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Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Tellico Village comprises over 5,000 acres along Tellico Lake. Established in 1986...

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Traditions of America at West Brandywine, is a brand new active adult community in the most sought-after Philadelphia suburbs. Located in...

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The ultimate 55+ lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of is now available at Valencia Sound in sunny Boynton Beach, Florida. Discover the beau...

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Traditions of America is excited to bring the 55+ Live Better lifestyle to Bethlehem with its latest community - Traditions of America at...

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Dear Topretirements: What Are the Pitfalls When Buying a Retirement Home in the Southwest or Southeast?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

May 29, 2019 — We are grateful to Brigitta for suggesting this article on the pitfalls to look out for when buying a home in the Southwest. Here is what she wrote a while back:

“I’ve been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years.  However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an article about the differences in building practices in different areas of the country.  By that, I mean as someone who has lived my entire life on the east coast, I am quite familiar with how homes are/were built going back to the 1700s when my area was settled. I’m also familiar with the types of “pests” and environmental issues, i.e., radon, asbestos, buried oil tanks (for heating) that that NJ homeowners look for.  
Now, I am interested in purchasing a home in AZ and I realize I don’t know ANYTHING about typical building practices- pro/con, types of homes that one might want to stay away from or might WANT to consider, pests typical to the area, environmental issues, etc as I do about the east coast. ”

Thanks Brigitta! It is such a good question we will expand this “pitfalls” article to the Southeast and Florida as well the Southwest, since these are the most common places for retirees to be moving to, and where they tend to lack buying experience. As always, we are hoping for additional Member Comments to make sure we address all the important risks to worry about.

The Southwest

The desert and mountains present inherently different hazards to those found in the Southeast. The Southwest’s powerful sun and high temperatures present other differences. This first section will discuss the home buying hazards that can exist in the Southwest. Although many problems in a home can be corrected if you spend money and time, but it is always nice to find a property that doesn’t need work.

Arizona beauty

Flooding is possible in the Southwest, especially in areas of low elevation and along large rivers. Geological hazards, including avalanches, earthquakes, landslides, and rockfalls, also occur throughout the Southwest, especially where there is rugged, mountainous terrain. FEMA maps can help alert you to those areas.

(more…)
Posted by Admin on May 28th, 2019

Strong 55+ Housing Market Continues

Category: Retirement Real Estate

May 11, 2019 — The National Association of Home Buyers (NAHB) reports that the market continues to be strong for 55+ homebuyers and renters. While many baby boomers will not be moving soon, there is a significant segment that is seeking a change in their living arrangements. “Overall, demand for homes in 55+ communities remain strong as more buyers and renters in that market search for simpler living arrangements,” said Karen Schroeder, chair of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and vice president of Mayberry Homes in East Lansing, Mich. “However, there are still headwinds that are impacting the market, such as rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor.”

Elsewhere, the Urbanland.uli.org site has an interesting article (referred to us by our own “Nomadic pilot”) that outlines the complexity of the 55+ homebuying landscape. There are many threads to the market. Many experts predicted there would be a mass selloff of suburban homes as aging boomers moved out, either to 55+ communities or urban apartments. While that has happened to some extent, there are still millions of boomers who continue to live where they always have.

Comments? What do you think is going to happen in the retirement housing market? Are you planning on changing where you live and the type of home, or are you staying where you live now? Please add your Comments below.

Posted by Admin on May 10th, 2019

America’s Most Expensive Places to Retire

Category: Active adult communities

May 8, 2019 — Chances are you aren’t looking for the most expensive place to retire. Most people are looking for the opposite, a 55+ or active community where they can retire and stretch their savings and social security into a comfortable retirement. But just for fun, here’s a look at where we might retire if we were to suddenly join the ranks of the 1%. Which one would you pick?

We looked around in researching this article and were amazed at how little good information there is on the ritziest places to retire. 55places.com had an article on the topic, but the communities on its list barely approached the mid-range of pricing. The same can be said for a very similar list put out by ThinkAdvisor.com. Our list is by no means complete, but we think it is a lot better. If you know of a super-expensive retirement community, please suggest it in the Comments section below.

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Posted by Admin on May 6th, 2019

Florida Short Term Rental Bills Die

Category: Retirement Real Estate

April 15, 2019 – The controversial bills advocated by online short term rental companies have apparently faded away in the Florida legislature. If passed, HB 987 and SB 824 would have taken away local control of transient rentals from local governments in the Sunshine State and given it to the State instead. While most people seem to be in favor of short term rentals (1 week or less) when they go on vacation, homeowners in tourist areas tend to resent the onslaught of one and two night renters coming through their neighborhoods (see “Short Term Rentals in Florida Legislature” with survey results). Affordable housing is another issue impacted when short term rentals tend to take over local markets. State Rep. Holly Raschein and State Senator Anitere Flores were two south Florida officials who were opposed to the legislation.

Posted by Admin on April 15th, 2019

In Florida: Controversy Over Short Term Rentals – State vs. Local Control

Category: Retirement Real Estate

March 10, 2018 — Bills proposed in the Florida legislature would remove local control of short term rentals offered by companies like Airbnb, HomeAway, etc., and place it in the hands of the State. The online companies are lobbying for passage of the bills, since that would open up all areas of the state to rentals as short as one night. Local communities oppose the bill because they would lose the right to regulate what is often a problematic issue in many communities, particularly resort areas. It is a complex issue with the same people often having two different opinions on it: while at least half of the population would be happy to use one of these services for a short term vacation rental, but the vast majority of homeowners are against having them in their own neighborhoods.

Tell us what you think – Take our short Poll

The bill is euphemistically called “The Private Property Rights of Homeowners”, SB 824. The bill’s sponsor is State Sen. Manny Diaz Jr,. of Hialeah. If passed, it would give the Florida legislature the preemptive right to regulate vacation rights – local governments would have to abide by whatever the state decides. A group in northern Florida has been active in the fight against it. That organization believes that each local community knows best what should be permitted when it comes to rentals, citing many problems such as noise, traffic, and general mayhem when vacationers invade local neighborhoods. The problem is made worse when absentee owners buy up large number of homes and/or apartments and rent them out. That has a deleterious impact on affordable housing.

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Posted by Admin on March 9th, 2019

Miami, Las Vegas Winners from Last Year’s Tax Law

Category: Retirement Real Estate

March 6, 2019 — You might call this article, “SALT in the Wound”. The federal tax law that went into effect last year capped state and local tax (SALT) exemptions at $10,000. It was feared at the time that this decrease would depress real estate values in some high tax states. A recent Wall Street Journal article, “Out of State Real Estate Buyers Flock to Miami“, reports it is happening – out of state real estate purchases in Miami and Las Vegas have jumped, driving price increases along the way. Many of these buyers are coming from states like New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, where home prices are flat or even worse.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo even blamed the 2017 tax bill for a recent budget deficit, saying that it made states like Florida much more attractive to residents of the Empire State. The Journal quoted Jonathan Miller of the real-estate company Douglas Elliman as saying: “I’ve been starting to see New Yorkers as Florida’s new foreign buyer.”

Price date from the National Association of Realtors for the 4th Quarter of 2018 bear this out. While prices in Miami rose 4.5% year to year and Las Vegas’s were up 10.6%, New York/Jersey City/White Plains declined 0.4%, and Philadelphia was flat year to year. Hartford increased 1.4%. Austin, in the zero income tax state of Texas, had a healthy 5.9% increase in the 4th quarter.

Residents of states in the Northeast, California, and Midwest can easily pay far more than the $10,000 deduction allowed for SALT taxes. Property taxes alone in the NYC region can go over $30,000 with no problem.

While this shift in value and flight from high tax states would seem to affect working people more than retirees, it still will probably have an effect on boomers looking to relocate. That is because they will probably get less for their high tax home, and pay more in the low tax Sunbelt.

For further reading:

Moving to a New State: Establishing Residency

Can You Pass the Teddy Bear Test?

Comments? Please let us know your comments in the section below.

Posted by Admin on March 5th, 2019

Retire in an Area Prone to Hurricanes?

Category: Retirement Real Estate

October 16, 2018 — Here is a conundrum facing many retiring baby boomers, particularly those from the Northeast. You dream of escaping cold winters and snow, and replacing those annoyances with warm winters, sandy beaches, and being outside in shorts all year round. But, the Eastern and Gulf coasts of the U. S. come along with a big problem – hurricanes! This article will explore the issues associated with retiring to an area prone to hurricanes, a danger that recent history has shown to be a growing and very serious threat.

To tackle the issue we’ll break it up into three parts: what to (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 15th, 2018

Multi-Generational Housing: New Life for An Old Idea

Category: Retirement Real Estate

August 11, 2018 — For most of human history the most common housing model was for multi-generations to live under the same roof. In a typical scenario a widowed grandfather or grandmother would be living in a home with one of their married children, along with the children of that union. The generations chipped in to support the others – whether it was cooking, childcare, or financial – and typically enjoyed the benefit of living close together. The phenomenon became much less common in the 20th century. The advent of Social Security and financial independence of the elderly was probably one reason, and as nursing homes and assisted living became more common, (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 11th, 2018

Rising Home Prices Offer a Silver Lining for Some Retired Baby Boomers

Category: Retirement Real Estate

June 5, 2018 — Almost half of baby boomers, unfortunately, have not saved enough money for retirement. That means they face a cut in the quality of their lifestyle. But for many fortunate folks who own a valuable home, particularly in a hot real estate market, a potential rescue is at hand. For example, retirees in coastal California in places like San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego have the option to sell their home, buy or rent a home better suited to a retirement lifestyle elsewhere, and pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. People with valuable homes who live in New York and its close-in suburbs, as well as other affluent markets, can catch a similar lifeboat. This article will explore where some of the refugees from America’s hottest real estate markets are moving.

According to a recent report on the Trulia Blog, coastal California Metros are the perfect example of real estate good luck. In San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego homes on the market averaged $720,000 in March 2017, almost triple the $250,000 reported nationally. New York registered high median listing prices too, nearly $440,000. While these high real estate prices are not (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 5th, 2018

Should Retiring Snowbirds Rent or Buy: Irma Provides Ample Lessons

Category: Retirement Real Estate

Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 Part series. Part 2 is “The Worst Places to Retire: Weather and Natural Disasters“.

September 14, 2017 — The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida will provide many painful lessons for snowbirds and Sunbelt retirees. Those experiences impact where to live, what type of housing to choose, and whether to rent or buy. This article will explore those factors. We are grateful to Alan E for suggesting this topic. See bottom for more related articles on renting vs. buying and natural disasters.

Where to live
Almost every area of the country has its own set of natural disasters to worry about; it is hard to find a place that is immune to at least one of these: earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, blizzards, floods, sinkholes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, etc. When it comes to choosing a place to retire, it really boils down to picking your poison.

Over the long term Florida and Texas have had more devastating hurricanes than anywhere else, although in recent years New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut had more. Because Florida is a peninsula with coasts on three sides, the (more…)

Posted by Admin on September 13th, 2017