November 16, 2022 — With people more and more willing to travel these days, some of those trips will be to explore active adult or 55+ communities as potential places to retire. We have just updated a popular article of a few years back with that in mind. It explains how to plan your visits, but more importantly, has a huge number of tips our Members learned to get the most out of their explorations. We think you will find it very useful.
November 13, 2022 — Hurricanes Ian and Nicole were bad enough, destroying thousands of homes, changing the coastline, and scaring residents and real estate buyers alike. But a new Florida law, SB 4-D: Building Safety, is about to provide a potential killer wave to the Florida condo market.
The Building Safety Law is a reaction to the tragic Surfside building collapse in Miami in 2021. It has several key requirements for condominium associations that most are not yet aware of, especially how fundamentally those will affect their finances. This article will attempt to give a quick snapshot of what is now required, and how things will change. We recommend that if you are on a condo board you get familiar with the law now, because it has several new requirements. As it spells out clearly, failure to meet them is a breach of an officer’s and director’s fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. Sadly, jailhouse humor going round is that it could cause mass resignations of board members across the state. Even if you are not a board member, you should make sure that your board is working on this issue.
October 13, 2022 — Retirement communities can be interesting and intriguing places. Although a lot of people think there is only one kind of active adult community: places that offer cookie cutter homes, a clubhouse, golf course, swimming pool, tennis and maybe pickleball. Commonly these retirement communities are restricted to 55+, are located a car ride away from town, and all provide the identical lifestyle. Yes, that does describe many active adult communities (where millions of retirees are actually having the time of their lives), but it is not the whole picture. There are many intriguing communities for active adults that break the mold; offering features, amenities – even an attitude – that can make for an interesting, unusual retirement. They might not be the most popular, but here are 11 of the most interesting communities we came across recently. (Note: Use the Further Reading links at bottom for ideas on many more).
June 8, 2022 — It is fascinating to see which of the thousands of 55 plus and active communities reviewed at Topretirements attract the most attention from our Members and visitors. After examining site visit data from the first 5 months of 2022, here are the 15 most popular communities in the states west of the Mississippi at Topretirements. If you are considering communities east of here, don’t miss the “Most Popular Active Adult Communities in the Southeast“.
A few words about these selections
The most amazing thing about these communities is their diversity and variety. We are not sure why they emerged at the top of popularity (most page views on our site), but they are the communities our Members and guests most wanted to learn about. Their variety speaks to the idea that there no cookie cutter community approach that appeals to everyone. Instead, people are very different in what they are looking for – and the good thing is there is a community for everyone. While these active adult and 55+ communities are very different, they are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety that is available in the U.S. Interesting enough, only one of these communities, Quail Run, was a repeat from our 2019 ranking.
April 22, 2022 — Journalists looking for a good story hit the jackpot any time they check out The Villages, the giant retirement community in north Central Florida. The community has all the elements needed to fascinate readers: high stakes politics, real estate machinations, Viagra fueled Lotharios, and the latest – voter fraud. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in this community that stretches over 3 counties with some 60,000 (and growing) households.
Books, Magazines, and Movies
Starting with Andrew Blechman’s Leisureville in 2009, The Villages gained a certain notoriety. Blechman’s youthful vantage point might have made him a little too cynical, but he did produce a good read. His account of Mr. Midnight, a boomer aged Lothario cruising for action among the community’s many single women, was highly provocative and one of the most entertaining parts of the book. He poked a lot of fun elsewhere too, although it actually might have encouraged other baby boomers to move there for the non-stop activities and socialization. Then there is The NY Times version of TV life, published in this March feature: The Disney for Boomers Puts Hedonism on Full Display.
March 21, 2022 – A while back we heard from one of our Members, Debby, who asked about apartment living. She wondered why we don’t ever write anything for people who want to retire in an apartment. She has always lived in that type of housing, and being a single senior, doesn’t want a house now either.
In particular she would love “a senior community of apartments that is gated and has washer/dryers in the apartment, plus an attached garage. She is not particularly interested in other amenities that she won’t ever use. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ now, but apartment prices have gone up so much!”
We are sure that Debby is not alone in seeking apartment life. Although we assume she is interested in rentals, many other apartments are owned as condos. The good news is that there are many communities that provide apartments suitable for baby boomers. Using Advanced Search for Communities at Topretirements, we came up with almost 1,000 apartment communities across the U.S. in our database. That list can be made more selective by choosing parameters like expense (if we delete higher cost the list goes down to 775). Other amenities might include covered garages, swimming pools, fitness centers etc. Using a state parameter narrows it even further; e.g., choosing only Arizona results in a list of 43 (we will explore some of those choices later in this article).
March 10, 2022 – In a move that is sure to be controversial, a softball commissioner at the Del Webb Village at Deaton Creek has banned Linda Evans, a female, from participating on a men’s softball team at that community. Ms. Evans, 70 years young, is an experienced player, whose coach said of her: “She can play.”
The active community in Hoschton, GA has one softball league with 7 teams. There is no women’s team or league. The commissioner banned Evans from playing in games or participating in practice, saying that it was a “men’s only league”. A poll of the players reportedly found that a majority did not women playing in the league. However, the community’s ownership bylaws say “membership in any Chartered Club must be open to all bona fide members of the association without discrimination as to race, religion, color, sex, ethnic culture or national heritage.”
Not an uncommon problem The problem of inclusion of the sexes has long existed. Private country clubs have excluded women from membership. Some active communities provide access to facilities slanted towards men (such as the earliest tee times), or have mens-only grills. How communities maintain fairness can be a struggle that often pits one group against another, and even results in lawsuits.
Comments? What do you think, should communities have the right to have single gender teams, activities, and facilities? Or should men or women be able to mix together, based on ability or other qualifications. Please share your thoughts and experiences from your community in the Comments section below.
January 22, 2022 — Each year many of us make new year’s resolutions that we have every intention of keeping, at least for a couple of weeks. Many of those resolutions may involve health, fitness, learning, and keeping up with the technology that surrounds us. Fortunately, there are many communities that specialize in wellness and learning, and makes it a lot easier to stay on track with those resolutions all year long. Some of these unique communities listed below are for all ages and some are for those 55+, but they are all interesting and feature a fun and inspiring lifestyle.
Encanterra is an Arizona community that offers traditional amenities like golf, fine dining, and social spaces. But what makes the community unique is the hundreds of special interest clubs, travel, and exploration opportunities it provides. A good example is the technology program through which residents can take culinary classes, listen to guest speakers, educators and authors. Encanterra is made up of several neighborhoods including one for those 55+.
January 4, 2020 — When people hear about Home Owners Associations (HOA) there is generally one of two reactions. Either they loathe them, citing high costs and restrictive rules, or they tolerate them as a necessary evil. They have no super fans. Also called Community Associations, HOAs govern critical aspects of life in condominiums and active adult communities. It is essential that retirees know something about their HOA before they move in. As Joe West, CEO of the Community Associations Network, told Topretirements many years ago, the most important thing to consider when buying into a community is: “Don’t fall in love with the house before you check out the association”.
In any 55+, active adult, or condominium development that has shared facilities the Community Association is the top dog. It establishes the rules, enforces compliance, manages the assets, and insures the financial and legal well-being of their communities. Even in the most successful community plenty can go wrong. When serious problems happen, as did in last year’s condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, the consequences can even become tragic.
Many people are excited (and sometimes appalled) by The Villages, the giant active community in Central Florida. They often wonder, are there any other age-restricted communities that approach The Villages’ size, which approaches 150,000 residents and sprawls over 3 counties? And, do any other communities offer a similar range of amenities?
Although no community in the west is quite as large as The Villages, there are many that have more than 5,000 residents. This article highlights some of the ultra-large active communities in the West. We invite you to explore over 3500 active communities of all sizes in our State Directories at Topretirements.