people get excited when they hear I’m a professional since I can give the HOA free advice in various matters, and I’ve heard groups of ladies totally ripping on one of their members who failed to make a meeting. I’ve heard another group of ladies talking about “their” clubs as if they own them. I’m afraid that too many people with too much time on their hands (especially if you have a group of retired homemakers with no children to fuss over, retired executives with no one to boss around, and others with few interests beside their little world & their neighbors) could mean that the 55+ communities become cliquish and invasive. I am also concerned about the impacts of aging in place on upkeep and maintenance fees, and wonder whether a community of 70-80 yr olds will really want to continue to invest in the facilities that make a community desirable as their fixed incomes shrink from inflation. Once the baby boom rush is over, I also wonder where the buyers will come from for resales of the 55+ communities.

    I’m sure many of these concerns apply to every community, and I don’t know if there’s any solution other than to just find a community that seems to fit at the moment. We’re forced to plan for today, instead of 10-20 years from today. Just another set of criteria, along with cost of living and availability of amenities in an area…

    by Sharon — May 20, 2014

  77. Veloris, I have to agree with you 100%. We have rented in two different 55+ communities – one had a very good HOA and the other one didn’t. You have to do your homework – to live in a 55+ community with a good HOA is great! You can meet other people and join groups with an ease that doesn’t come in a regular all age neighborhood. Whether you are single or married, it is easy to fit in. I will be moving to a 55+ community sooner rather than later and can’t wait!

    by Nikki — May 20, 2014

  78. Let’s face it, nothing is perfect, starting with Capitol Hill and on to state government and local government, there will always be something/someone operating a little left of center. You can vote to be on the Board if you want a closer look at what’s going on. A HOA can be sued if they don’t follow laws related to how HOAs should be run. Meetings are open to the public during General Session. A lot of things happen at at HOA meetings that never get any further than a particular person’s rantings and ravings. But, in my experience (3 years on a Board) people won’t come to meetings but, when something happens to them personally, they rush to the next meeting to voice their frustration – and are never seen again until the next issue. Boards that get out of hand are boards where the homeowners are not involved until they feel they have a stake in the outcome – which is usually too late. It’s a thankless and non-paying job but being a Board member ensures you have a voice in how your HOA is run. Personally, I would prefer a newer 55+community. We’ll both age together and by the time resale, new roofs, remodeling, etc. become an issue, it won’t matter to me any more. I really believe 55+ communities are steadily evolving, due to the numbers of us becoming “of age” with the types of concerns we have expressed here. Look how much it’s changed since the first 55+ communities began! While I like what I am seeing now, I believe in the next 5-10 years we’re going to see some astounding, forward-looking communities with cutting edge options at an affordable price. We ain’t seen nothing yet!

    by veloris — May 20, 2014

  79. Amen Veloris, I couldn’t agree more with your well put comments. I’m not sure The Villages is for me, however, I am willing to do the digging & put in the time & effort to find the right 55+ Community. Best of luck to you where ever you decide to settle. Keep us posted!

    by Maureen — May 20, 2014

  80. The Villages is a great place for many people, especially those interested in, and able to, golf and other sort of athletic activities. It is no so good for older retirees, especially those unable to drive or wise enough not to try, or those who choose not to drive. There is NO Villages bus system and the very limited county bus system is barely tolerated within The Villages. Now there is a proposal to eliminate it entirely. Unless you are able to pay a cab or walk at least 5 miles, many parts of The Village will be prisons.

    by JR — May 21, 2014

  81. We’re slowly working our way across the southeast looking at active 55+ communities.
    We will be leaving behind a beautiful, much loved home on acreage in a peaceful rural area. As much as we love our home we have realized that living in such a remote area with no close neighbors and no longer having work connections is leaving us isolated. It is over 30 minutes to the nearest grocery and another 15 to restaurants and shopping in a small town and about an hour to a decent sized suburb. The driving is getting old and isn’t very practical as one ages. I think our gas bill just might cover the HOA fees at TV!
    Two of the biggest predictors of longevity post-retirement are having strong social connections and physical activity. Communities like the Villages encourage both of those good habits. The trade-off is privacy/quiet space, individualism, beautiful architecture, and quite a few dollar bills going to fees you wouldn’t have in most neighborhoods.
    In a perfect world ($$$) we would have two modest homes, one in the N. GA, TN, SC/NC mountains for summer relaxation in a peaceful beautiful area and Florida for winter fun in the sun.
    All of the active 55+ communities we have looked at have had the same format: tiny, average quality homes with no real storage, chintzy finish/materials, undersized garages, postage stamp yards that you can’t fence, good-to-great amenities/social activities, HIGH HOA fees. None have the outrageous bond fees that the Villages have though (but the don’t have the amenities, activities of the Villages either).
    My biggest fear in moving into one of these communities is getting stuck next to one (or God forbid MORE) neighbors who smoke on their patios (which might as well be your patio) or have poorly trained or high-strung dogs who yip/yap/bark all the time. I don’t know how you get around that and its something we’ll be watching for and asking people about. If the lots were even remotely the size of a normal crowded subdivision, we’d jump on the Villages.

    by clouwho — May 21, 2014

  82. The best site I’ve found so far for a succinct summary of taxes as they apply to retirees is http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T055-S001-state-by-state-guide-to-taxes-on-retirees/
    Georgia is actually more retiree friendly than Florida because of the lower property tax rate in most counties, exc senior exemptions and lower insurance as well. GA has very favorable senior income tax exemptions as well with most being exempt and at a young age.

    by clouwho — May 21, 2014

  83. I’ve lived in The Villages for 5 years and can understand all the fears you have stated – retirement is scary at times but please don’t over-think yourselves. I believe if we all waited until we could afford children many of us would be childless….LOL! The Villages is not for everyone and if it’s not for you please don’t come…I have met the most giving and beautiful people here who would do anything to help anyone and I believe those are the people The Villages attracts namely, positive thinking people. Like anywhere, before you buy a home you can check out the neighborhood…checking for dogs, smoking, etc. I am a widow of 10 years (65years old now) and moved to The Villages without too much research – just a preview lifetime visit of 5 days. I am not a golfer or a very physical activity minded person but have found through the many clubs and organizations wonderful outlets to enjoy my non-working years. There are money opportunities to “pay back” which I enjoy and I love the college on site to take a variety of courses that I didn’t even know would interest me. As I said before, if it’s not for you please don’t come….we have a beautiful community of positive thinking fun people – of course it’s a normal community too so there’s always a few complainers but they usually move away when they realize people her are interested in living and not negative complaining. When I first moved here I met a lady having some problem with bungee cords on her golf cart. As I helped her strap her walker onto her golf cart with the bungee cords we started to chat – this woman was 92 years old and had just left a yoga class! I decided right there and then I had made the right move – I definitely want to be 92 and strapping my walker onto a golf cart after a yoga class rather than sit in an apartment in NY going to the local senior club once a week!!! As I said it’s not for everyone but it’s definitely for me!! By the way, I should mention I’m living in my second house here – my first home was way too big and too much to take care of so I sold it and moved to a smaller home with easy maintenance since I’m out and about way more than sitting home!

    by Char — May 22, 2014

  84. Char thanks for the realistic comments. You put it in perspective for me.

    by Susan — May 22, 2014

  85. Good reading through all these. My wife and I are looking for an early retirement location, like The Villages. However, we are currently 52, and don’t plan to fully move away from our home in KY, but simply have a nice home, in an active community, with lots to do in FL. We would only be there maybe a total of 2-3 months per year for a couple years, and increase the time at TV as we feel the desire to do so. We love the idea of all the activities, get togethers, social aspects, getting around via golf carts. We will need to restart golfing, as we got too busy running our company to do that over the past 25 years. We recently sold the company. The fact that we would be on the young side of things is OK with us. I realize that we will pay HOA, and upkeep for the yard all year, we are OK with that. We are not on a fixed income. Also, TV will allow some under 55′ s to buy. We will come down for a visit first, of course.
    Do we sound crazy for considering TV?

    by Dennis Stephens — June 7, 2014

  86. A great alternative to the Villages is Hot Springs Village (HSV) near Hot Springs, AR. HSV is the largest (by land area) gated community in the US. The monthly fees and property taxes are about a third of The Villages. HSV has 9 golf courses and 9 lakes, 4 of which are all sports lakes. The worst golf course at HSV is better than the best golf course at the Villages. http://www.hsvpoa.org

    by Greg Mack — July 15, 2014

  87. […] For more information see the topretirements review of the Villages as well as several articles we have written in the subject, such as “Why Len and Ann Think the Villages is the Best Place to Retire“. […]

    by » The Villages: Developer of World’s Largest Active Community Dies - Topretirements — November 13, 2014

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