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Dueling Carolinas: North Carolina vs. South Carolina As the Best Retirement State

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

Editors Note: This is the third in our series comparing various states as places to retire. Don’t miss the first, Florida vs. Arizona Retirement, or the second, Delaware vs. Maryland vs. Virginia vs. New Jersey. There are more “Dueling” comparisons listed at the end of this article. We welcome ideas for future ones.

Updated May 29, 2018 — The Carolinas are a red-hot retirement destination; both North and South Carolina enjoy a very favorable image among baby boomers. As great places to retire, both have become as popular as Florida. In this comparison we will evaluate various factors for both states that affect retirement, letting you draw your own conclusions from the facts. As always, reader input is extremely important, so we encourage you to use the Comments section below. (Note: The first version of this article was originally published in 2010; this edition contains numerous updates and revisions. Because it goes way back to 2010, there are a LOT of comments which are worth reading. The latest comments are at the bottom.)

Population (Data from American Fact Finder-U.S. Census Bureau).
One obvious difference between the two states is the number of people. In 2016 North Carolina’s population was about double its southern neighbor’s (10,273.419 vs. 4,834,605). The over 65 population in both states is increasing: in South Carolina it was 15.8%, North Carolina is slightly younger at 14.7% (the national percentage was 14.5%). Both states attract significant numbers of retirees from beyond their own borders, usually from the Northeast or Midwest. In fact, you will hear comments from native Carolinians who are concerned that their states are changing due to the influx of newcomers from the north.

The Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, SC


Home Prices and the Economy
One reason why the Carolinas are popular for so many retirements is a lower cost of living. On a statewide basis both states have significantly lower home prices than the entire U.S. The Zillow 2018 Home Value Index for South Carolina has the median home value pegged at $157,600, $14,000 lower than North Carolina’s ($171,500). Note that the Zillow estimated home value of $215,600 is quite a bit lower than the same estimate from the National Association of Realtors, which showed a U.S. median home price of $245,500 at the beginning of 2018.

Home prices in some North Carolina Metros have been increasing fast over the past few years and in many cases have caught up with or exceeded the U.S. figures. In Durham the median home selling price at the start of 2018 was $267,700; in Charlotte it was $226,400, and in Raleigh it was $274,300 (per NAR). Meanwhile in South Carolina, the Greenville median was $206,200, Spartanburg was $168,200, but in pricier Charleston the median was $273,100.

Beautiful Charleston, SC


The economies of both states are very similar. Manufacturing, services, and agriculture are important in both. In fact you might also add retirement to the list of growing industries. The 2016 median HH income in North Carolina was $48,256, slightly higher than South Carolina’s $46,898. By comparison the national household income median was $50,046. South Carolina’s cost of living is the 21st lowest in the U.S. while North Carolina’s is very similar at 23rd. Unemployment rates in both states have declined in recent years and are now very close the overall U.S. unemployment (4.7%) According to the Census Bureau unemployment for South Carolina was 5% and in for North Carolina it was 5.1% (rates are for people over 16 years of age).

Climate
There are no significant climate differences between these 2 states. The most northern parts of North Carolina will have slightly colder winters than the most southerly part of SC, but the difference will only be a few degrees. What differences there are mostly stem from the varying climates present within each as they go east to west – from beach to mountains. Here are a few representative temperatures for cities within these states:

City
Asheville (NC)
Charlotte (NC)
Wilmington (NC)
Greenville (SC)
Columbia (SC)
Charleston (SC)
Avg Jan low
27
32
36
31
36
42
Avg Jul high
84
90
90
89
95
89


Tax Environment
Overall
Many retirees look to tax comparisons to help determine what they view as a retirement friendly state. Until a few years ago South Carolina would undoubtedly have won that comparison – it had lower taxes in almost every category. However, beginning in 2014 comparing taxes between the two states is much harder, and the bottom line difference is probably not that great. According to the Tax Foundation, SC had the 42nd highest tax burden in the nation in 2012, whereas NC’s was 20th. However due to the dramatic changes in NC’s tax structure in 2014, those rankings are actually much closer in 2018.

To make a few observations, we would start by saying that the individual characteristics of your tax situation have so many ramifications that you should have someone prepare a hypothetical tax statement for you to get the real picture. But here are some things to consider:
– SC has a much higher marginal tax rate, although it also has higher exemptions
– Neither state taxes Social Security
– The sales tax in NC is 1.25% lower than in SC, but local taxes can narrow this difference
– Neither state has an inheritance or estate tax
– NC has higher property taxes as a % of home value. But it also has a nice “circuit breaker” program for people over 65

Income Taxes
South Carolina has a (very high) maximum tax rate of 7% that begins at a quite low income of $14,400. South Carolina accepts the adjustments, exemptions and deductions allowed on your federal tax return. North Carolina’s income tax is much lower, as it was recently lowered to a flat 5.499%.

Social Security and Income Tax Exemptions for Seniors
Neither state taxes Social Security payments.

Although South Carolina has much higher tax rates, its high exemption levels are more tax-friendly. Each resident over 65 is entitled to an exemption of $15,000 ($30,000 for couples) in calculating income for state tax purposes, of which up to $10,000 each can be retirement income. For couples filing jointly when both are 65 or older you might not need to file a SC tax return unless your gross income is greater than the federal gross income filing requirement plus $30,000.

Classic Pinehurst, NC, a golfing shrine

There is a $8750 exemption per person in NC (no age limit). When North Carolina reduced its state income tax rates in 2014 some seniors’ deductions were eliminated. Social Security is still exempt, as is NC pension income under the Bailey Settlement if you had 5 years of service by 1989. Otherwise federal, state, and local pensions are exempt up to $4000 per person, $2000 for private exemptions.
Sales Taxes
An initial comparison of sales taxes would makes it look like NC is the most friendly when it comes to sales taxes. But when you add in local taxes, they are quite close. In SC the sales tax is 6%, and local governments can charge an additional 1%. In NC the rate is 4.75%, although almost every county charges at least an extra 2% on top of that.

Estate and Inheritance Taxes
There are no estate or inheritance taxes in South Carolina or North Carolina (NC repealed its estate tax in 2013).

Property Tax
SC residents pay one of the lowest property taxes as a % of home value (ranked 46th) in the country. NC is ranked 33rd. SC residents pay an average of .5% of their home’s assessed market value, compared to .78% in North Carolina (figures from the Tax-Rates.org). Homeowners in SC over 65 can usually deduct $50,000 of valuation on their property taxes. In NC there is a property tax homestead exemption for people over 65 who meet certain income criteria, as well as a circuit breaker program for eligible people over 65 which limits property taxes to 4 or 5% of your income.

Note: Taxes are complicated and the laws change quickly. Consult state Department of Revenue Guides and/or your tax professional before making important decisions. This brief overview is not meant to give any advice.

Physical Environment and Diversity
As with population, North Carolina also has a much bigger geographical area – 54,000 square miles as compared to SC’s 32,000 miles. Both have a long coast line with beautiful beaches and/or waterfront on large bays. The Cape Hatteras region of NC is quite remarkable, as is Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head in SC. North Carolina has a larger and more pronounced western mountain area with four seasons and the Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Black Mountain ranges. The highest point in NC (and the eastern U.S.) is Mt. Mitchell at 6,684 ft.; Sassafras Mountain is SC’s highest peak at 3,560 ft.

Places to Live
Both states have several important cities and numerous interesting mid-sized cities. Both states have college towns, such as Chapel Hill and Durham in NC and Clemson in South Carolina. Both Carolinas have a strong representation of towns on Topretirements’ list of 100 Best Retirement Towns: NC has 4 in the top 20 and SC has 3. ( #3 Asheville (NC) #11 Brevard #12 Murphy and #13 New Bern.
South Carolina’s most popular places to retire include #7 Beaufort, #9 Charleston, #18 Bluffton. Here is the full list of our most popular 100 best retirement towns.

Charlotte, NC

Choice of Active Communities
North Carolina and South Carolina are both loaded with active adult communities. At Topretirements we count over 180 communities in our North Carolina Directory of Active Communities and over 160 in the South Carolina Directory of Active Communities. Whereas the active communities in NC are dispersed throughout the state in areas like Asheville, New Bern, Charlotte, and the Research Triangle area; South Carolina’s are clustered mostly along the coast, from Myrtle Beach to Charleston. In both states the choices are many and varied, with many of them relatively new.

Comparing living in the two Carolinas
North Carolina and South Carolina share numerous similarities in addition to a similar climate and topography. Indeed, many retirees say they are contemplating moving to the “Carolinas” for retirement, and don’t often specify one of the states.

Looking for differences, we could generalize and say North Carolina is a bit more diverse. It has more large cities to choose from, such as Charlotte or Winston-Salem. NC has taller mountains and more towns in mountainous areas, if that is what you are looking for. South Carolina might have the most interesting city, Charleston. NC’s cities and college towns, particularly those in the Research Triangle, tending to be progressive. Its rural areas are more conservative. North Carolina has made recent strides in getting to more a tax friendly par with South Carolina. South Carolina, which tends to be quite conservative, is probably less of a melting pot than its northern cousin, and remains more of a “southern” state in many areas. While North Carolina recently became much tax friendlier, many liberal leaning residents are not happy with the attendant cuts to social services, education, and other programs. Both states have had an influx of northern retirees, a fact sometimes lamented by locals.

So which state is more popular? Regardless of which state wins the retirement sweepstakes, both are doing very well. A Del Webb study a few years ago found that the Carolinas had become a more popular retirement destination than Florida. At Topretirements our South Carolina retirement guide is visited slightly more than is our NC retirement guide (in fact they are the #2 and #3 most popular state guides after Florida). The differences between the Carolinas are subtle. Both contain some wonderful places to retire, if the mid-Atlantic region is the region where you would like to retire. Rather than take sides on the issue, we recommend that you visit cities and towns in both states and see if you can’t find the place of your dreams. Fortunately, the two states are contiguous- in a few trips you should be able to get a good idea of the places that could offer you a happy retirement experience.

Sources: In most cases we used Tax-rates.org. as the source for tax information in this article, American Fact Finder for demographic information, and Zillow or the NAR for home pricing. Some additional tax burden figures are courtesy of the Tax Foundation.

For for further reading:
My Southern Retirement Adventure
State Retirement Guides
Gulf Coast Retirement: Sun, Tax-friendly, and a Lower Coast of Living
Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ
Florida Retirement 101
Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC
Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida
Dueling States Mid-South: TN, GA, KY, AL
California Retirement 101
Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, and Utah
The Mountain States: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon vs. Washington

What state do you prefer? Let us know in the Comments section below. (Note: This article has been updated numerous times and has many interesting comments. To find the most recent ones scroll down and look by date).



Posted by John Brady on November 15th, 2010

603 Comments »

  1. I lived in SC for 35 years, leaving in 2003. Lovely state, lot of nice folks. The political atmosphere is so conservative, however, and I began to feel isolated. Retirees from Northeast or Midwest may feel a bit out of place politically. If you like right-wing Republicans, however, this will be a very pleasing state in which to retire. I don’t mean to start any political arguments, and there’s much to like in SC. In my brief experience there, however, NC is a more “progressive” state, in general. I enjoyed reading the comparison above, which I think for the most part is quite accurate (though Sumter, SC is not really a college town).

    by Bill S. — November 17, 2010

  2. Just for the record, the sales tax in both Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, SC is 9% not 6%. North Myrtle Beach would like to raise their sales tax to 10%. Some alcoholic drinks purchased in restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area can be taxed up to 16.5% so research the areas carefully before packing your bags. Also, be aware that you must establish residency in South Carolina before you can take advantage of the $50,000 property tax deduction on your home at age 65 or older. If you are a non-resident you will be taxed at 6% plus a higher millage rate than a resident’s 4% and lower millage rate. For example, one of our friends in North Myrtle Beach is paying around $780/yr in property tax for a 1B/1B condo because he is a non-resident. The same condo for an under 65 resident would be about $250 and for a resident 65 or older it would be around $45. The reduction in property taxes is beneficial but groceries are on the expensive side so I can’t stress enough to research any area thoroughly and weigh all pros and cons. You can get a sales tax table on every city or town in SC by going to the State of South Carolina’s web site. Oh and car insurance in SC may be quite a bit more than what you are used to paying so factor that in also.

    by Katherine Cairrao — November 17, 2010

  3. 🙄 Been a resident of Charlotte, NC since early 80s and we are looking seriously at SC for retirement. Mecklenburg County has one of the highest overall tax bites in the country. Between sales tax (at 8+% depending on what you buy), real estate (which will be going up AGAIN!), property tax, car rental taxes, hotel taxes and, of course, income tax (which cuts no breaks on pension income) it just seems like everyone has a hand in your purse! Add to that the escalating housing costs (even in this economy). We are definitely looking at SC due to overall lower taxes (stay away from the beach) and property values. Plus if you are a beach person but can’t afford to live there year round, SC offers easier beach access highways from places like Summerville and Columbia. We can’t wait until going to Charleston and North Myrtle is not such a long drive.

    by Genie — November 18, 2010

  4. South Carolina hands down!! Specfically Sun City Hilton Head. Low taxes, great weather, proximity to the beach, to Savannah, to Charleston and to Florida for a quick weekend getaway. Moved here close to 3 years ago and can’t believe that I live in such a beautiful place.

    by Margaret Fallon — November 21, 2010

  5. We live in the Winston-Salem area in a golf community. Love W-S…very comfortable town that is easy to get around and has great medical services and an excellent arts community. Climate is more moderate being in the Piedmont of the state…a little snow in the winter, and usually a limited number of really hot days in the summer (although 2010 was an exception). W-S is also a college town with Wake Forest. Less than 2 hours to mountains and about 3-1/2 to the beach. Sure there are places with more upscale restaurants and shops, but if you a looking for a comfortable place to live W-S is pretty good.

    Have spend significant time at Hilton Head and the traffic on the Island has become a zoo…278 is ridiculous most times of the day and the summer really stinks with traffic. If you live in a plantation and don’t have to go out on 278, it is OK except for the no-seeum’s that will chew on you. Greenville area of SC is very nice, but Columbia is way too hot and humid.

    by Zebhead — December 10, 2010

  6. I was born in New Jersey and moved to Florida,after Hurricane Francis and seeing the financial opportunity of selling my home in Central Florida for a nice amount I left for the Greenville area of the upstate in S.C.,just under the snow belt,been here 5 years and do not regret it,long springs and long falls, good seasonal changes and great people.Good family area.I also have now a cabin in the Bryson city area of N.C.and love the Smokies and the outdoor life style.only difference I see right now is SC is more right and NC more left,but who cares to each his own.I am quite happy here and content.Try the shrimp and grits and love the barby.

    by Joseph DePeri — December 19, 2010

  7. I totally agree with Bill S. SC, although a lovely state, is quite conservative in its governance, taxing policies, and attitudes towards education. We’ve enjoyed our almost 20 years in the Piedmont of SC, but are retiring in Asheville, NC.

    by Lisa — March 27, 2011

  8. Hay john stevens,
    You have that tax stuff all wrong about military retirement taxes and etc. Any Federal retirement income such as military, civil service is not taxed by NC. What is taxed is the retirement incomes from another state, and then the first
    $4,000 of that retirement income is waved. After the first $4,000 then it becomes taxable. I know I am a military retiree..

    by Bill — April 10, 2011

  9. thanks for all the great comments..one thing I notice in all ‘summaries’ about where individuals reside is that ..’there is no mention of available health care..doctors/hospitals/day to day visits…etc….We believe this is on top of our list fo where to retire …especially, as we age..
    when we visit areas we always visit some medical facilities…and explore how to get traeatments ,,like ‘urgent care’.
    a good experience to share would be when on a trip to North Charleston..I visited the VA Hospital (a 35 year veteran ) and was told that once on Medicare I was no longer eligable to be treated at the hospital..
    we went to a VA Clinic and it was very depressing…just a crowded room with folding chairs…loaded with patients on long waits?….
    while there I met some individuals and asked some questions about another subject thatis rarely discussed by residents in this forum…that being “crime” and was shocked to find that North Charleston was NUMBER ONE in violent crime in the USA…
    so just wanted to share our comments and thanks for all who do…Bob and Chris in New York (presently) and still looking…

    by Robert K — April 13, 2011

  10. I was looking at homes on James Island in SC. I thought it was a wonderful location right outside of Charleston. If anyone has information that would be helpful to consider when making a final decision, please send it along.

    by Johanna Hopkins — May 12, 2011

  11. I highly recommend Mt. Pleasant, SC, a suburb of Charleston, which is the garden spot of the Carolinas if you like close proximity to beaches (only a few miles from Isle of Palms). It has great shopping, restaurants, medical, and low crime. Also very convenient to downtown Charleston. Weather is great except for hot and very humid summers. Only other negative is traffic in summer beach season but locals find ways around that.

    by John — October 21, 2011

  12. Just one clarification on taxing pensions in NC. All federal pensions are exempt and fall under the Bailey exclusion PROVIDED the retiree had a minimum of 5 years of federal service prior to August 12, 1989.

    Editor’s note: You are correct and thanks for the clarification. We have changed the article to reflect that.

    by Chuck — February 2, 2012

  13. If you’re from Michigan, housing is much higher in both Carolinas. I’ve also noticed that food is about 30% higher than in Michigan. Fuel oil prices are similar but gasoline is higher by several cents per gallon. On the plus side you probably won’t use as much to heat your house.

    by Fred — February 2, 2012

  14. Fred,
    What is the difference in taxes between the Carolinas and Michigan?
    High real estate tax rates increase the ongoing cost of property, not to mention the other costs of a climate of 11 months of winter and four weeks of bad ice fishing.

    by Sandie Warwick — February 3, 2012

  15. I’ve lived in NC for 50 years now (military brat) and retired near Chapel Hill in the central part of the state. This article is excellent on all counts — I can’t stress enough the diversity available in these two states. But Bill S. makes an excellent point that I was going to state — SC extremely conservative and NC much more progressive (yet also somewhat conservative except less so in the population centers). As a whole, NC has much more variety and offers more cosmopolitan options.

    by Rich Beaudry — February 3, 2012

  16. Rich,
    My husband and I are thinking about retiring in NC and we are quite interested in Heritage Wake Forest community. If you happen to know anything about that community, we’d appreciate your comments.

    by Soon-ok — February 4, 2012

  17. We were pretty settled on returning to Florida for retirement but after reading about the possibilities which the Carolinas offer for retirees, we are definitely going to check it out….your comments re renting are excellent and very smart. Thank you for all the information!

    by Carol D. — February 5, 2012

  18. Okay, we have decided to rent first. Does anyone know of a good apartment complex…in the Myrtle Beach-Conway area or even Beaufort area?? Please pass along the info. It is my husband and myself, plus our daughter will be coming home for Christmas and summers (she is a college student). Thanks

    by diandto — February 6, 2012

  19. WE have recently moved to Rock Hill, SC and have the best of both Carolinas. Charlotte is 15 minutes up I-77 so we get the advantage of the bigger city amenities but the taxation of SC. Taxes here are about 1/2 of Charlotte, gas prices are .30/ gal less, sales tax is less and access to great medical centers. I love living here. We first retired east of Knoxville and hated it but this has been a great move for us. There are many communities like Rock Hill that are close to Charlotte but in SC, and Charleston, Savannah, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are only about 3 1/2 hours, a nice drive for a get a way. There is a Del Webb community outside of this area in Indian Land, a quick developing area. As far as the politics I have not found that to be an issue in this area. One other thing is that I have found certain areas are not as welcoming to outsiders, but I have not found that to be true in this area.

    by Peggy — February 6, 2012

  20. Live in NH and looking to retire in the Carolinas. As said no income or sales taxes in NH but very high property taxes. Also utility costs especially electric some of the highest in the country. NH is beautiful but winters are long and cold and can be a lot of snow. Great healthcare and good shopping and restaurants but cost of living in general I think is high.

    by Bill — February 7, 2012

  21. Karl – If I were to compare it to where I’m living now..absolutely…since we have high property, high income, AND the sales tax!
    A good site for research:
    http://www.revenue.nh.gov/munc_prop/2011PropertyTaxRatesRelatedData.htm
    It will basically depend on the town/cities services provided in relation to the property assessments/mill rate. They tend to go hand in hand.
    I personally wouldn’t move back to NH because I don’t care for the long cold winter’s..and as mentioned, several homes heat with electric. I think many of those same houses supplement with wood or pellet stoves now.
    Where we are in CT is warmer with shorter winters, and since I’m used to the high cost of living here, and the services are great we may stay. If we were to move, it’d probably be to the Carolina’s. I’ve traveled a lot for work to the Raleigh area and already know several folks in that area which makes it easier. Time will tell, and it’s best to rent and experience the area and do the research on the property taxes and services for yourself before making a the final decision.

    by Linda — February 7, 2012

  22. I can’t wait to move to SC! I live in Minnesota and EVERYTHING costs more here.I have decided on the Easley/Pickens area upstate.This move is the only way I will be able to retire. So as soon as my house here is sold I am on my way.

    by cindy — February 8, 2012

  23. I am very interested in the Carolina’s for retirement. I cant decide which state I like best. The advice to rent first seems very sound. My problem is we have a lot of pets. I notice every rental community I checked limits pets to two. Does anyone know if the decent quality rental communities will allow three cats? Some of those retirement communities look very nice, but our attachment to our pets just might limit our options, I fear.

    by Kitty — February 10, 2012

  24. Note: This comment had so much useful detail in it that we edited it and created a totally new article from it. You can see it at “One Year Later: Artie’s Observations about Moving to the Carolinas“.

    I can’t speak specifically to the advantages of disadvantages of having chosen NC over SC. I’m sure my wife and I could have been happy in any number of places in either state. Considereing I thought I was moving to Florida (e.g. Jupiter), but here I am, remarkably in Cary, NC.

    A word about renting. My wife and I considered doing this. In theory it sounds great and the most prudent thing to do. However, in reality, it can be a sizable added expense and will usually entail a second physical move. And, as most (if not all) people will tell you moving is NOT fun.

    To the person above who was interested in Wake Forest, NC. It is a lovely community. If we didn’t choose to move to Cary, we would have moved to Heritage Wake Forest.

    Anyway, here is what I reported to friends back in NY after the one year aniversary of our move. It may be a bit long winded and not always all that interesting in which case, I apologize. Some may find parts of it useful, as an example.

    This past August has been our one year anniversary since we moved to our new home at the Carolina Preserve (CP) in Cary (aka Containment Area for Relocated Yankees) NC, The year has gone by quickly. We continue to be very happy with our decision to move here. We are continuing to find it just calmer, in many ways nicer and simply a less stressful and easier way of life compared to Long Island. Of course, no longer choosing to work… or worse,…having to work at a distasteful and unrewarding job, goes a long way in improving one’s mental outlook. However, add to this, the peace of mind that comes with getting away from from all the traffic congestion, higher costs, (especially RE taxes) and additional stresses that have come to characterize living in much of the metro NY area. We both feel very fortunate. That said, Long Island (after over 55 years) will always be considered our home. And, while there are always going to be some things we miss, we honestly don’t miss many of those things all that much. Remarkably, there is life beyond Long Island and NY.

    In spite of the continuing bi-polar ups and downs of the stock market and the continuing economic malaise affecting this country, the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill “Triangle” still appears to have a lot of activity going on. It’s not that this area is unaffected by what is happening in the rest of the country, (unemployment is an issue here, too), it just seems where we are in Cary (the middle of the “Triangle”) to be a bit less noticeable. There is still a lot of new road construction and housing development going on. I just read recently that there has been an uptick in home sales as well, which, if true, is a plus. Obviously, this area is continuing to grow and spread out in all directions. There seems to be more new stuff coming into the area all the time, whether it’s a new shopping center or a new restaurant opening up.

    The migration to this part of NC, seems to still be coming largely from the Northeast.Personally, I view this as a “plus.” We NY’ers are used to a certain life style and level of amenities. I would say this is attributable to a variety of things including perhaps some good press, the diversity of activities the area has to offer and generally to the milder and overall nicer weather. The area is certainly not only attracting retirees. In this respect, this isn’t like many parts of Florida. We happened to choose to move to an over 55 “active adult” community for a variety of reasons (e.g. amount of amenities, activities, ease of meeting other people in similar circumstances (meaning mostly retired), low home maintenance, etc. Our community at the CP is unique right now in this area but other similare communities are in the works. By and large though, there are more young working families with children living and moving into this area and to nearby towns and communities. For young people with families, this area, has to offer a calmer, easier and more affordable life-style when compared to the NY metro area and Long Island. I actually understand there is a need for school teachers down here because of the increasing number of school aged children. Your housing dollar certainly goes much farther considering what you can buy down here vs. Long Island. And, RE taxes although considered high (in Cary) for NC are still about 25% of what mine were in Westbury, NY, and I have a nicer, newer, and larger house here. This part of NC is actually a very pretty part of the country. I keep telling people that it’s not unlike some of the north shore and east end areas of Long Island only with nicer year round weather, bigger trees, lakes, parks and more open space. The only downside to me is that the nearest ocean beaches are 2 hours away. While somewhat inconvenient, this isn’t terrible. We also have the mountains of Asheville about 4 hours to the West. There is considerably more open green space and rural (farm) areas. The roads and highways are a pleasure to drive compared to Long Island.

    Research Triangle Park along with it’s high tech corporations including computer and software companies, medical related businesses, bio-tech companies and Federal agencies is the primary hub and economic driver for many of the larger employers in the region. However, there are also all the colleges and universities, large medical institutions and research facilities, as well. Lastly, with Raleigh being the state capital, you have a lot of state jobs.

    We also covered a lot of ground this year traveling and taking advantage of the activities and places to go in our adopted state.

    Locally in NC:

    Willmington
    Outer Banks
    Bald Head Island
    Asheville

    There are many concert and theater venues in the Triangle Area…some of the concerts and shows we attended so far include:

    John Mellencamp – Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers w/ ZZ Top (Time Warner’s Walnut Creek Raleigh)
    Jimmy Buffet (Time Warner – Walnut Creek)
    Huey Lewis & The News – Koka Booth Amphitheater, Cary, NC
    Music of Paul McCartney – Members of Beatle Mania along with Raleigh Symphony Orchestra – Koka Booth Amphitheater
    Music of Queen – 5 Member professional rock band along with Raleigh Symphony Orchestra – Progress Energy Center, Raleigh
    Cirque du Soleil – RBC Sports Center – Raleigh
    In the Hood – B’way Show – DPAC
    Billy Elliot – B’way Show – DPAC
    Yes – DPAC
    Rock of Ages – B’way Show – DPAC
    Aretha Franklin- DPAC
    Paul Simon – DPAC
    American Idiot – Prgress Energy Center, Raleigh

    My wife and I have our separate and joint activities. Among these include a variety conducted at Bradford Hall which is the Carolina Preserve’s club house and “centerpiece.” This is the 35,000 square foot facility which has a well equipped gym and both indoor and outdoor pools, bocce, pool tables, ping pong, tennis courts, exercise classes, etc. Various classes and clubs meet here all week long. Whatever your interests are, whether its golf, photography, poker (and other card games), the stock market, sporting events, yoga, crafts, wine, writing, photography, bowling biking, tennis, ping pong, swimming, exercise and dance classes you’ll find it here. If I want to hang out and see some younger people for a change and get tired of seeing fat ‘ole Ms. Fogolotz at the CP “senior” pool, we also have the use of the Amberly facilities, including another pool complex and gym (Amberly being a mixed age community), across the street. There are at least 100 activities and clubs. This is why I’ve said to a few of you, who feel compelled to tell me I have too much time on my hands, you can be as busy or not busy as you want to be.

    My wife keeps up with her personal training and enjoys hiking at one of the nearby parks quite a bit. She recently got her NC licensing requirements out of the way if she decides to use her LMT license (part-time). We both have become bowlers and enjoy biking from time to time. We have some great bike paths including the 26 mile American Tobacco bike trail. I’m continually trying to get back on track and get to the gym more frequently as I’ve run out of excuses. Over the last several months, I finally found some like-minded musicians to continue my illustrious rock n’ roll career at 61. With the arrival of the cooler weather (summer was HOT), I’m still planning to join all the golfers soon. However, getting this music project going has been my primary focus. And, of course, my two boys Tyler (Bichon) and Benny (Maltese/Shih-tsu) keep us entertained.

    We continue to explore and check out new things whether that be a new restaurant, shopping or entertainment venue. More importantly, everyone right now is healthy and doing well. So, all things considered we are most thankful for that. Even though it has always been my nature to be cynical and negative, as I have one of those “glass half-empty” personalities, remarkably, I’ve been complaining a lot less. It’s not that I’ve given up complaining, I just don’t find as many reasons to do so. Most of the more egregious reasons for my complaining have been removed. Also, my wife, thankfully, has continued to be the optimist and has always been more upbeat about most things. At times, I find myself having to tell her to “dial it down” a notch. I will say she is exceptionally happy to be living down here and tends to get overly enthusiastic and carried away at times when telling others about how great her new southern life-style is. Consequently, I’ve started to refer to our NC home as “Polyannaville.” In any event, considering some of the hardship stories and health issues I’ve heard about from friends back “North,” and, in consideration of what has been going on in this country and around the world, I should be dancing doing “jazz hands.”

    by Artie — February 11, 2012

  25. Thanks, Artie, for your entertaining as well as illuminating comments! We are making our first foray into NC in May by attending a workshop at U of NC at Asheville called Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend. We plan to make a trip over to the area around Charlotte and RDU so we’ll check out Cary. Not quite sure how I feel about the over 55 communities but you make a good argument in their favor!

    by cherie — February 11, 2012

  26. HOW MUCH IS TAXED ON OUT OF STATE (MUNICIPAL) PENSIONS IN SC, NC, AND FLORIDA?

    by LOU — February 13, 2012

  27. Artie,
    Thank you for your very interesting information about NC and Cary. We are native North Carolians and really love it. However, after living in Charlotte for forty six years we felt we needed a change for many reasons. It is a lovely city but has changed over the years into a more urban area and with that brings much more traffic and congestion. Colder weather in winter for the past years ( with the exception of this year) has been a factor. Also,senior activities are not that plentiful unless you live in a 55 community. Developers are working on that and it will be better in the years to come. However, we are already in the retirement years and find we need services now rather than waiting for them to come. We were downsizing from a larger home and looked for a smaller home only to find they are so far away from the city. We do not want to be isolated in a surburan neighborhood and after careful research we decided we needed to look elsewhere. We do know both states and have traveled around looking. We have gone to Florida and have a home there but have decided we do not want to live there year round and want to have just one home. We are planning to come to Cary in May to explore. We have looked at CP and know the Del Webb in SC. We liked the layout of SC but not the location. Services are not there yet and again we do not want to wait for them to come. They have been planned but the economic situation has halted the progress. We have children and grands in the Triangle area and feel it may work for us.The medical is great. However, I am wondering if you or anyone else know anything about the Pinehurst area? It is about an hour away from Raleigh and a quieter lifestyle. It seems charming but do not know the negatives. Does anyone know anything about it or has anyone lived there? My husband is older and we really need to get settled. We thought florida was it and we love the weather but it is not a fit. Thank you all for your help.
    Linda L.

    by Linda L — March 26, 2012

  28. Wilmington NC. I lived in Wilmington NC. I was still working and moved there for a job. I did not find the people very friendly. If you find a niche group with like-minded people, it has nice weather and great water access with Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, etc. The city itself has an interesting history and the Cape Fear River area has fun, free events

    I think if you move to an active adult community, you might find it more friendly. Retired executive tend to stick together in gated communities (not necessarily active adult) and seem very happy. I do not have experience with any of the active adult communities.

    But the retired folks that I met eventually moved with one exception (who had relatives there before they retired).

    by Lane — June 4, 2012

  29. Rich,
    We have done considerable research and seem to be leaning toward the Chapel Hill/Pittsboro area of NC. It sounds like you are really happy in the Chapel Hill area. Are you in a 55+community and can you recommend it? Thanks so much.
    Linda L

    by Linda L — August 1, 2012

  30. In terms of communities in NC, I have lived in Greenville, NC for over 20 years. It is an active college town with a first rate medical facility… In fact, Im a nurse at Vidant Medical Center. Cost of living is very reasonable and below the average of the NC cities. Greenville is 70 miles from the coast. If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck in NC this would be a community to consider.

    by Nancy — August 2, 2012

  31. Never written before & have followed you for years. Have favored Cary, NC but have been held in place by family. Now I’m 70, my husband 80 – have very little family left. Son & family live 6 hours away. Feel life is passing us by & don’t know if we have the ability to catch up

    by Ilene — August 3, 2012

  32. Ilene, I was kinda sad when I read your comment today. I live in NC since 93 when I left Florida from 75 to 93. Started out in NY. I am 63 today! and I always figure that by the time I am 70, I can get outta here. I live 15 minutes from Cary, where by the way I lived from 93 to 97 and now I live in unincorporated Wake County (Fuquay Varina address). This is a good area, the Triangle if you are going to raise kids, or your kids or here with your grandchildren. Other than that it is no place for retirees. Don’t get me wrong, house prices are stable, but it’s very hot here in Central NC. Where do you live now?

    “Old age is no place for sissies.” Bette Davis

    That is what I keep telling everyone!

    by Susan — August 3, 2012

  33. Ilene and Susan,
    I am writing about your postings of August 2nd and 3rd. Susan, Happy Birthday!
    We are orginally from North Carolina and have moved to Florida to a community that we thought would keep us both active and looking forward to the remaining years. However, we miss North Carolina so much and have decided to move back. We know the state very well but is a different situation to determine sctive living for retirees. North Carolina has become the most popular state for retirees but the developers have not built enough communities to keep up with the people moving. They are now doing that but we need the facilities now. We are from Charlotte. We have looked in the Cary,Chapel Hill,Raliegh area and have researched all those small towns and as you say Susan, they are very nice but seem to be family oriented. We have looked and visited many times to Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, seven miles from Chapel Hill. It is a lovely community with many clubs, and other advantages. Also Duke medical on site. It is not a 55+ community but it pretty close to it. It is in chatham county with much lower taxes and Duke has a life long learning program that is excellent. There are many other postives for living in the area. I will say that we am still searching all of North Carolina before we make our decision. Ilene, I am 70 and my husband is 82. We have no family left except our children and grands. They are in NC and are all very busy with thier own families so we look to people in the 55+ age group for our friends and relationships. Sometime I feel that time is passing us by although I do have a postive outlook that we must and will find the right place this time. Therefore, I am still and have researched every possible way to see everything available in NC. Susan, we are coming to your area in early September and I will be happy to meet with you to tell you about all my research or if you like I will send my email and phone number so we can talk. Ilene, just because you and your husband are in the ages you are, do not feel that you have to be stuck where you are. If you would like to talk or email let me know and I will be happy to. Send your email or phone number. We hopefully can all feel that age is just a number and we can still get on out there and live and have great fun with each other. ( sorry this is so long)
    Linda

    by Linda Hammond — August 4, 2012

  34. Before you consider anything, check the crime stats and those hidden costs.

    by Boy Ben — August 6, 2012

  35. Does anyone have an insite on Hickory nc..We are heading to Asheville to look around and just came across Hickory about an hour away.

    by barbara — August 7, 2012

  36. Hi…I have recently decided to relocate from Lynchburg Va to to the coast of either NC or SC. I am single and pushing retirement age. Does anyone have any advice on which town or city is best for over 55 and is single friendly??

    Thanks!!

    by Lynda — August 20, 2012

  37. Can anyone tell me whether Asheville’s Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend in May is worth signing up for? What did you learn? Thanks.

    by Alex — August 21, 2012

  38. Barbara, please share your impressions of Asheville and hickory for that matter. As I live abroad (in Argentina ) I need to depend on the community for hints to good retirement spots for when I make the move back home.

    by Mike A — August 22, 2012

  39. Mike A…We are going to Asheville in Sept to start looking around. We have already spoken to a realtor to take us around,,If you check out ashevillerealestate.com there is a large variety of housing. I’ll update when i get back.

    by barbara — August 23, 2012

  40. Alex, I attended the last CREW weekend. It was very well done and I think you’ll get a good sense of what to look for when relocating for retirement in Asheville or elsewhere. On Sat night they assigned local people who had relocated to Asheville and are involved with the program to have dinner with small groups of CREW attendees in downtown Asheville restaurants. This was a great opportunity to see the night life in the downtown area and to learn about their experiences during the relocation process and how they liked living in Asheville. We joked about them “drinking the Kool-Aid” because everyone raved about Asheville. On Sunday afternoon local realtors were assigned to CREW members to take them to see different local and surrounding Asheville areas. That was a good opportunity to ask the realtors questions about the area.
    All in all, I found the CREW weekend to be well worth my time and money.

    by Maggie — August 24, 2012

  41. Good Morning. I am a widow of 13 years and will be reaching the 70 mark very soon. I seem to be stuck in my decision process and am all over the board. The most difficult part is finding an area friendly to singles. Everything and everyone seems to come in pairs. I sold my house after my husband passed and bought a smaller one in a community of mostly families and felt very out of place. Now renting an apartment and desperately looking to settle in and get on with life. I have narrowed my search down to NC, VA, TN. It was all over the place before, trust me! This is nothing. Not necessarily looking for over 55 per se, however areas 55 & over friendly i.e. medical, artistic, educational, activities, etc. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m currently living in the “state of confusion”. Actually, I have lived in MD all my life, however with all the taxes etc. I find it impossible to stay. Thanks…..

    by Karen M — August 26, 2012

  42. To Alex, Kay & Karen too, I also attended the last CREW conference in Asheville and we agree 100% with Maggie. It was very informational & especially helpful in getting partners to talk with each other and others in similar situations. There were a number of singles who attended also and felt the weekend was very beneficial. We of course fell under the spell of Asheville and we are planning a full month there early next year. One week felt too much like being a tourist and a month will help us feel more a part of the community. Don’t worry too much about that ‘state of confusion.’ We are all there to some degree!

    by cherie — August 26, 2012

  43. This is my first time writing on this site but after seeing Karen M’s statement about being a widow and looking for a place that is single friendly I’d like to know if anyone knows about the Pawley Island, SC 55 + communities like Heritage, Pawleys Plantation, River Club or others in that area. Are there singles in these communities?

    by Susan Y — August 27, 2012

  44. To LFremont…cherie is right about checking out Vrbo.com. We are using it to stay in Orlando for January (high season) and Myrtle Beach, (low season) for February. We are escaping the cold NW Indiana winter, and exploring two places for relo. You can get all kinds of places to rent, and usually, by the monthh is more reasonable, especially in low season. We are even taking our dog!

    by Locobill — August 28, 2012

  45. Home exchanges are another way to try out a place; http://www.homeaway.com, for example. If you’re willing to reciprocate and don’t want to pay, you could try wwww.globalfreeloaders.com.

    Jan Cullinane
    AARP’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (John Wiley & Sons)
    The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Rodale)

    by Jan Cullinane — August 28, 2012

  46. Value Place – http://www.valueplace.com/

    by doug0613 — August 28, 2012

  47. Hotpads is pretty good for rentals too – http://hotpads.com/

    by doug0613 — August 28, 2012

  48. I think Susan makes a great argument for the idea of spending more than a weekend or a few days researching a location. Or even worse, researching from the computer. Sometimes the ease of technology is tempting but the heart may have different plans for us! Some of these big developments even have a rent before you buy program so you can get a feel for the community before you cough up your hard-earned savings. While it may not be the most fun-filled vacation, going in the “worst” season may yield the best information. For TX, FL and AZ, that would perhaps be August. For the northern climates, maybe Jan-Feb. Better one lousy sweaty/freezing month than a miserable retirement!

    by cherie — August 29, 2012

  49. I forgot to mention one of the low income apartments I am considering is in a small town near Waynesville, NC since I have many family members in that area.

    by Cora — August 29, 2012

  50. Susan,
    Very interesting and good advice for many. I like that you were specific about the weather, health care, traffic, what was important to what you liked and disliked about your neighborhood, etc. This is the kind of info that I look to this list for. I have no children. But I think that what many people “wish for” is a friendly community. I have often seen that in posts. This is especially true for single folks. So many are being careful with what we “wish for”, but it is a very vague and personal thing. It is very hard to judge in a short visit. If your interests are not golf or “popular” retirement interests it is even harder to judge. But this at least gives us a starting place to explore. I wish more people were like you and are specific about what is great about an area and what just doesn’t work for them and why.
    Thanks for your posts.

    by Elaine — August 30, 2012

  51. Cora,
    Waynesville is a wonderful small town with lots going on. It could make like happier for you go to be near family for support and connect with a senior’s group for friendship. Also, finding a small church of your faith with a senior group can be strong support. Waynesville seems to have “feeling” people that care and that is probably a very good thing for you now. It could prove to be a start over that will be very much to your favor and give you lots of uplifts. Asheville, Hendersonville, Black Mountain and so many other small towns are nearby for fun events. 64 is such a young age and you have a lot of living ahead of you to enjoy. Remember when one door closes another one opens, sometimes even wider. The best of luck and much JOY to you.

    by Linda L — August 30, 2012

  52. On another blog someone mentioned Pinehurst NC as a good retirement option. I looked online and it looks very interesting. Does anyone else have experience living there? I would enjoy reading some feedback.

    Would also like feedback from those who have experience in SC near the Charlotte NC border.

    How about Greenville SC? I like what I have read about Greenville.

    by Elaine — October 15, 2013

  53. We spent last week in Greenville, SC, and found that it moved to the top of our list (more checking to do!) for retirement from the Dallas area. Beautiful area, wonderful downtown, quite affordable home prices. Much outdoor exercise/activity choices; fit, friendly residents; shopping prices comparable to our area. We are impressed!

    by Joe G — October 16, 2013

  54. I have been looking at NC also. What about Greenville, SC attracts you Elaine? I was looking at Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Burlington, Raleigh all in NC. Undecided that’s for sure. Need affordable option. Any ideas would be welcomed.
    Thanks.

    by EJ — October 16, 2013

  55. Elaine, My husband & I visited Greenville SC this past July. We really enjoyed it but want to let you know most of our time was spent in the downtown Main Street neighborhood. Greenville’s Main Street is just beautiful, second to none IMO. We walked & walked passing by innumerable shops & all kinds of restaurants, there is something for everyone . We got to see The Peace Ctr for the Performing Arts (the Jersey Boys were playing @ the time), we took a look at Fluor Field which looked really neat then walked through right thru Falls Park. Although it was July & it was hot & humid we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. In my experience, Greenville is a lively, vibrant beautiful walkable city. I would highly recommend it. Also, I have relatives that live 20 minutes south of Charlotte, NC. They live in a lovely town called Tega Cay, SC. It’s on Lake Wylie, another beautiful town. If u have any questions I would be happy to answer them. I hope this helps.

    by Maureen — October 16, 2013

  56. Just an addition to what Maureen said about Greenville. If you sign up for alerts on Trulia for Greenville, you will see that real estate prices for much of the surrounding is very reasonable.

    by Bill — October 17, 2013

  57. Thanks Maureen and Bill for info on Greenville, SC. I did drive through once about a year ago and took a short break to walk and get something to eat on Main Street. I keep thinking that I should go back and spend some time there. It is not the typical southern city.

    by Elaine — October 17, 2013

  58. In July of 2013 my wife and I planned a vacation that took us through South Carolina, North Carolina and into Tennessee. While in Tennessee, we traveled from Mountain City to Ducktown, no interstates just the smaller highways and by-ways of Eastern Tennessee looking for a place to retire. While in South Carolina, Greenville was a community that we had no intention of visiting. But once in town it was a pleasant surprise, we found the residents to be very friendly, business’s accommodating and the mountains and countryside beautiful. I had never realized that western South Carolina’s Upcountry was as beautiful as it was. Then while looking into the price of real estate for a home with acreage, it is very comparable to the areas in Tennessee we visited and considered moving to. Even though Eastern Tennessee was our initial focus, that visit to the area surrounding Greenville, has made us consider it as a place to relocate to.

    by Mark — October 18, 2013

  59. Re: Greenville, S.C.
    My notes say “hot and humid” in summer. Is this true? It looks farther
    west on the map. Also, is it on a lake?
    Thanks for past and future information.

    by Moving South — October 18, 2013

  60. Moving South: Regarding Greenville, SC weather, it was hot & humid for the few days I was there this past July. It was, however, not unbearable. For better information I would google Greenville year round weather. Prior to Greenville SC my husband & I visited Sun City in Bluffton, SC and Savannah, Ga. It was REALLY hot & humid there, although both are beautiful places to visit.

    by Maureen — October 20, 2013

  61. Has anyone compared the Savannah, GA area to South Carolina for retirement? We have in particular been looking at The Landings on Skidway Island.

    by Dan — October 21, 2013

  62. Elaine,
    We have been doing a lot of reserach on Pinehurst and the area and are impressed with what we have found as well as finding the people friendly. We are North Carolina natives and have been to the area many times over the years and have attended allof the golf opens. We believe we have seen the area in many different situations to get a better view.We have talked with many people to ask how they like it and have had great reviews. I have a lot of information and will be getting more when we visit in the next week or so to look at homes. If I can send you information or anything that will be helpful let me know how to get in touch with you.

    by Linda — October 21, 2013

  63. Linda, I would love some information on Pinehurst as well. I am about 2 years away from retirement and have started doing some research. How can we connect?

    by Mary Konwinski — October 22, 2013

  64. My Wife and I are also very interested in ‘The Landings’ on Skid way Island … the amenities seem perfect for an active couple in retirement however we are concerned with the membership fees and cost of living … can anyone comment??

    by Stephen — October 22, 2013

  65. Stephen,

    I ruled the “Landings” out after seeing their mandatory membership fees and ongoing costs. Didn’t like the Savannah area as much as Pawleys Island.

    by Richard — October 22, 2013

  66. Brunswick Forest—I have been reading the many posts here and wondering about Brunswick Forest in Leland (Wilmington) NC—It seems to be a fast growing community and on paper, it looks quite nice—Anyone have any experiences to share??

    by Steve — October 23, 2013

  67. I will be retiring in the next two years and love horses. Based on research Aiken, SC is the hub of equestrian activity. Are there folks out there that can share more input about Aiken and the surrounding area? Also, I am looking in the Colorado and Montana area as I love the west -> open spaces, snow. Again, anybody that has some input around those two states regarding horse friendly towns that would be great. My goal is to buy a place where I can saddle up and go for a nice long ride. All feedback welcome…

    by SueC — October 23, 2013

  68. Linda, I am the Elaine that exchanged emails with you on another blog about relocating new family. And yes, I am interested in more info. I expect to make a quite trip down that why…not really exploring the area, but just to see a few areas to decide if they are even worth exploring. One thing I would like to know know is if you are just looking at the community or active adult communities and any nice areas either in Pinehurst or any specific active adult or other planned communities. When I am closer to making a quite trip I may have more questions. I know I do not want Wilmington, NC since I lived there. I did like living in Chapel Hill, but do not think that is on my list for retirement. I will also look at the Charlotte area, but maybe South Carolina side of Charlotte. I think you mentioned that you did not like the traffic and congestion in the Dharlotte area.

    by Elaine — October 23, 2013

  69. Thinking of relocating to South Carolina up around the York area. Last of our kids are leaving Ohio and we won’t have anyone here. I know I’ve read that you shouldn’t follow your kids but it will be hard not to have anyone around. Can anyone give me info on towns around York? I’ve read where it’s cheaper in SC than North so I’d appreciate any input I can get.. Thanks so much.

    by Connie — October 23, 2013

  70. Elaine: Can you tell us what you didn’t like about Wilmington, based on living there? Theoretically it’s in a great location on the map, and I know I’ve seen it on “best places to retire” lists over the years.

    by Sharon — October 23, 2013

  71. Sharon, I did not find the people friendly. I was working and a member of my main interest club so I did have a social life, but made very few “real” friends there. I have moved for work many times and lived in 8 states and usually made friends relatively easily, but not in Wilmington. Since then there is a planned community across the Cape Fear River in Leland (Brunswick Forest?) that may help for those new to the area. It looks nice on paper. I also did not like the long stem drive to go elsewhere for events, etc. If you have much more money than I do, you might enjoy Landfall. I really did like the little airport. To be fair, I am very fair and cannot spend all day on a boat or on the beach.
    PS I did like Chapel Hill, NC when I worked there, And I like NC and may consider it for retirement.

    by Elaine — October 23, 2013

  72. I am considering transferring to an office in the Ballantyne Area of North Carolina (just south of 485). If I do so, I will be working there until I retire. I was considering moving to Fort Mill or Rock Hill in South Carolina, which would server as home for the next 10 years and then my home to retire. Does anyone have experience living in these areas? or can recommend another area in South Carolina that would be a maximum of 20 minutes from Ballantyne. Thank you.

    by Michael AK — October 29, 2013

  73. Michael AK – I’m contemplating a relocation to Charlotte within six months or so, with a potential retirement in a 2-6 year timeframe. I am hoping you get lots of answers! I’ve been told by people in our Charlotte office that I should look at South Carolina to get significant real estate tax savings. Rock Hill is the area that seems to come up the most in my conversations with people in our Charlotte office, and I see there is a Del Web community there. I’ve been to the Ballantyne area several times on business, and it’s very attractive. Good luck – maybe our moving trucks will pass each other on the way to the Carolinas!

    by Sharon — October 30, 2013

  74. Steve, I have visited and reviewed Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC. It is about the best organized community I know (and I have been through more than 150 in the southeast). The owners have deep pockets, all the amenities were in from the beginning, the golf course is one of the best on the east coast (reasonable annual dues) and baby boomers are beating a path to their door. My real estate professional in Brunswick County tells me they sold 55 properties in BF last month. As golf communities go, it is as close to a sure thing as you can get, and you can’t beat the proximity to shopping, medical, and downtown Wilmington. The only thing it is missing is a beach nearby; it is about a half hour to Wrightsville Beach. Happy to provide more info or put you in touch with my Realtor in Brunswick County (by the way, other nice options in the area at prices below BF (although it is well priced and loaded with value) and above.

    by Larry — October 30, 2013

  75. I note in some of the posts here an obsession with tax rates. I have worked with some folks to help find them homes in the southern U.S. and they insist on looking in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee because those states have no income taxes. After some back and forth, I come to find out that their retirement incomes are such that they shouldn’t worry at all about income tax rates. The concern for everyone except the millionaires among us should be total cost of living, not just taxes. In the last couple of days, there has been some dialogue here about comparable property taxes in Rock Hill, SC and Charlotte, about 20 minutes or so apart. The overall cost of living in Charlotte compared with Rock Hill is 3% higher. (Source: BestPlaces.net) Now if you spend $100,000 a year, that $3,000 difference could be meaningful, but if you put a value on living close to the city — say in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte — then the differences are negligible. I counsel my customers not to get too deep in the heart of taxes. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    by Larry — October 30, 2013

  76. Larry: I doubt a lot of people are going to be living on $100,000 per year in retirement, especially since only 50% of families in the US earn over $100,000 during their working years. I will pay cash for a retirement home. After that, I’ll be living on my savings, 401K withdrawals and SS. Differences in real estate taxes, income tax, insurance, HOA fees and utilities will mean a lot to me in retirement since these expenses have the potential to significantly reduce the money I have available each month. I bet the majority of people are in the same boat and are also looking for lowest cost of living and highest quality of life to get the biggest bang for their bucks. If the net cost of living in S. Carolina is $1,000 less than No. Carolina for equivalent housing, that could be important information for some of us.

    by Ted — October 31, 2013

  77. Ted, I am using the same sources as you are to live in retirement. I used the exaggerated $100,000 to make the point that even at that large number, the cost of living difference between, say, Rock Hill (SC) and Charlotte (NC) is not that much, and that for folks with specific lifestyle needs or interests (need to be near a hospital with special care, e.g.), the extra cost may be justified. I agree with you that we all look for “lowest cost of living and highest quality of life”; but sometimes the high quality of life side of the equation comes with an extra cost. I’ve visited some very remote areas of South Carolina, for example, where taxes and other costs of living are much lower than elsewhere. That will be okay for those who prefer to live in the “middle of nowhere,” but most of us would like to be near a few restaurants, a university, quality healthcare and a movie theater.

    by Larry — October 31, 2013

  78. Good point Larry. We began looking at areas by comparing tax rates and quickly changed our planning when I computed the cost of living with elec, gas, water, insurance, etc.

    by Marilyn — October 31, 2013

  79. Yup, I absolutely agree that living in the middle of nowhere affects quality of life and probably wouldn’t appeal to many retirees. It gets trickier when you’re talking about somewhere like Charlotte, where you can have access to Charlotte’s amenities from both North Carolina and South Carolina.

    by Ted — October 31, 2013

  80. Larry, Does Brunswick Forest have any age restrictions?
    Do non-golfers pay the same HOA fees?

    by Herbert Hodes — November 1, 2013

  81. It is really important to look at the total cost of living not just tax rates. We basically looked at taxes but not some other issues before we moved to the Charlerston area. My water bill is about 3 times what it was in Michigan but so far gas and electric have been less even with running the ac nonstop until recently. I feel like the cost of food is more, had sticker shock in the grocery stores. There is also a personal property tax on cars, boats, etc. You pay it every year based on the value with a maximum of $300 in our county. Our property taxes will be much less but most areas have higher sales tax to make up the difference. That all being said, would I still have moved here? Yes!

    by Kathy C — November 1, 2013

  82. Larry regarding Brunswick Forest the community sounds nice but the prices are quite high for the homes or townhouse. $150,000 is the top of my price range. Looking at the Myrtle Beach area the prices and inventory are more in line with our budget.

    by Skip — November 1, 2013

  83. Skip, you are correct, Myrtle Beach will offer much more in that price range. Across Highway 17 from Brunswick Forest is a somewhat older golf community called Magnolia Greens. I note that they have condos beginning at $149,000 if you prefer the Leland area to Myrtle Beach (parts of the latter are a little more hectic than outside Wilmington). Ted, we agree that the Charlotte suburbs do extend to SC. I was just making a general (perhaps exaggerated) point about there being some “value” in lifestyle consideration that, for some, could be worth paying a little extra in taxes.

    by Larry — November 1, 2013

  84. 🙄 I am still in a quandary as to where to go and how to find the affordable housing for the remainder of my days. I prefer the Carolinas, but not in the middle of no where and not in the middle of the urban hubbub!
    I enjoy participating in music organizations as a vocalist and instrumentalist. I thrive on spectator sports, esp baseball and motor sports. I am alone, well educated, active, love travel, photography and my 8 “grands”. Needing to come East again from the West. Again, any and all of your suggestions and shared experiences will be most appreciated. I can read them here or at inparafl@aol.com.

    by EJ — November 1, 2013

  85. Skip, I too am looking in the same general price range as you. Have you looked at Fort Mill, S.C. It’s 20 minutes south of Charlotte & the prices & property taxes are reasonable for condos. You might want to look up the Fieldstone and Waterstone communities there & see if they appeal to you. Baxter Village has some reasonably priced condos. Also, there is a 55 & over community in Fort Mill called Gold Hill. It’s small but nice & sometimes list condos for 159,000. I have relatives that live in the area of Fort Mill so I am somewhat familiar. Best of luck in your search.

    by Maureen — November 2, 2013

  86. Steve, My husband and I moved to Brunswick Forest from CT in May. We spent 5 months looking around NC and SC for a community that met our criteria. We did not want +55 but we did want amenities and a vibrant, growing community. BF was one of the few that met our criteria. As Larry said the amenities are some of the best we saw during our search. The website has a full list of amenities and information about the community. We did find that the prices for homes in BF are above average for the area. Most of the people moving here are from NJ, NY, PA, and New England.
    It is a large community. I think at full build out it will have 10,000 homes-right now it’s at 1,100 and building is booming. However, the community is divided into smaller neighborhoods so it still has a smaller feel within the actual neighborhoods. Most of the people you speak with who live here, love it. We have not found it to be too ‘clicky’ for the most part. People are eager to meet each other and are very friendly. However, we have never felt pressured to join in when we don’t want to.
    Leland is also growing fast and there are grocery stores, drug stores, a Walmart and other stores in town to meet daily needs but there aren’t a lot of choices for restaurants and activities. However, Wilmington has TONS of restaurants and the cultural scene is pretty good. You can’t compare it to NY but it holds its own compared to small cities. The one thing my husband struggles with is the traffic and red lights. You need to be patient when driving into and around Wilmington. There is a lot going on in the area as far as road improvements and new road construction.
    As far as cost of living, we aren’t really sure if we ended up better off than we were in CT. Some things are less (taxes, etc.) but other things are more or the same (food, water bill). Not sure what else you would like to know but if I’d be happy to try and answer any other questions you have concerning BF. Good luck with your search!

    by emoejo95 — November 2, 2013

  87. Maureen /Larry thank you both for your suggestions I will be checking out the areas you both suggested. For our money and lifestyle SC seems to offer everything we need for a happy retirement.

    by Skip — November 2, 2013

  88. SueC – my husband and I visited Aiken recently (Woodside Plantation) It is a fantastic town with lots to offer: restaurants, shops, equestrian activities, community involvement, the arts – we loved it. Only downside was that the beach is 2 1/2 hrs. away. Anyone have an opinion on St. James Plantation?

    by Countess — November 8, 2013

  89. Countess, we also looked at Aiken and also thought Woodside Plantation to be a wonderful community. But the distance from the ocean ruled it out for us as well, as we have lived on the coast in New England our entire lives. Just could not give up the beach walks! We ended up after a few years of searching and visiting coastal communities in Florida and SC, purchasing property in Beaufort SC on Dataw Island. We found the town of Beaufort to be just as charming – if not more – than Aiken. Many restaurants, activities, festivals and arts events – a campus of USC is located there. We found Dataw Island based on a friend’s recommendation, and it is a perfect fit for us- gated, lots of amenities and clubs to meet people through, an active pub and clubhouse, golf courses, a marina for boating or kayaking, and a national seashore park just down the road. More water in this area of the LowCountry than we could have imagined! So we are super excited to be planning our retirement home there, and you might want to check it out online if the coast is where you want to be!

    by SandyZ — November 9, 2013

  90. Countess, I have not been to St. James Plantation but live in Wilmington which is a little over 1/2 hour away. I would tell you that if you want to live “out there”, it is OK but you need to travel to Wilmington for most things. Southport is a nice town but is more of a tourist place. You might want to consider Brunswick Forest in Leland, just over the river from Wilmington. You have a sense of community there and it is just a hop, step and a jump from Wilmington.

    by Dick — November 9, 2013

  91. Countess, this spring my husband and I toured St James Plantation, along with many of the large communities in the area in N.C. We crossed St James off our list for a few reasons, even though the houses and landscape is very impressive, I did not get a neighborhood feel. It is a big golfers community and we don’t golf. Also there are different price memberships you must pay for for golfing or pool and fitness they are not included in the hoa fees. The last reason is there really is not much around there as far as stores or restaurants. We are from long Island and did not want to have to drive 30 miles to go to certain stores or restaurants. We bought a house in Brunswick Forest which has many choices as far as housing, all the amenities are included, and we have endless choices of what to do in the area, since Wilmington is just a few miles away. We do have our own village with brand new food store, pharmacy, restaurants too!

    by Barbara — November 10, 2013

  92. SandyZ, I have been impressed with Dataw Island on my two visits there, but I think it may be a bit misleading to reference a national seashore park “just down the road” if you mean Hunting Island State Park, which is 22 minutes away (I do not believe there is a beach any closer than that but am willing to be corrected). If beach walks are high on folks’ lists, there are more convenient options up and down the Carolinas coasts…Amen to those who liked Aiken and Woodside Plantation. Aiken is what I think of a small, southern town to be, and Woodside is well managed and mature; it seemed to skirt the problems of the recession better than many such communities…Barbara, I am thinking I may have helped you find your home at Brunswick Forest. If so, I am glad things have worked out so well. You had the good sense and taste to buy into the fastest growing golf community on the the east coast the last few years, and whenever I drive by on Highway 17, I am blown away by how much the area outside the community has grown. In terms of convenience to services and shopping, as well as to Wilmington, an interesting town, Brunswick Forest is hard to beat on the coast (except it, too, is a good 20 minutes from a beach).

    by hotcguy — November 10, 2013

  93. To clarify “Hot Guy” s inquiry about Hunting Island Seashore Park in SC…we clocked it in our car on our last visit as proximity to a beach for walking is a priority to us in our retirement choice. The distance from the gatehouse at Dataw Island is 10.8 miles and 15 minutes. Not a perfectly scientific stat for sure, just our info to share. The island itself is surrounded by tidal waters and Morgan River frontage. So if you are looking for a watery location as we were, we think that you can’t beat the LowCountry! We found it to be a perfect match – and we spent YEARS visiting other locations, even trying inland locations such as Aiken. Just felt like something was missing without seeing water. May not be others’ cup of tea, and that is just fine. Good luck and have fun searching!

    by SandyZ — November 11, 2013

  94. General comparisons of one state to another are not especially helpful. There are locations in Tennessee that I am sure, for some people, are better than some locations in South Carolina; and there are some locations in SC that, for those same folks, are way better than in Tenn. Asking if NC is a better place to retire than GA, or vice versa, is like asking which is better — a filet mignon or a ribeye. It is all about personal taste, and you won’t learn the answer without tasting for yourself. There is plenty of data available on the web to answer questions about climate, taxes, overall cost of living, and the like; the questions that will yield the most helpful answers are those that ask, for example, if one community is friendlier than another, or if the traffic in one urban area is better or worse than in another, or if a beach 15 minutes away is good enough to get you to drive there frequently. SandyZ, for example, does an excellent job of describing why she loves Dataw; asking about specific communities will always yield more helpful information than asking if State A is a better place to live than State B. (I prefer ribeye, by the way.)

    by Larry — November 11, 2013

  95. Please just tell me if I am looking for a Utopia that does not exist!
    I am looking for an active retirement community so I will have a social life and activities. I would like to be near a lake. And I want a rental. I thought western Carolinas or eastern Tennessee would be cheaper than urban and costal areas, but I have only seen info on large expensive estates. I do not golf or ride horses, but want to swim and watch boating.
    Any help appreciated!

    by Moving South — November 11, 2013

  96. Moving South, your Utopia seems within reason, but without a price range, it is hard to determine where Utopia might be found. Question: Does your swimming need to be in a lake, or would a nice community pool work? Would you take an attractive river instead of a lake, one beside which you could sit and watch the boats go by (although you might have to drive to the park to do that)? My initial reaction was New Bern, NC, but there certainly are many other places to find your Utopia.

    by Larry — November 11, 2013

  97. I’m trying to figure out which is the better state as far as benefits. I am a widow and I am receiving benefits for my current state. I’m not sure if SC or NC would be better. Any advice would be appreciated.

    by Elizabeth — March 27, 2014

  98. Does anyone have any thoughts on Compass Pointe near
    Wilmington ?

    by Cathy — June 5, 2014

  99. […] article was originally posted as a comment from Artie on our “Dueling Carolinas Comparison” article (where you also find many other helpful comments). He provides so much detail we […]

    by » One Year Later: Artie’s Observations on Moving to the Carolinas from New York Topretirements — June 15, 2014

  100. Would love recommendations on reasonably-priced condo living in mountain area near Asheville in which an active single lady would feel welcomed, secure and find plenty to do. Thanks!

    by Sue — June 28, 2014

  101. Edenton, NC is a waterfront community with tons of young, active retirees. It is on the beautiful Albemarle Sound which is ideal for sailing, boating, and fabulous views. The charming historic downtown area is walkable and friendly with many beautiful historic homes and great water views. Several newer communities in the area offer waterfront properties, golf and tennis facilities.

    by Donna — October 27, 2014

  102. Moving South, consider Edenton, NC.

    by Donna — October 27, 2014

  103. […] vs. Florida Retirement Dueling Retirement States: NJ vs. DE vs. MD vs. VA Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC for Retirement How North Carolina Climbed over Florida as #1 Retirement State Best States for Retirement State […]

    by » Retirement in the Mid-South Comparison: Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama - Topretirements — December 10, 2014

  104. […] The Carolinas: reported on a trip he took to: My wife and I just returned from a two week trip through the Carolinas. We did not want a coastal area so we focused on Raleigh-Durham, Greenville, SC and Charlotte. The weather in all three of these areas is similar, mild winters and hot steamy summers (not as hot as Charleston). (Jack) Hertford, NC: We chose northeast North Carolina for temperate year round living in Albemarle Plantation in Hertford, NC. We cannot afford to own two places nor would we want to travel back and forth. We are in North Carolina’s inner banks which has a moderate climate influenced in part by the coastal climate. We are only a day’s drive to the northeast or Florida where we have relatives to visit and yet we have left the congestion of the cities behind. We are in a gated community that offers golf and boating and have a myriad of volunteer opportunities to stay busy. This community is low cost enough for us to own our house outright after selling our Northeast home. We like the community because the people are friendly and easy to meet. The nearest city is Elizabeth City, NC about 20 minutes away where you can find just about everything. (Charlie) […]

    by » Finding That Goldilocks Place – Part 3: Year Round Places to Retire - Topretirements — January 5, 2015

  105. My husband and I are interested in the Calabash North Carolina area versus Murrells Inlet South Carolina area.
    any suggestions or opions?

    by sue — February 17, 2015

  106. We moved to Asheville, NC before retirement 28 yrs. ago and would not live anywhere else in retirement. Being transplanted Wisconsinites the climate is perfect here- the SE outside the mountains is far too hot and humid for us in late spring, summer, and early fall. In the years we have lived here we have been almost everywhere in NC, SC and definitely prefer Asheville. It has a fantastic medical system, too, which should be very important to retirees. We love the four seasons with a little snow ( once in a great while we’ve gotten dumped on) to satisfy me, summers are mild with afternoons in the lower to mid 80’s and the nights really cool off. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons – long and gorgeous! Asheville, however, has some of the highest home prices in the Carolinas. Thankfully, we moved here before the boom!

    by Sonja Dunbar — April 15, 2015

  107. My husband and I are about to start building a house in Charleston, SC. We live in Ohio and have been going to Charleston for years, first with our kids and then without them. After considering many other places in the US, we made this decision because we love everything about the city — the culture, the beauty, the restaurants, the water and, for the most part, the weather. I know the hot, humid summers will bother me, but I think we will try to travel in August. Our daughter lives in Seattle and August is the best time of year there! We are hoping everyone isn’t far right wing, though. We are moving to an area where many people have come or are coming from the northeast or midwest, so hopefully that will help a little!

    The truth is there are no perfect places so you have to take a chance and hope for the best!

    by Nicki — April 15, 2015

  108. My husband I are are interested in potentially retiring to The Reserve at Lake Keowee. Anyone have any firsthand knowledge – positive or otherwise about the area? Thanks!

    by Darci — April 15, 2015

  109. Darci, The Reserve at Lake Keowee is a wonderful choice. I have visited it three times and reviewed its real estate and golf course for my blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com. Here are a few specific impressions; I’d be happy to provide additional info at your request. First, the development of the community has been patient and well organized. For example, they contemplated building two full 18 hole golf courses right off the bat, but decided — quite wisely, as it turned out — to invest in only one (they have the blueprints for the other safely stored in a drawer). The Jack Nicklaus golf course is good enough to host a professional tour event every May. The SC Golf Rating Panel (I am a member) rated The Reserve the 30th best course in South Carolina which is loaded with top courses; I personally put it in the top 25. The community was founded by a few local professional people — the one I interviewed is an ophthalmologist — and they are passionate about what they created and continue to be personally involved. The real estate is harmonious, which is to say all homes look like they belong there and do not clash with each other at all. Lake Keowee is one of the cleanest and most beautiful anywhere, and the Great Lawn from the clubhouse down to the lake is a great gathering spot for people in the community. The population of the community rises dramatically in summer time, not only because that is when the second home owners (probably more than 50% of owners) come to stay but also when hundreds of children and grandchildren arrive for summer vacation. If there is anything negative to say about The Reserve it is its remote location; the closest town is Clemson, home to the university but not an especially full-service town (in my humble opinion). I found it tough to identify more than one or two decent restaurants. (On the other hand, the dinner I had in The Reserve clubhouse was expertly prepared, by a German or Swiss chef, as I recall.) But if you are okay being “out there,” you won’t find many nicer, better run communities than The Reserve. If you have not engaged a sales person there, I would be happy to recommend the gentleman I work with. Hope this has been helpful.

    by Larry — April 15, 2015

  110. update: after 8 months, wife and i currently getting settled in our rental townhouse, in the RALEIGH, DURHAM, CHAPEL HILL NC neighborhood. we are transplants from MEXIFORNIA. experienced our first, brief snow fall in 35 years. not a problem. the robins came out, before the snow finished melting. strange, but pleasant experience. plenty of activities available, from the local senior centers and the YMCA. traffic is NOT a problem here. gas is cheaper. our rent is less than what our mortgage was. tax issues were and are NOT a problem. lots of fresh air, green trees, lakes and elbow room. we spent a month in a RV PARK, while exploring the WAKE COUNTY retirement life opportunities. we are happy and life is good.

    by davefh — April 15, 2015

  111. I have lived in Raleigh, NC for 28 years, and expect to retire here also. The Triangle area is great to live in! We have the arts, sports, college ball, 3 major universities, tons of golf, beautiful parks, world-class health care and affordability. Growth continues and aside from rush hour congestion, it’s a very wonderful place to live! The beaches are 2.5-3 hours, mountains are 3-4 away. Everything you could want — except real NY bagels.

    by Connie ODonnel — April 15, 2015

  112. I have been receiving marketing lit from The Ponds n SC and The Coves in NC. Does anyone out there have insight or opinions about these 2 projects? I would really appreciate feedback. Thanks

    by Leslie — April 16, 2015

  113. Nicki, we moved to Del Webb Charleston from MI about two years ago. We have not regretted our decision for a minute! We love our community and have met lots of people from all over the country. We enjoy all that Charleston has to offer and are 45 minutes from the beach. I sometimes shake my head at the political culture but try not to stress about it.

    by Kathy — April 16, 2015

  114. Leslie,
    My husband and i visited The Coves last May and really liked the community. The land is beautiful. We’d like to go back to the area and check out Lenoir, the largest town near by. The portion we saw was noisy – filled with hotels and restaurants; hopefully not indicative of the down town area. As the community is rural, we’d like to have a town to visit during indoor weather, etc.
    The community is a lot more rustic and unfinished than the ads indicate, but beautiful if you appreciate nature as we do. The few people we met (there aren’t many there yet) seemed very friendly, and the clubhouse on top of a hill (mt.) was beautiful. We drove around in an open off-the-road vehicle (wear your worst sneakers while exploring the property!), and i didn’t see any finished hiking trails; just very rough roads. Perhaps they were there, and i just didn’t ask. You could easily walk along the main roads, though, and truly enjoy it!
    Met with one builder, and spoke with another on the phone once home, to discuss the cost of building a home. It is more than the ad indicates. Last year it was about $450,000 for a house with a master bedroom and bath on the main floor, and two bedrooms and bath in the basement (walk out with all windows above ground level). Having all on the main level would have raised the price substantially. The property tax in Lenoir was also higher than in more western NC (2 hours away). About $3,000 for the above home.
    I hope this helps a bit. If you have any more questions, please feel free.

    by ella — April 16, 2015

  115. Kathy, Del Webb Charleston? Is that Summerville? If so, is there shopping close now. When we were there the supermarket was just being built out side the community entrance.

    Also, if I remember correctly from a visit a few years ago, The Ponds was created to accommodate 55+ living out of a larger development that was all ages. The recreation center was a nearby YMCA which was not what we were looking for. Lovely community though.

    by Carol — April 16, 2015

  116. Kathy: I would also appreciate hearing about Del Webb Charleston/Summerville. How far is it to a beach (with beach parking)? Can you use your golf carts to get to any stores? How close is the library, and what is it like? How many homes will there be when it’s completely built out? What do you think of the home construction (and insurance costs)? Were you able to customize your home sufficiently — that’s a major issue for me with Del Webb — or find painters, handymen and contractors to add after-market personalization? Where is the closest good hospital, and have you found any difficulties in locating medical providers that will accept Medicare? Did you also look at the Del Webb in Hilton Head, and why did you choose Summerville? Thank you so much for any information you can provide!

    by Sharon — April 17, 2015

  117. Sharon: My wife and I just returned from a trip to Charleston and Hilton Head. We did visit both Del Webb communities and like the Charleston/Summerville property better, the main reason is the large Del Webb Hilton Head is located right off a main highway. However, if you like a more established community and living on or near a golf course the Hilton Head would be ideal.
    Del Webb in Summerville was part of a large complex of all ages which we really liked. The HOA for Summerville are $235 a month, plus $100 per year for the Cane Bay Association and a one time capital contribution of $1050.00. The one thing we did not like was the traffic, rush hour in the morning and afternoon are brutal.
    We love downtown Charleston and the beach about a 30-40 minute drive from Summerville.

    by Bruce — April 18, 2015

  118. Thanks Bruce. I’m looking forward to visiting as soon as possible! I think I’m going to use my vacation time in the Fall to drive down the coast from New Bern to Hilton Head, looking at as many 55+ newer communities as possible. After that, I’ll check out Florida (north of Orlando, including the Villages and developments near St. Augustine and Jacksonville). I’m hoping to find that magic moment when a community feels like a really great match. At that point I’ll whip out the checkbook, and breathe a sigh of relief.

    by Sharon — April 19, 2015

  119. Sharon, dream on. Nirvana is not always Nirvana.

    by Dennis — April 20, 2015

  120. I agree with Sharon and look forward to her comments about all the places she visits. I would like to see more of that here, where people have visited, what they liked and what they didn’t like and why.

    I have always bought homes by the way they feel and I will likely settle on a retirement spot using that same sense of home.

    by Vicki — April 20, 2015

  121. Sharon, hope you are not planning all of those visits in one trip unless you have lots of vacation time. We tried it and found that unless places were located very close to one another we could only see 1-3 places a day, and that was only visits to models homes, talking to the rep and visiting the rec center because we are very interested in the clubs and exercise equipment available. Since the city we live in now has everything available we could possibly want (Chicago suburb) in the way of shopping and entertainment and we love our location here we found we didn’t take the time to explore areas around the 55+ communities we were looking at for grocery stores, shopping, medical, etc. When we do look at those things we keep coming back to our own location and nothing compares, so far. That is, until winter hits us here and we know we have to leave. But next trip will find us looking around outside 55+communities as wel’l which will mean a longer trip to smaller areas at a time. And we will do the’ stay and play’ options when we narrow down our choices. The information we receive from these blogs is invaluable, while realizing we still have to form our own opinions on each place. Thanks everyone. And we know there won’t be the perfect place. Just know we’ve had it with snow, ice and cold.

    by Carol — April 20, 2015

  122. Carol, I am with you. I learned it a different way…I moved for jobs and adjusted well to most area, but NH tausht me that rural is not my thing. So I spend time looking at the surrounding area for many things…including my hobbies that are not something most people in the community will be doing.

    by elaine — April 21, 2015

  123. Any thoughts on areas that are not 55+ I know of the advantage of moving to a community that will provide activities etc, but we don’t want to move to one just in case we decide it isn’t really for us
    thanks for any input.
    Virginia

    by virginia — April 21, 2015

  124. Sharon, one bit of advice, visit during the absolute worst season, i.e. time of year possible, say, Las Vegas in August, Fairbanks in February, Fargo also in February, New Orleans in July-August, etc., etc., etc. And stay for a month in those conditions.

    by Dennis — April 22, 2015

  125. Think twice about moving to NC. A lot would depend about what percentage of your retirement money comes from social security and annuities. If a larger portion is from social security and annuities (unless you are a member of the NC State Retirement System), know that it will be taxed by the state. Gasoline taxes are higher than in SC. How far are you driving to receive medical care, get groceries, etc. Property taxes are higher. Although I have a home in western NC, I am selling it for two reasons: first, I moved to PA to care for aged parents and found that my taxes dropped by about half. I pay no taxes here on social security or any annuities. Second, if I move back south upon my parents’ deaths, I will relocate to South Carolina (the upstate where there are still many lovely mountains and where it is not too far from the beach) and where the cost of housing, property taxes, and gas taxes are lower, and where my social security is not taxed. Weigh all of this before running to NC. It depends upon your circumstances. Perhaps, renting there for a half year or so might be a good way to “get your feet wet.”

    by Jill — April 22, 2015

  126. NC does NOT tax SSI…perhaps that was a change in their tax revisions for 2014. To understand this you need to recognize that the Federal Government does tax some SSI and you recapturing any federal income tax paid.
    http://www.dornc.com/taxes/individual/social.html

    This does not mean that NC is the best state for taxes and see my post to see that it is really bad on gas taxes http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/gas-taxes-by-state.aspx If you tend to spend a lot of time right in your neighborhood and travel by golf cart this may not matter. On the other hand if you are towing your boat to the lake or your horse trailer to shows, this may matter

    by elaine — April 22, 2015

  127. I am so sorry to have misled people about NC taxing social security. The state did when I was living there fulltime, but the change in the tax law has occurred since I moved out of the state. Really glad to hear this news.

    by Jill — April 23, 2015

  128. I have been reading a lot about the good and bad of North and South Carolina. Seems like everyone is centered on 55+ communities or near the larger cities in each state. Does anyone have an opinion on living full time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina? We have vacationed there during the Connecticut April school break with our granddaughter over several years and have traveled from the most northern end all the way to the last southern ferry to the mainland. We know people that have only gone there in-season and we know the traffic is brutal at that time – we are prepared for that. Anything else would be extremely helpful.

    by Arlene — April 23, 2015

  129. Jill check Albemarle plantation . large gaited community about 45 min from outer bunks on the water .They have play and stay . Houses from 300k condos 150k lots from 30k.

    by chris dedes — April 24, 2015

  130. Arlene, my daughter and her husband lived on the OBX for three years and only recently moved to the Triangle due to job changes. They loved it there and so do my husband and I. It does get a little desolate during the winter, but that would be fine by me. I love it there and we have often given serious thought to retiring there.

    by Mary K — April 24, 2015

  131. Arlene, my daughter and her husband lived on the OBX for three years and only recently moved to the Triangle due to job changes. They loved it there and so do my husband and I. It does get a little desolate during the winter, but that would be fine by me. I love it there and we have often given serious thought to retiring there.

    by Mary K — April 24, 2015

  132. We would love to live within walking distance of the beach. Our concern (probably common for people not from the area) are hurricanes and overall rising ocean levels due to climate change. Anyone who experienced a hurricane Or serious storm in the Carolinas? What are insurance rates for hurricanes/flooding?

    by Ruth — April 24, 2015

  133. Ruth – we are moving from Kennebunk, ME to Dataw Island in Beaufort SC. Yes – we have to have flood insurance, FEMA is about $435.00. Our regular house insurance, with a wind and hail additional coverage will be about 2200.00, about three times as our home in Maine. However, our property taxes will drop from 8450.00 to about 1300! No oil to heat the house, elec bills will be about 160.00 a month on a year round budget plan. Without all of the additional winter expenses it will be a WIN for us! Of course, the dues and fees at Dataw will be an additional cost, but we are prepared for that and it is in line with most other coastal gated golf communities in the area. There are some that are way more expensive! We also looked at del Webb in Ponte Vedra and loved the area, but not that particular community – each to his or her own!

    by SandyZ — April 25, 2015

  134. water is more expensive than i anticipated . no natural gas here , all electic. electric bill reasonable. homes here priced more than some other del webb communities because of location. still worth a look.

    by jim — April 25, 2015

  135. As stated before my wife and I did visit the Del Webb locations in Summerville (North Charleston), Hilton Head and also Ponte Vedra, Fl. We loved the Ponte Vedra community very nice. Del Webb Ponte Vedra is located in the Nocatee Community and district. There is a Community Development District (CDD) within Nocatee which provides major roadway, parks and recreational facilities (they just completed phase two on the water park). The CDD 20 year bond can run anywhere from $1200 – $2500 annually depending on the house and lot you may choose. Del Webb did offer buy down incentives on select home sites. We found this was one of the more expensive CDD we came across. Just make sure you are aware.
    The house are more expensive compared to other Del Webb locations, but having a location close to the beach has much to do about that. Plus, the salesperson we had was a bit pushy and seemed disappointed that we are still looking for the right location/community. We always state to the salesperson that all new homes are beautiful, we need to find the location/community to satisfy our desires.
    We also check out several of the neighborhoods at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine. We have a reality firm sending us updated information of surrounding areas including Del Webb Ponte Vedra.

    by Bruce — April 25, 2015

  136. Thanks Jim and Bruce. I’ve also found that water is more expensive (an increase of about $20-$30 a month) in the Charlotte area over PA. Overall, I’d say my net cost of utilities is down about $100/mo from PA for a newer house that is nearly the same size.

    Did anyone look at the Seasons neighborhood near Murrells Inlet or spot any other larger 55+ community in the Carolina, as an alternative to Del Webb? One of my concerns with Del Webb is how little customization is available from the developer. I also live in a Pulte house in a non-age restricted neighborhood now, and the construction is not high-quality. Ehhh – maybe it doesn’t matter so much, since when I’m in my 70s or 80s I won’t be able to see the problems LOL.

    by Sharon — April 26, 2015

  137. Has anyone lived in a Cresswind development. My husband and I are going down for a second time to check out the one being built in the Market Commons area of Myrtle Beach, SC. Also I need an opinion of that area. Seems to have exactly what we want but we are still hesitant.

    by Angela miller — April 26, 2015

  138. Angela, I have been to Cresswind at Market Commons several times and found the workmanship and home designs very nice. I have not been in the clubhouse but it is large and looks like it has lots to offer. I especially like the Market Commons area with restaurants, the lakes and, for us, especially the bike paths. The drawback for some is that there is no attached golf course but there are so many in Myrtle Beach that that is not a problem. Good luck in your search…..

    by Dick — April 26, 2015

  139. Hi, I would like any info on Brunswick Plantation, and Sandpiper Bay in the Calabash area of North Carolina. Also interested in the Brunswick Forest Plantation near Wilmington. Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks.

    by sue — April 27, 2015

  140. I see this thread started almost 5 years ago! There is now a Whole Foods in Wilmington 🙂 I just looked it up. So….I am considering St. Simons, GA, Mount Pleasant, SC, Hilton Head, SC and Wilmington, NC. I sell real estate, so I am looking for a strong market. I’m too young to retire but hope to be able to within 10 years. Any new thoughts on these places? Savannah, GA is where I landed after selling my house in the Keys….Savannah, not for me….way too much crime!!! Nice place to visit tho.

    by Elaine Chinnis — June 8, 2015

  141. We are considering moving to the Carolina Arbors in Durham. Any info would be appreciated from people that either live there are know about the community. Thanks.

    by maryann — June 9, 2015

  142. We bought a house in Brunswick Forest 2 years ago and have been renting it out until we retire next year . The community is booming with lots of growth in Leland, and throughout Brunswick county. They are working on some road construction in the area to deal with the growth. There is good medical care in the area and only 15 min to Wilmington. Spend some time in the area!

    by Barbara — June 9, 2015

  143. Sharon, you wanted some input R/T Seasons at Prince Creek in Murrells inlet. My wife and I have been looking along the coast of the Carolina’s now for almost 3 years for a retirement community that best suits our needs. Seasons was right near the top of our list. It is a smaller community that is probably going to be built out this year. Homes are nice with options for individual changes but must buy home and lot together. Can’t just buy the lot and than sit on it without starting to build while waiting for retirement. Had one of the nicest clubhouses/pool areas we have seen anywhere with lots of activities and friendly people. It’s off the main highway, so very quiet but just a short trip to amenities, including all that Myrtle Beach has to offer. Once you got on the highway, it was just a bit too crowded and hectic for us. Decided to buy near the Wilmington NC area as we thought it was a better fit. However would highly recommend doing a tour of Seasons.

    by Gary — June 9, 2015

  144. We are interested in moving to the mountains. Is there any advice, pros or cons from anyone? We would not be looking into a community.
    Thanks for any input!

    by Virginia — June 9, 2015

  145. Thanks Gary. I took a trip out to see it, and would have bought on the spot if I wasn’t two years from retirement :-(. I guess I’ll put it on the list to look for resales when I’m ready to make my move. By then the HOA fees may also be adjusted to reflect the absence of the developer. I’m guessing the amenities are so nice because they were built for a larger community, and when the first developer filed for bankruptcy that some of the property was sold off for one of the neighboring developments. Just guessing though

    That’s the problem with shopping a little earlier than you’re ready to move…you can fall in love with a community, and then have to face whether to buy sooner than desired. Of course, in two years there could be more brand new communities with bells and whistles that will be even better.

    by Sharon — June 10, 2015

  146. Sharon, the likelihood of more bells and whistles communities in two years is much less than the likelihood of your next home costing you 15% more than it does today. If you have to wait, you have to wait. But if you don’t, buy now. You’ll also make money on two years of cost of living savings.

    by Larry — June 10, 2015

  147. We are thinking about moving to De Webb Carolina Arbors in Durham. Any info would be appreciated.

    by maryann — June 10, 2015

  148. interesting about Seasons (Murrells Inlet). I went recently (I was on my way back home and only had time for a quick visit to one community). I didn’t find it friendly at all. I didn’t stay long, just drove around and talked to a few folks and stopped at the sales center. I have never before had that experience in talking to residents. The man at the gate was a bit snooty as well. Too small a sample to say it is unfriendlyand I guess that I would have to revisit if I like the area. Since I still had a little time for a one community visit, I went to Cresswind (Myrtle Beach).. Again too short a time for an evaluation especially after my short stop at the Seasons, but I would go back if I become interested in that general area. Tthe whole area is probably not what I want.

    by elaine — June 10, 2015

  149. This question came in from Richard:

    My wife and I are planning our second pre-retirement trip to North Carolina (Raleigh, Cary, Winston-Salem, Hendersonville) and South Carolina (Greenville)in August. I’m having a difficult time finding real estate agents willing to show us properties and neighborhoods (even though we have a good list of what we want). One agent did get back to us but said she required $100 a day to show us homes and neighborhoods! Is this common? We are looking at three 55+ communities but I’m not sure we want to go this route over living in a single family home in a nice neighborhood. Have any other readers experienced this problem with real estate agents?

    by Admin — June 10, 2015

  150. We recently moved to Elizabeth City North Carolina from Connecticut. Purchased a nice home on the intercostal. Watching the sun come up over the water each morning reaffirms that we made the right choice.

    I’m about 5 years away from retirement and this move seemed like a logical interm step. We didn’t expect to like it as much as we do. The residents are very warm and friendly. We socialize much more than we ever did up north.

    Another couple in the neighborhood just moved up from Georgia to live on the water front. We are an hour from the outer banks but only 50 feet from launching our boat. Definately worth a closer look.

    by Art — June 10, 2015

  151. Larry: I looked at the cost of the HOA fees for 2 years, plus insurance, utilities, taxes, and lost income on the $275,000-$300,000 that it would cost me to purchase a home (or interest, if I got a mortgage). I was clearly at that $10,000 or more a year to buy a retirement home two years’ early. Perhaps if I were to use vacation money against that amount it would be less, but I’m not prepared to give up vacations :-). And I could change my mind about where to live in 2 years, or get hit by a bus! Or I might end up working an extra year, which could be the equivalent of getting hit by a bus. Admittedly I’d be tempted to leap if I was even a year closer, but the finances for buying that far out just didn’t work for me.

    I understand why a realtor would want some money for spending time with someone who may just be checking out an area. Time is money, and if the realtor is doing the driving there’s wear & tear on her/his vehicle plus gas. Especially in retirement areas, the realtors may be burned out with people who are just trying to figure out their future plans.

    I was probably on the same road-trip as Elaine! I also looked at Cresswind-Ponds, but it didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t like the home designs that much, and the cost per sq. foot seemed a little high. It just wasn’t a Wow for me.

    Elizabeth City sounds really nice. How is homeowners insurance on the intercoastal? I had been focusing on S. Carolina because of the slightly lower real estate taxes and gas taxes, but the N. Carolina coast/hour of coast area will be my next road trip.

    by Sharon — June 11, 2015

  152. Richard: We have looked at areas, communities and houses in Wilmington, Leland and Calabash, NC; from MB to Pawleys Island, SC and Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, FL.Realtors have been extraordinary. We’ve been taken to lunch and dinner and tried to pay and were refused every time. In Palm Coast, our realtor had a commitment for our last available day, got us another realtor who was wonderful as well.

    by Richard — June 11, 2015

  153. We are looking to retire to Pawley’s Island, SC. We have vacationed there for the last two years. We like the location, but we have only visited in late May and the weather has been great. Can some that is living there or lived there give me some pros and cons on the area?

    by Herman — June 11, 2015

  154. I just found my dream home in Elizabeth City, but I’ve read that there are serious economic and gang issues there. Can anyone address that?

    by Liz — June 11, 2015

  155. I will be moving/retiring to Charleston (West Ashley) from Atlanta in the near future. We are having a house built in Bolton’s Landing. As I grew up on nearby James Island, I am familiar with Charleston. I am however wondering if anybody has any information on Bolton’s Landing. I will be a Federal retiree, and unfortunately, SC does tax federal pensions (I am 59), which is pretty much my main concern. That and a higher than average cost of housing. Any advice, comments would be appreciated.

    by RicknATL — June 13, 2015

  156. we are 71 & 69. visited upstate SC 6 weeks ago. between Greenville, greer, Easley
    and Simpsonville which town do you vote for. anyone know how much the HOAS cost.
    going again to look in oct. besides heat june-sept any negatives ?

    by john v — June 16, 2015

  157. Any thoughts on Asheville? Looking for a cultural community, not too expensive, not too hot, fairly liberal and convenient for visitors. Am I asking for too much?

    by Nancy G — June 16, 2015

  158. Art, did you move into a community in Elizabeth city? I also am looking close to the obx, within 2hrs, or in the obx although I hear high season is really congested. Will be checking out Albemarle in late July, along with a community in Rocky mount, NC as close enough and also close enough to Raleigh to benefit from the exceptional medical care there. Those don’t work it will be New Bern,NC and then down to Wilmington area and Southport although I think I might like the obx more than the Carolina beach. And then Summerville,SC although not wild about Chs,and it’s deadly heat and humidity in summer.

    by susan — June 16, 2015

  159. Susan,

    Like any major tourist destination, OBX is not the place to be if you are a local during the summer. We moved to a single family house on the waterfront, 4 miles south of Elizabeth City. Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  160. Liz,

    We’ve been vacationing in the Elizabeth City area for 20 years prior to purchasing. Can’t say that I’m aware of any gangs. The area does have its economic challenges but like a lot of the country, it’s slowly coming back.

    Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  161. Sharon,

    As we’ve experienced, it does cost more to live on the water. The prior owners lost their 110 foot dock in the late 90s during hurricane. That’s it for any major storm damage in 20 years. Living across the street from the water might be the best bang for the buck. We also really liked the Wilmington area. Art

    by Art — June 16, 2015

  162. Thanks Art. Will check out Edenton but as a single, believe my best bet is a newer subdivision or 55+ community. I would prefer the waterfront (sound or ocean) but may settle for that with a condo as a 2nd home. Was just trying to get it all in one. OBX can be brutal in winter as well so being on the mainland is undoubtedly the way to go although I hate to admit it.

    by susan — June 17, 2015

  163. Planning to visit Elizabeth City and Herford, NC for senior rentals.
    What is OBX? Other suggestions?
    Moving South

    by CWBirch — June 17, 2015

  164. Re: Greenville SC etc question. Greenville downtown is thriving, noisy, busy and fun. But besides the summer heat, the winters can be cooler than you might think. Not Chicago cold and don’t think they get snow at all, but do get ice storms which shut things down for a few hours. Just something to check out. If you are looking for warmer winters that might not be the place. Warmer than the north but not anywhere near FL warmth.

    by Carol — June 17, 2015

  165. Thanks Art – I’m also looking in Edenton.

    by Liz — June 17, 2015

  166. thanks carol . anything negative besides the weather about greer or Simpsonville sc
    now live in ny so it looked like paradise. but I know there is no utopia . thanks.

    by john v — June 18, 2015

  167. Jim, nothing else negative about those areas. I have a relative who lived near downtown Greenville but bought a new house in Greer. They like it there and will move full time there in the future. Right now still in the north part time. There is traffic though. Apparently we can’t get away from that. If it weren’t too cold to suit my husband we wouldn’t be looking all over the south and would have moved to Greenville too. I haven’t seen Greer downtown yet.

    Idea above from Vicki is a great idea for retirement communities to give tours of the surrounding area. Citrus Hills in northwestern FL does give a van tour of the surrounding towns and it is a wonderful idea. It isn’t quite enough just to see the models and amenities. Even retirees still have to shop for groceries, use the Post Office, gas stations, etc. etc. Many 55+ areas seem to be in the middle of nowhere and you are left wondering how you would conduct life outside the community. We look at libraries also (imagine that?!). If we have to search too hard to find more than one supermarket it is a turnoff because it seems to mean not much else is around either. It will be in the future I’m sure, but how long to wait? Perhaps they don’t want you to see the traffic, something we will have to accept.

    by Carol — June 18, 2015

  168. CWBirch, OBX is short for the Outer Banks area of the Eastern North Carolina coast. The beaches are amazing and I feel that’s it’s an ideal family vacation spot.

    Art

    by Art — June 18, 2015

  169. Thanks, Art, for OBX definition. I gather the traffic is also heavy in season?
    cwbirch

    by CWBirch — June 19, 2015

  170. CWBirch, Re: OBX inseason traffic. Yes, the traffic going over the causeway on Sat & Sun is pretty bad due to the rental business. Two main roads in OBX can be pretty congested during high season but the locals know how to get around it and what days to shop to avoid the crowds in the stores. It is as Art said an ideal family vacation spot but it has also started to attract a large number of retired full time residents. The hospital is fairly new and expanded and provides excellent care, best I have seen. Many medical practices have sprung up to cater to the increasing number of retirees relocating there, They have everything one could want or need from the souvenir shops to office supplies and a department store, Food Lion and Harris Teeter supermarkets, a KMart, Lowes, numerous fresh fish markets, some better than others, even an outlet mall, numerous post offices, great vet facilities if you have pets, golf courses, a good Y or so I am told, deep sea fishing, surf fishing, etc on the ocean and the sound offers great opportunity for kayaking, windsurfing, etc. There are areas that seem to attract the full time residents more than other areas and housing is somewhat reasonable (off the water that is). There is a certain ambience to the place that you feel once you go over the causeway. It’s a very casual lifestyle. No one seems to care who you are or how much money you make or made. Everyone is the same and I have found nothing but very friendly and open people on my numerous trips (although all in off season). You are about an hour and a half to the Hampton Roads area of VA including Norfolk, VA Beach, etc for a major airport, I think about 2 hours from Raleigh, 3 hrs from Richmond, VA. Summers can be hot and humid and winters can be tough because of the biting wind, but both are short with great weather during the longer Spring and Fall seasons. Snow is uncommon although you can get some. Hurricanes are a threat but they can be a threat anywhere along the coast and even inland. It just comes with the territory. As you can see I am quite partial to the place. Haven’t moved there yet but so far it’s #1 on my list. I might suggest renting a place for a week in off season to get a feel for the place and then a week inseason to see if you can survive the influx of vacationers. The one thing I would say is that if you are looking for theater and other cultural opportunities, the OBX would not be the place to go for that.

    by susan — June 21, 2015

  171. […] State Retirement Guides Retirement 101 Mid-Atlantic States: MD, DE, VA, NJ Florida Retirement 101 Dueling Carolinas: NC vs. SC Dueling States: Arizona vs. Florida California Retirement 101 Retirement in the Southwest: AZ, NM, […]

    by » Dueling Mountain States for Retirement: CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, and WY - Topretirements — June 22, 2015

  172. I will love to move out of Florida and have been doing research in the Carolinas,for my retirement in about four years.I have a job opportunity in Anderson S.C. It looks like a very nice city but when I did research the crime rate it’s very high for a small city.Can anybody give me any information about Anderson.Ileana

    by Ileana — July 3, 2015

  173. Chapel hill is really nice to place to live in US and there are lot of real estate agents which are proving these homes. But cost of these homes looking very high as given in this post so it will be good to buy home now because in future it will not be possible to get those homes.

    by David — July 16, 2015

  174. NC is better. It’s southern but on the whole not deep southern, as is SC, though if Deep South is hat you wanr, you can find plenty of that in parts of eastern NC. Much more geographical diversity in NC. True, there’s no Charleston in NC, but Wilmington is an interesting and historical coastal city, as are smaller towns such as New Bern, Beaufort, and Edenton. Mountains offer everything from luxury, high-end retirement centers to rustic. backwoods cabins. The Piedmont crescent which stretches from Raleigh to Charlotte is destined to become a major urban corridor. . . As for flora and fauna, anything which grows from southern Canada to northern Florida can be found growing somewhere in NC.

    by Francis R. Hodges — July 16, 2015

  175. My wife and I are from CT and we’re finishing up a week of investigating our retirement options in the Wilmington, NC area. My wife has been in communication with a realtor here for about 6 months through email discussing different homes we may be interested in. Our agent was SUPER! Not only did she take us to 5 places that we had researched from drive-bys, internet searches and email suggestions by her, but she made an appointment to try and get us into a condo that we found the night before, after viewing 4 places she arranged for us! She didn’t bat an eye – just said, “Not sure what we’ll find since I didn’t have time to look up the comps but if I can get us in, no problem”. That’s what I consider a top notch agent.

    Our plan is based on a 5-7 year time frame before we could move anywhere and our original search was for a single family home but after three days of Open Houses and looking at different neighborhoods we shifted gears completely to considering a condo as an investment property until we can move here, that didn’t affect our realtor one bit. She put us in contact with a mortgage company rep that was able to pre-approve us for any purchase we desired by the end of the day.

    While on this trip we visited a friend of mine in the Hampsted/Surf CIty area, about a half hour east of Wilmington, that moved there 11 years ago from San Diego and has never regretted the move. He and his family (3 kids) live a very short drive from the inter-coastal where he launched his boat and took us on a tour of Topsail Island and out to Key Island where we beached the boat and walked along a DESERTED beach, simply amazing. They can paddleboard and kayak with dolphins and other sea animals and fish to their hearts content. Homes in the area are reasonable, many on 1/2 acre lots, unlike the clear cut land and developments happening in other areas west of Wilmington. The infrastructure is building up with new businesses popping up each year, they loved it.

    We also visited a relative in Murrells Inlet, SC. It was very nice, they own a condo off Tournament Boulevard. Nice community but traffic was horrible. We spent a wonderful half day (noon to about 4:30) driving around the area and having lunch but when it was time to leave. Holly crap! The traffic backed up heading north on Rt 17 to get to the Rt 31 bypass was two lanes of bumper to bumper headache. We turned around and tried the “back road” directions from her relative and that was almost as congested. Seems like they are over populated for the roads which are under development for widening. It was a no sell to us, granted it is peak season but we have not experienced anything of that nature in Wilmington. We are not ready to make a decision yet as to what we want to do but we board a plan for home in about 14 hours with a wealth of knowledge, ideas of where we may want to live and some great connections for making the process easier. Met so many great people here and many from New England that encouraged us to make the transition. Now if only we could win the lottery…

    by JW — July 24, 2015

  176. Hubby is retiring in 2 years and we are looking into NC or SC. We currently live in PA. We want a slower pace of living and he loves the water. I am very confused where to go. I should have started this retirement search years ago..LOL

    by Susan — September 8, 2015

  177. Susan, where in PA are you living now. Your husband loves water but is it the ocean or lake living? We are Erie natives and live in Wilmington, on the coast but if I had a choice, I would live on a lake. Another question is how touristy you want it. There is much difference between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington even though they are only 70 miles apart. Two years should be long enough…..

    by Dick — September 9, 2015

  178. Hi Dick, I am also named Susan and live in the Harrisburg Pa area. My husband and I are interested in the Wilmington Sunset Beach area. We are most interested in insurance costs and medical care since I had a heart attack a few years ago. We have looked at several communities and particularly like Sandpiper Bay, Waterford and Brunswick. Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks again.

    by sue — September 10, 2015

  179. Hi Dick we are going to visit the Wilmington NC area in November. We were thinking about the Leland area. We visited Myrtle Beach area twice and decided we did not want to live there. Do you know anything about Leland? If we were going to Myrtle Beach, we would choose to go south around Surfside. Better schools and lower crime. We do not have school age children but usually when there is top school scores it is a better area to live.

    by BernieD — September 10, 2015

  180. Hi Bernie, My husband and I bought a house in Brunswick Forest over two years ago. The Leland area is booming, Brunswick Forest has at least 10 different neighborhoods all with different style houses in a 4500 acre community, with plenty of amenities. It is a beautiful area and close to Wilmington which is a charming old time city. Take some time and visit the area!

    by Barbara — September 11, 2015

  181. Having visited and published reviews about Brunswick Forest, I concur with the positive sentiments. The community has the extra benefit of being financially stable, backed by a big money investment firm (Lord Baltimore) that has partnered effectively with local developers. Brunswick Forest skated through the recession pretty much unscathed, and they smartly built their amenities early (excellent golf course, fitness center, strip mall at entrance) so as not to make promises they might not keep. Home prices are very reasonable and for that and the other reasons, BF is probably the fastest growing golf community on the east coast. Of course, that can be a mixed blessing as traffic builds on Highway 17 just outside the entrance but, on balance, and dollar for dollar, this is one of the best golf communities of the 150 I have visited personally over the last 10 years.

    by Larry — September 12, 2015

  182. But what if golfing is not your sport? I am looking for a place where you could walk to restaurants, shops etc. In South or North Carolina. Any suggestions,

    by Paulette Hinaman — September 13, 2015

  183. Just got back from Chapel Hill and Davidson, NC. Both are walkable and very nice.

    by Diane — September 14, 2015

  184. What about the tax advantage between SC and NC? My wife and I currently live in NC but like to retire in SC. What would be the tax advantage if any?

    by Tommy Fletch — September 14, 2015

  185. To Paulette Hinaman
    Check out The Market Commons in Myrtle Beach. We just contracted to have a house built in the Cresswind development. There is walking, biking, shopping, restaurants, movies, entertainment and 1.6 miles from the beach.

    by Angela miller — September 15, 2015

  186. Paulette, I want something similar, but not found it. I am not a beach person and although Ihave golfed in the past, it is not a top priority for my retirement because of cost and only mild interest in the game…not where I want to spend my money. However both beach and golf seem to bring some walkability to an area.

    PS. I looked at Cresswind in Myrtle Beach and agree with the poster. about the Market Commons. It doesn’t have much in the way of dog sports in the area but it is something for you to look at.

    by elaine — September 15, 2015

  187. We are getting ready to visit Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, SC to look for a place to call home. We have a vacation home in NY that we plan to keep and stay during the summer months, May – September. Can anyone provide us with information about this community? The cost of a small home is very affordable but the area looks to be a little far out with not a lot to do outside of the community. Any information good or bad would be great. Thanks, Bob

    by Bob & Barb — September 21, 2015

  188. Bob, please post your impressions afterwards. We’ve never been but visiting after football season ends. We live in SC, and this is what I know (although I’ve never been to McCormick). As you wrote, it is remote but I believe that you’re activities would be centered right in the community. It is a pay-for-play all-age community that revolves around boating & golf with hiking trails in the nearby park. Monthly fees are approx. 100.00 per month. Compared to Charleston (where we live) you get a lot of house, square footage wise, for your money. Also, a far cry from the cookie-cutter tract home developments most 55 plus communities we have looked at are. One of the concerns is the availability of medical care in the area. The nearest cities are Augusta, GA and Columbia, SC, each about an hour away. Good luck with your visit!

    by Alice — September 22, 2015

  189. To Bob, Barb, Alice and any others with an interest in Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, SC, I have visited there twice, played both golf courses (a couple of times) and posted articles about the community at my web site. Here’s one from earlier this year that might be helpful: http://www.golfcommunityreviews.com/archives/articles-by-category/south-carolina/15-south-carolina/3418-free-golf-membership-and-low-home-prices-at-savannah-lakes-village.html? Yes, it is remote, but the large size of the community and its roster of amenities is a lure to stay on site for most activities. As Alice indicates, the quality of healthcare does not match communities closer to urban areas, but for a generally healthy couple looking for the full boat of amenities at ridiculously low prices (comparatively speaking), this is a great choice. I just did a quick scan of homes for sale there in the $200K to $300K range, and a good number are priced at less than $100 per square foot. And for just a $100 initial fee, both golf courses and all the other amenities are available. Greenwood, SC, is about a half hour away and offers most of the services one would want/need (even a few better-than-average restaurants).

    by Larry — September 22, 2015

  190. Just a couple of thoughts about dueling Carolinas and real estate

    Buddy of mine works for a company that has an office in North Carolina and he was inquiring about a transfer from Connecticut. He asked some of the people where they lived and a very high percentage said South Carolina because it was cheaper to live.

    I recently sold a property and Zillow estimates were way off due to the way they sample. I learned from my realtor the website realtor.com is much more accurate to market conditions.

    by BernieD — September 24, 2015

  191. Bernie, Thanks for the tips. Can you tell us where in South Carolina people are living.

    by Roseann — September 25, 2015

  192. Roseann

    The office is in Charlotte, NC. I don’t know exactly where in SC, but I am betting it in the corner of SC closest to Charlotte. Fort Mill, Rock Hill and Lake Wylie are some of the towns in SC about 35 minutes to Charlotte,

    by BernieD — September 25, 2015

  193. Hello all … about NC. I have heard that before moving to North Carolina it is wise to check the quality of the water due to all the pig farming run-off that has possibly compromised/contaminated the water in some areas. Does anyone else have any further information about this? I love NC and would love to hear any comments, good or bad, about this beautiful state. Thanks.

    by Patte — September 27, 2015

  194. Moved to Charlotte for work a year ago. I chose to buy a house over the border in S.C., about 26 miles from downtown Charlotte. Benefits: My real estate taxes are about $2K, instead of about $4.5K in NC for the same house-value. Income taxes were slightly higher, but not enough to really matter (but I had to do both SC and NC taxes). Personal tax on would have been the same (about $400). I fill my gas tank in SC, which is around $1.87 now (about 40 cents a gallon cheaper than NC, last time I looked). No car inspection, unlike N.C. No driver’s test when I switched my registration. Negatives: Traffic. Traffic is really awful to go anywhere, whether it’s going up the road to the mall over the border in N.C., or going to work. I’ve gotten used to trying to enjoy XM or books on tape. Drivers are pretty bad. I see accidents almost every day (almost like driving on the turnpike in Boston or in NY). Very conservative (first question is what church you attend, radio political ads might make your skin crawl depending on your politics). Weather is ok with me. I’ve seen those temp signs outside banks higher than 100′ in the summer, but you just move slower and do your exercise early in the morning or at night. There were about 6-8 weeks of winter when temps dropped down to 30s in Jan-Feb. I’ve seen 3 different kinds of snakes in my yard, which is new to me. There’s new construction EVERYWHERE, so population density is only going to increase. It’s been hard to find good landscapers, painters, cleaning services, handymen, etc., and they’re not cheap. There’s a large hispanic population that performs many of these services. I suspect costs for this stuff are high since there are so many jobs in the new construction. There are lots of festivals, sports, and things to do. Overall, this is an attractive area to consider if you want to be close enough to a city to enjoy city life, but still have a good cost of living and temperate climate.

    by Ted — September 28, 2015

  195. We just returned from Wilmington NC. Looking to move to that area from NY. Leland and Winnabow seemed like very nice places to retire. Is it best to rent and make sure we like the area?

    by Carol Seifert — September 28, 2015

  196. Patte, unless you live “out in the country”, hog farming is not an issue with water. I live in Wilmington which is down river from many farms but our water is excellent. I don’t think you should be concerned.

    by Dick — September 28, 2015

  197. Carol, I also heard that Leland is a nice place to live I have a friend moving there very soon.

    Dick, we are going to be in Wilmington in November to look to see if we want to live there. We are looking to rent for at least a year. Any advice on where or not to rent. How is the public transportation in the Wilmington area?

    by BernieD — September 28, 2015

  198. Patte: I agree with Dick about the hog, turkey or chicken farms in NC, there is not an issue unless you live out in the country. You can also look at Google earth at an area you are considering to see what is around

    by Angela — September 29, 2015

  199. We retired in Wilmington in July after considering Lewes/Rehoboth DE, Knoxville TN, and Austin TX. Being a relative newbie I can’t pretend to be an expert, but so far, so good. Love the easy beach access! Our main goals were to escape snow and reduce cost of living a bit, and not be TOO far from our family in the northern VA/DC metro area. Found a fabulous realtor and jumped right in. Wilmington is big enough that it has Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc, but small enough that nothing is more than 10 or so minutes away. I’ve seen buses so there’s some public transportation (Ride the Wave!) but it isn’t everywhere – they do have a web page with more info. Wilmington seems to be making an effort to make things more walkable with new trails and crosswalks. Traffic is a vast improvement over the DC area, but everyone here thinks it’s bad (there are a few minor bottlenecks). I don’t know much about rentals, but there seem to be plenty of apartment and condo units around. It takes time to figure out the best place for you because there are lots of areas to choose from. We did lots of online research and our realtor was extremely helpful.

    by Judy M — September 29, 2015

  200. Dick, thanks for your comments. I would still caution people to do a “search” about the safety of drinking water in NC and not just about animal farming, but also Coal Ash mining. However, like you mentioned about “living out in the county” near places like these it may be less of a concern. Although no place is perfect, I do believe it’s a good idea to check out as much as possible before relocating to any state and having safe drinking water is so important. By the way, I have nothing against NC and I have been there many times and especially love the Wilmington area and all that it offers, just make sure they are always providing safe drinking water for everyone.

    by Patte — September 29, 2015

  201. Check out The Villages in Motts Landing, Wilmington, NC. Houses built for retires, one section not gated, low HOA, club house, retires, friendly.

    by Flo — October 1, 2015

  202. update, NC changed income tax laws JANUARY 2015. did not see that coming. previously 90% of our retirement income was exempt from NC. now 100%, except SS, is taxable. need to execute PLAN B. visited ALABAMA, MISSISSIPPI & TENNESSEE for 3 weeks of LOOKY SEE DATA COLLECTION. liked TENN, but did not fall in love. going to SC for more options. as a point of discussion, I scan the comments section for shared opinions. here in WAKE COUNTY NC, I have been introduced to a CULTURE CLASH, that others refer to on this blog. in its simplest terms, it is a NORTH vs SOUTH underling issue. not sure there is a cure, but it is uncomfortable, in many social settings. people are just different and it will take serious effort to fit into the group. when I read “it is hard to make friends”, I think I understand what they are trying to say. it is true here in WAKE COUNTY NC. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE’S SEARCHING.

    by davefh — October 31, 2015

  203. Jen and Davefh, what you say is essentially true about culture clash. However, if you move to a fairly large planned community, chances are residents will be mostly from somewhere else, like you, not local, and you should be welcomed and feel at home. There is something to be said for being in the same boat (or community).

    by Larry — November 1, 2015

  204. I’m sorry folks but if you expect to move to the South and bring the North with you, you are quite mistaken. It is amazing the number of people who move here from NY, NJ or other northeastern states who think they can change my city. If you want it to be “like it was up North”, then, stay up North. I have lived here for 25 years and the influx of people from the North just won’t stop. I agree that people should check out an area before moving there but don’t think you can change it. Many people move from an area because they don’t like it but as soon as they move, they try to change the new area into the old area. It just isn’t going to happen.

    By the way, Wake county is probably more liberal and North acting than most counties in NC.

    by Dick — November 1, 2015

  205. Thank you Dick for your comments regarding north vs south. We are having a home built in the Cresswind community in Myrtle Beach and will be moving from Ct. The older I get the more disgusted I get with the rudeness in my own home state. I have not found that as we travel south. I am amazed at the politeness of the youth in SC. I recently was screamed at by a BRAT in Ct when he felt I did not hold a door open long enough for him. He should have held it for me. The last thing we intend to do is bring the north with us. I was never more comfortable when visiting the south. Don’t ever change!!!

    by Angela miller — November 1, 2015

  206. I married a southern girl and I am a northern boy. Northerners speak their mind and Southerners watch their tongues. I learned to bite my tongue and she learned to speak up. Love conquers all. Retirement is about change, accepting change, like a marriage, it takes work. Remember the Golden Rule and Blessing on your choices.

    by DeyErmand — November 1, 2015

  207. Does anyone know about a community near Charlotte called Edgewater? It’s right over the border near Lancaster, SC. We have been there several times-beautiful golf course, homes on a lake. Builder is True Homes, and they have a 55+ section as well. But over the past few years we haven’t seen much building going on. It’s out in the boonies a bit, but with the Charlotte area real estate market booming, you would think there would be more construction activity. It seems like a nice place to live, but we feel uneasy because there hasn’t been much done over the past few years. Anyone have any information?

    by scsharks — November 1, 2015

  208. We are beginning our search for a place to retire (in about 5-7 years), and have seen a lot of good things about Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC. We love the outdoors and like to hike everyday with our dogs, good restaurants, a nice downtown with a “small” town feel, eclectic little shops – concerts, festivals, etc.

    Can anyone comment on the pro’s and con’s of each? TY!

    by JoannP — November 1, 2015

  209. My wife and I are considering moving to North Carolina. We are trying to gather info on the tax status for the retired,as we are both retired. I collect a pension and we both collect SS. Are these both taxed? We are looking at the South Western part of the state

    by john — November 1, 2015

  210. Regards to Dick. People from the north or midwest do not expect southerners to change to the north or eastern ways it’s just the misconception that southerners are warm and accepting. . Enough said about this. I’ll visit but not live!!!!!! People do your homework well!!!!!!

    by jeb — November 2, 2015

  211. does anyone have any info or experience with EASTWOOD HOMES builder in NC or SC
    pros or cons . thinking of relocating in the upstate of SC and he is building there
    in about 6 sites in Simpsonville SC . thanks .

    by john v — November 2, 2015

  212. To john and others who have questions regarding how states tax pensions, Social Security, etc., please check out the link to Kiplinger – http://www.kiplinger.com/tool/retirement/T055-S001-state-by-state-guide-to-taxes-on-retirees/
    Personally, although my wife and I recently relocated to the Raleigh, NC area from OH for her job (I retired in January), and love the area and people, once she retires, we’ll be moving to GA, FL or TX due to their more favorable tax treatment of retiree income.

    by DavidS — November 2, 2015

  213. Angela Miller, I have visited Cresswind several times. It is a very nice community and the Market Common area is outstanding. You made a good choice.

    by Dick — November 2, 2015

  214. We choses SC. We have visited HIlton Head Island for many years, and thought we would retire at Sun City, Hilton Head. Had done a lot of research on both new and resale homes, but knew that we could not make the committment for a few years until we got closer to retiring.

    We found Hilton Head Lakes, just down the road from Sun City. Beautiful community, still in the building stages. It used to be a Traditions community, but has been bought out, and rebranded as HHL. Debt free, low HOA’s, golf course, and miles of lakes.

    We were able to buy the lot, and hold off building until it gets closer to retirement. So excited about the future. 20 minutes to Hilton Head Island; 25 minutes to Savannah; 3 miles to I95; and 1 hour to Charleston.

    by Pauline — November 2, 2015

  215. Alice, you made me smile with your “bless your heart” expression!

    Thanks from someone who has lived in both the north and the south and discovered that for me comfort is more rural vs urban issue.

    by elaine — November 3, 2015

  216. Chris, did either or both of the DelWebb communities and Cresswind have a capital buy-in cost? Also for these three communities what was the range of of HOA Fees and amenities?

    Which one or several are on your short list?

    by elaine — November 4, 2015

  217. As lifetime CA residents, we retired to NC a couple of years ago. We live in Western North Carolina about half way between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC (about 45 minutes to an hour each way). We live in Brevard, NC in a community called Connestee Falls. What a wonderful place at about 3000 ft. elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I can’t say enough positive things about all aspects of living here. I love the culture, people are so friendly and we have made so many friends. We love the incredible beauty of the area and the many places that we can hike. So many things to do including fishing, golf and many events to develop relationships with other people. Brevard is a wonderful small town with unlimited things to do so many free events, particularly related to music. There is a wonderful new library and lots of charitable and volunteer opportunities. Brevard meets most of our needs for everyday shopping with all other things available by driving to Asheville, Hendersonville or Greenville, S.C (all less than an hour away by car). We like using the Greenville Airport and also the Asheville Airport for trips. We can not believe how easy it has been to leave a nice home and friends in CA. I can’t imagine leaving this area since it fulfills all of our needs and wants for this final happy and active phase of life. One more thing that is refreshing………….God is still alive in the South. Christianity and prayer are looked at as ‘normal’ unlike the restraint in admission or discussion we experienced in CA.
    We highly recommend Brevard, NC as the ‘Best Place to Retire’!

    by John H. — November 4, 2015

  218. John H…as a NC native and previous Asheville resident I appreciated your review of Connestee Falls. It was beautifully written and did the area justice! How wonderful that you’ve found the best place for you. We’re hoping to head back that way in a few years. (And I’m so glad you like us North Carolinians!)

    by Nancy — November 5, 2015

  219. John H. Can you tell me about the weather through out the year in Brevard? It sounds like a wonderful place to retire!

    by JoannP — November 5, 2015

  220. Chris, what’s your opinion of Cresswind in Deland? Have you researched the central Florida problem of sink holes?

    Editor’s note: Don’t miss our article, “Retirees’ Bermuda Triangle: Water Shortages, Sinkholes, and Humidity” which sheds some light on the issue.

    by Amy Keshavarzi — November 6, 2015

  221. Joann P, Brevard is in the mountains and, therefore, there will be a few snow days in winter. But some of the golf courses in the area are open year round, an indication that the snow doesn’t last long and temperatures are bearable. However, don’t throw away your heavy sweaters.

    by Larry — November 7, 2015

  222. I am a native of NY and my wife is a native of Atlanta. We own homes in the Asheville area and Greenville,SC. At this point we think that Asheville has become too trendy and pricey for it’s own good. There is signigicant about of poverty and crime in Asheville which is in part generated by the low wage tourism jobs that dominate here. In some ways Asheville has the worst of both worlds, namely high home prices and poverty wage service jobs. Asheville is in a crisis mode regarding affordable housing. Education and literacy levels are low in Asheville, and there is a significant xenophobic loathing of “outsiders” from exotic places such as NY, FL, CA. Locals will deny this, but it is a real phenomenon which exists just underneath the facade of faux “southern hospitality”. Don’t disregard it.

    Greenville has signifiacntly lower home prices, quick access to South Carolina mountain parks, lower taxes, no winter season by NY standards, quick proximinty to the ocean, little to no hurricane threat, warm enough annual climate that hardy palm varieties willl winter over outdoors, more diverse ethnic mix than Asheville, no earthquake hazard as exists in Charleston, and higher wages than Asheville.
    We are considering leaving Asheville completely because it is too trendy and over rated in terms of overall quality of life.

    by Rob — November 8, 2015

  223. Rob,

    good to hear all the good about Greenville. been there twice in last 6 months .
    we are zooming in on Simpsonville which is 15 minute away . anything you can share
    about Simpsonville . you must try the ICE CREAM STATION there . thanks .

    john

    by john v — November 9, 2015

  224. Rob, why the big move to SC? Any reason you’re not considering the towns nearer to home; Waynesville, Brevard, Franklin, etc?

    by ella — November 9, 2015

  225. We’re getting ready to move to the Asheville area from CT next summer. Not sure which town yet but we don’t want to be any further than 20 minutes from downtown Asheville. I’m a professional artist and my husband’s a building contractor. We’ll both continue to work so need to be near the “action.”

    We were down there two times this summer staying with friends in Flat Rock. We decided Brevard was too far away and also learned they have more rain ’cause of Pisgah Forest effect. Flat Rock too pricey. I don’t really like Hendersonville for living. Thinking Mills River or Weaverville at the moment.

    Do you have any suggestions for location?

    by Pamela — November 10, 2015

  226. My husband and I are retired and living in a medium size city in north Florida. We are considering a move to either Wake Forest or Cornelius in North Carolina. I know these areas are growing but I don’t want to have to travel on interstates to get to a medical appointment or to do shopping. Also is it difficult to find doctors in those areas that will accept Medicare? Another concern is living where there will be snow and ice since neither my husband or myself are use to driving in it. My husband has severe osteoporosis so slipping and falling is a huge concern. I would appreciate both positive and negative responses from anyone who lives or has lived recently there. I am wondering if adjusting to a much larger area as well as winter weather will be too difficult.

    by Cathy W — November 10, 2015

  227. To Rob, faux hospitality in the south… It is real! If you’re not born there, you’re an outsider. My two boys born in Ky. In the 80’s, we had a business there. We were outsiders our boys were not. Wave, talk to you, come to your house for dinner, cookouts etc. but you will never be invited to their home. Never! You’re not family and are not from there so…..

    by Janetfla — November 10, 2015

  228. Like most stereotypes, the “faux hospitality” one is more fiction than true. But the inhospitable exceptions tend to perpetuate the myths. We’ve made friends at our South Carolina vacation home who could not be more “Southern.” I don’t particularly like their politics, but we have a good laugh now and then about the stark differences. When we go out to dinner, they always ask us over for a drink beforehand, and we reciprocate. Our conversations center around our children, the University of SC football team, the latest restaurant openings in the area…in short, the normal stuff. There are a few of our southern neighbors I don’t find particularly friendly, and I steer clear of them. Just like I do up North. The bottom line is that folks is folks.

    by Larry — November 11, 2015

  229. I don’t agree that all Southerners offer faux hospitality. My Mom was from a farm family in Kentucky and was the youngest. She never wanted the farm life because she saw how hard her Mother’s life was and rejected that idea. She worked as a waitress in a restaurant when she met her future husband who was an FBI agent around 1951. He was born in PA but was based out of NY. She and he courted for about a year then he asked her Father for her hand in marriage. He proposed to her and they got married. The farm folk LOVED my Dad and each year when we made the trip down there we were all greeted with open arms. They would have family dinners and would gather for days together. They would invite neighbors over too. My Dad was a ‘Yankee’ and college educated, these were real farm folk that worked the fields with mules and plows pulled behind them. If anyone was going to reject a Yankee, these people you’d think would have. They were very generous in every way. People are people and no matter where you live, some people are good and some are not worth your time.

    by Louise — November 11, 2015

  230. One thing I know about living in both North and South… you will remain an “outsider” if you don’t join in the community activities. Rather it is a church, club or town activity, you have to show you have town pride in something. It is very important to pick a community with activities you love.

    by DeyErmand — November 11, 2015

  231. Does anyone have a recommendation for 55+ retirement communities that are not extremely large but have single people residing there.
    I am a 58 year old single woman and I dont want to be living with all couples. (not sure if this even exists!)
    I am interested in Fla., N.C. and S.C. Your suggestions would be appreciated.
    Terry

    by Terry — March 30, 2016

  232. Terry, I live at Del Webb Charleston and we have lots of singles. There is an active singles group. Everyone here is very inclusive and welcoming. We should be built out in the next 12-18 months and will have a little over 1000 houses.

    by Kathy — March 31, 2016

  233. Terry, What do you mean by “extremely” large? The catch 22 is that places like Del Webb (usually about 20-25 percent singe) are a great alternative for us singles, but most are large…not sure about extremely large. Also you have to accept that the quality of homes for the price is not great (at least in the DelWebs that I have visited)…and know that you are sacrifying home value for the lifestyle.

    Just curious are you thinking c oastal in NC and SC and even FL? Charlotte area (both NC and SC) has some places worth a visit), While Asheville doesn’t have much in active adult communities there is a group of singles centered around the OLLI located there.

    by elaine — March 31, 2016

  234. I posted this on another blog and got no response. I was wondering if anybody lives in Woodside Plantation in Aiken SC. Supposedly there is a daily burn of the Hitchcock Woods that leaves a cloud over the town of Aiken. Can anybody either confirm or deny this is happening.

    by Mike M — April 1, 2016

  235. To Mike M,

    I live in Woodside Plantation in Aiken, SC. Yes there is an occasional burn in Hitchcock Woods but no way near a daily burn and it does not cover the town in smoke.

    Paul M

    by Paul M — April 1, 2016

  236. Does anyone know anything about the Edgewater community located in Lancaster, SC? It’s near the NC/SC border near Charlotte, NC. It’s been around for at least 6 or 7 years, I believe. We have visited there a couple of times-it’s out in the boonies, but a great golf course, and set on a lovely lake. But there doesn’t seem to be alot of homes built there, which has given us an uneasy feeling, since the real estate market in that area is booming.

    by scsharks — April 3, 2016

  237. Is there a town in the cool mountains of NC where there are no schools, social programs or any other government paid programs that increase local taxes where seniors can live and not have to support programs they do not need?

    by Jim l — April 3, 2016

  238. I know it sounds odd no schools, no locally funded daycare, no welfare … but why pay for things you never need. I think there should be towns where seniors that are fiscally independent can live and not have any of the social programs they do not need and more of the programs they do need like medical care and nursing facilities. This would funnel taxes into the programs that offer seniors value.

    by Jim l — April 4, 2016

  239. Interesting…so you think that in a municipality that has no children, only seniors, the costs of supporting medical and nursing care would be affordable for the residents who aren’t paying the costs of supporting services not needed by seniors? Don’t you realize that a broad base of residents of all ages and needs is crucial to a self-supporting municipality? Your cost for the hospital district would be as much as the missing cost of the school district.

    by Joe G — April 4, 2016

  240. Does anyone have information about retiring in and around Greenville NC?

    by Carol — April 5, 2016

  241. Ditto in SC Jim C. Once 65, little or no school tax. The sad state of the public schools, school buses and low national rating for quality of education are the result however…

    by SandyZ — April 6, 2016

  242. SCSharks: I live in Lancaster near the big Sun City, but I’m a transplantee. I’m not familiar with Edgewater. I looked online, and it appears to be at the bottom of the county. My suspicion is that the major development simply hasn’t gotten that far south yet, with most of the new developments being in the Northern part of the county, closer to the perks of Charlotte.

    It’s true that there’s a lot of construction up our way. Commercial for Sale signs line the highways into S. Carolina, over the border from N. Carolina. Del Webb has started building another 1,000 home complex in Fort Mill, SC. A sign went up that another Active Adult community is coming soon across the street from Del Webb Carolina Lakes in Lancaster. A little up the road, land is being razed for a movie complex, and two more churches have started construction. On our HOA website, people post plans taken from developer sites, showing developers are trying to find tenants for proposed new shopping strip malls. All-age housing developments are being built everywhere the closer you get to the NC border. As a negative, traffic is truly terrible and only getting worse. Plan on 1-1/2 hour or more if you’re going to drive that 25-30 miles into Charlotte.

    by Kate — April 7, 2016

  243. My sister moved to the charming town of Beaufort SC and loves its history, climate, people, and being on the coast. She lives in a safe, gated, community called Picket Fences which is NOT age restricted. But it is fun for grandchildren to visit for its pool and places to walk. Really a lovely area.

    by Janet Harvey — April 15, 2016

  244. Im thinking about moving from long Island to SC in the folly beach area. Anyone with valuable info is appreciated

    by Don Cari — April 16, 2016

  245. Kate’s message said …A sign went up that another Active Adult community is coming soon across the street from Del Webb Carolina Lakes in Lancaster..
    We’re interested in this area and think Del Webb is too expensive. What does the sign say about the new adult community across the street? Does the developer have a website now? Also you are scaring us about the posibility of traffic problems here and that’s why we are moving from Austin, TX area.

    by Ronald — April 17, 2016

  246. Ronald – It’s the Tree Tops community by Lennar. They have a web site but nothing posted yet. Apparently there will be about 800 homes. I looked at the builder’s site, and my guess is that they’ll be more expensive than Del Webb. http://www.treetopslennar.com/ There’s another 55+ community in Rock Hill called Gold Hill, but I don’t know anything about it. There are also lots of Epcon smaller 55+ communities in the Charlotte area, which can have resales in the mid-to high 200’s. Trilogy is building North of Charlotte, but their homes are in the 300’s to 400’s.

    When I moved here in 2014, it was still a Buyer’s market. Someone in my office told me that Charlotte had a real estate crash due to a banking industry problem a few years ago, and many Sellers were underwater. As I was real estate shopping, I noticed that some Sellers had paid more than they were trying to sell their homes for. My Seller had apparently tried to sell the house several times, according to Zillow. I was interested to see that my second choice home eventually sold for $30K less than the asking price (especially since the Seller’s realtor told my realtor that the Seller wouldn’t entertain an offer $15K less than the askiing price). I don’t know if that’s changed or not. There’s certainly a lot of new construction, and homes in my neighborhood are currently selling quickly. .

    by Kate — April 18, 2016

  247. Thanks Kate. Do you have a feeling for how the 55+ community residents are coping with the increased traffic around Charlotte and new commercial developments along 521 etc? Golfcarts are nice within community boundaries, but we are active and also want to explore recreation, dining, music etc, and worried about traffic issues.

    by Ronald — April 18, 2016

  248. I have heard that Del Webb is building a new, smaller community near Carolina Lakes. We live in Del Webb Charleston and love. I have also been told by fellow residents that looked at other Del Webb communities that ours is less expensive than some of their other locations.

    by Kathy — April 18, 2016

  249. Kathy, has the town of Summerville grown much since Del Webb opened? We looked there when this Del Webb was new but wondered if there would be a variety of retail available besides the drug and grocery being built near the entrance. We liked the little downtown area. Thanks.

    by Carold — April 19, 2016

  250. Carold, the Publix shopping center now has several restaurants, vet clinic, dental office and Dr’s office. A breakfast cafe is due to open next month. A hospital is going g to be built about 5 miles from here. We have been here not quite 3 years and I am amazed at how much growth there has been. There will also be a new exit off 26 that will eventually connect us to the backside of the Target shopping center.

    by Kathy — April 20, 2016

  251. Kathy,
    I’m another Kathy moving to Nexton in Summerville at the end of June.
    The growth is amazing. Would love to know anything else you can tell me about the area.

    by Kathy T — April 20, 2016

  252. Ronald: I spent the first few months after relocation with high blood pressure, sitting in traffic and ticked off that it took me so long to go anywhere. I’ve gradually come to accept it, and figure on getting brake jobs every 20,000 miles. I got XM radio for the car, and also listen to books on tape now as I sit in traffic. I honestly think that many people end up just enjoying aging in their 55+ communities, and either don’t drive much or plan car trips to avoid major highways and rush hours… or they simply adapt, like I’ve been doing.

    by Kate — April 20, 2016

  253. We are looking into moving to New Bern,NC.in March 2017. Would like some information from someone who lives there on what it is like in this town. We now live in Florida and wanted to move a little more North.

    by John — April 20, 2016

  254. Kathy T, Nexton looks like a great place to live! What kind of information are you looking for? I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

    by Kathy — April 21, 2016

  255. John, I live in Raleigh and have visited New Bern over the years but it has been a while since I was last there. I was there yesterday on business and walked around the parks on the rivers and downtown area. Of all the cities I have visited over the years up and down the east coast this one clearly stands out. The streets are beautiful, history is all around and the people are so genuine and friendly. Cannot image there is something here not to love! I am a few years away from retiring but feel like this will be my choice to retire. I think if anyone visits here they will feel the same way. Call Cariline at the visitors center for more info. She was very kind to me yesterday and gave me lots of informational materials. I also met a lady at the drug store and Pepsi “stuff”, this is the home of the original inventor of Pepsi, and she had moved to New Bern 9 years ago from Connecticut. They have loved it here, I would think you could call her for personal experience. Enjoy eastern North Carolina and the rest of NC.

    by Huntley — April 21, 2016

  256. Kate, Thanks for the input on Edgewater. I used to live in Charlotte, so I know the traffic woes. Your comment about Edgewater being at the lower end of Lancaster county is right, because you really have to know where it is-it’s so far out in the country. That said, my husband and I are golfers, and love this place-we have considered relocating there. However, I’ve heard there were some legal issues with True Homes a while back. It’s such a pristine location, but with little construction activity it scared us off. We have asked the sales office how many homes have been built in the last year, and we never got a straight answer. Guess we’ll just monitor this location for awhile.

    by scsharks — April 21, 2016

  257. Hello. My wife and I are strongly considering relocating / semi retiring to either North, or South Carolina. So far, we have visited Bluffton, Beaufort and Summerville SC. This summer, we are visiting Charleston, Daniel Island and Mount Pleasant, SC. We are also going to Wilmington NC and it’s surrounding communities. Currently, we reside in New Jersey. Can anyone kindly shed some light on what auto insurance might cost in these two states? It’s gotta be less expensive then what we’re paying here!

    by Lee Krislow — April 24, 2016

  258. Can someone please give us an idea of what electric rates are like in New Bern NC? Both in the town and
    surrounding areas?? Possibly give us an idea of monthly costs on a home of around 1300 square ft?? Would be much appreciated. Kathy

    by JOHN — April 27, 2016

  259. JOHN, This may help you on your question. The average family uses around 908K a month @ 12 cents per kilowatts;
    VA 11.8 cents a Kilowatt
    KY 15.9
    TN 16.
    NJ 16.1
    GA 17.4
    NC 17.5
    SC 18.3
    FL 18.4
    A well insulated home uses less due to heating/cooling. Using appliances during peak hours costs more (4-8pm)

    by DeyErmand — April 28, 2016

  260. I also wanted to add, Different Power companies did raise the prices last year. The best way is to call the electric company of the town you are searching to get exact costs. Some cities have their own independent source which can save money.

    by DeyErmand — April 28, 2016

  261. Lee Krislow, our auto insurance in Beaufort SC is $984.00 for a 2013 SUV. That reflects a discount because we bundle our home and auto insurance. WE are two drivers with immaculate driving history. About 30% higher than Maine. Hope that helps!

    by SandyZ — April 28, 2016

  262. My wife and I are going to the Edgewater community in Lancaster SC in June for a visit. If anyone has information on that community or any and all in the area that would be great.

    Thank you,

    Bob

    by Bob & Barb — April 28, 2016

  263. I recommend that everyone consider renting in an area for a little while to give yourselves sufficient time to explore all your options. Regardless, just a few thoughts from a guy who has lived and worked in many cities in the Carolina’s…

    We lived in Greenville(Upstate)SC and we loved it in the foothills, close to the mountains, which are lovely year-round and cool in the hot summer months. 3.5 hours to Charleston and a touch more to Hilton Head. Two easy hours to Atlanta or Charlotte. Good air service. I recommend renting here and exploring the Carolina’s.

    Charleston is the cultural hub of the low country, with lots to do, lots to offer, and great beaches. There are a variety of communities around Charleston well within two hours of the ocean. Charleston traffic can be a concern and was a factor in our decision not to locate there. The Summerville area is probably one of the safer areas to live in. Charleston and Greenville are two of the more expensive areas to live in in SC, but they are probably cheaper than Chapel Hill. Charleston gets down to about the 50’s in the winter, while Greenville gets snow and ice in the winter. However, Charleston is hot and humid in the summers. Charleston and Spartanburg have the best medical facilities ratings in SC.

    Columbia is the business hub and has some of the hottest, most humid summer weather in SC. If you’re retiring, it would not be high on my list, due to higher cost of living, we moved outside the area to Georgetown, SC Georgetown has recently opened a Endo, Neuro center near their hospital.They opened a cancer center back in 2004.

    The Beaufort/Hilton Head, NC area is the “true” low country, and some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever find. It’s worth checking out.

    Myrtle Beach is Myrtle Beach. It’s a tourist town going thru a transition to a retirement town. It’s got great restaurants, lots to do, and lots of people. It’s getting crowded.

    You probably won’t see it on many people’s list, but I recommend spending a little time in Conway, SC. It’s about 30 minutes from MB and about 45 minutes from nice beaches. It’s a pretty little town along the Waccamaw River, and has a lot to offer.The hospital is small but the Grand Strand is in MB. Georgetown SC or Southport NC are the best 2 small towns I have lived in the Carolina’s, finding living “outside” a bigger city more liking to my budget in many States…

    Perhaps some ‘?active?’ towns to consider are Beaufort, SC, Charleston, SC, and Wilmington, NC. All are coastal towns with lots of history, artsy, great restaurants and coastal. ?(?Savannah, GA is similar as well.?)? Asheville is not by the coast, but in the Blue Ridge mountains…considered cool and ‘granola’. Charlotte has a lot to offer…2 hours to mountains, 4 to beaches.? Also Charlotte has the best Medical facilities in the State.?

    Taxes help to pay for the well being of everyone. If your State taxes, city taxes seem high, ask yourself what you get “extra” by having taxes in place. Hospitals and Police departments depend on taxes as do schools, Senior Vans, and downtown free entertainment. So when you move to save tax expense, you may miss those “extra” amenities of back home!

    by DeyErmand — April 28, 2016

  264. Dey Ermand,
    a lot of good info . I am preparing a move to Simpsonville SC. been there twice.
    about 8-10 miles from Greenville . retired. just making the move from nyc to there would save
    me $ 1,900 yr on my aarp supp for the same coverage. my RE taxes on a $ 200,000 home
    would be around $ 1,000.00 compared to $5,000.00 now .the town and people warmed our hearts. what other helpful info can you provide. probably our last move . thank you .

    john v.

    by john v — April 29, 2016

  265. Dey Emmand – Just opened my electric bill here in Beaufort SC – 12.4 cents for first 800 KW and 11.8 for the next 200 KW. $159.00 for the month, with AC going and set at 75 degrees. A little less than what you had found. These numbers, utilities and insurance are the hardest numbers to nail down when moving and planning a budget. Our biggest surprise for the budget was the health insurance costs. I am a few years away from Medicare, but my husband just turned 65 and started Medicare this month. Here is how it shook out for us: Medicare Part B was higher than planned, supplemental lower than expected, Part D drug was a higher than expected, but then add the dental and vision, long-term care and climbing life insurance premiums as we age and whew! Health related insurance is definitely the biggest part of the budget! A bit over 1200.00 for two of us! Difficult to flush all of this out ahead of that magic birthday and requires hours and hours of research and phone calls. Hope this helps folks beginning to plan their retirement budget.

    by SandyZ — April 29, 2016

  266. John V Simpsonville, has a lot to offer, semi- affordable living, lots of stores to shop available. Not far from Greenville. but do join in some volunteering or a church, club, groups to “fit” in, not far from Greenville. It is a family oriented town. The town has grown. Very hot, and humid in the summer.

    by DeyErmand — April 29, 2016

  267. Hi was wondering if anyone could give us some information on Summerville SC. We are considering moving
    to that town and was hoping someone could give us some input on the good and the bad John

    by jennie — April 30, 2016

  268. Bob and Barb, Please let me know what you find out about Edgewater. My husband and I have visited there several times before over the past 4 or 5 years. I have asked this blog community about it (my post 4-3-16). My husband and I are golfers, and found Edgewater very nice. But-there did not seem to be a lot of construction going on, which made us wonder why. We have talked to a Realtor a couple of times, but there wasn’t much follow up from him. Still love the place, so would appreciate a report when you visit there.

    by scsharks — April 30, 2016

  269. Hi Was wondering if someone could provide some information on Conway SC Looking at various towns and this is one of them.

    by jennie — April 30, 2016

  270. Erin, you want Raleigh, NC or Greenville SC for retail jobs. Pay is generally better in NC and utilities and housing costs more, but medical co pays are less. If your financial well being is based on the sale of your present home, check out Greenville.

    by DeyErmand — May 4, 2016

  271. Edgewater- my husband and I just left there 2 days ago. They have a play and stay but opted not to stay. There is very little there, no amenities yet. The nearest town is Lancaster which offers the basic necessities. It’s a dry county and not many homes built. If you are looking for a lake front lot, it may be worth it.

    I don’t have much else to offer as we were looking for an active adult.

    by Vickie — May 4, 2016

  272. Erin
    Check out Myrtle beach. Real estate costs are low ( off the beach) and there are lots of retail jobs. It’s also tax friendly for seniors.

    by Cyndi — May 4, 2016

  273. Erin have you ever considered co-housing of some kind? We are considering an arrangement like that. Looking at homes with 2 master suites and an extra bedroom. Each couple would have their own master suite and bath, an extra bedroom for either couple’s guests, and common areas – kitchen family room, etc.

    Otherwise, I would suggest the Conway area – very reasonable, close to the beach, but not close enough to be threatened by hurricanes.

    Good luck.

    by Liz — May 4, 2016

  274. We are hoping to relocate to an area close to Myrtle Beach called Seagate Village. Does anyone have any information on this development?? Anything you could give us would be helpful. JOHN

    by JOHN — May 19, 2016

  275. for John, where is Seagate Village & how did you come to select this place? If you don’t mind sharing, ty in advance.

    by raycor — May 21, 2016

  276. For Raycor:

    It is a development right across the street from Myrtle Beach State Park. It consists of 800 homes. Back in the
    50’s it was base housing. When the base closed it was purchased by a group who completely remodeled the
    homes. A realtor told us to look at this development. From what we saw on the internet and also speaking to
    the office people at Seagate, it looks and sounds quite appealing. You can research it on the internet if you
    would like to see pictures and read the story of Seagate. We are hoping to move to the Myrtle Beach area
    sometime next year and have started to do some research on available homes. John

    by JOHN — May 21, 2016

  277. Erin and Liz: I also want to move rea. I researched, and Conway does get hit by hurricanes now and then.

    by Amy — May 22, 2016

  278. Amy, if you are concerned about a hurricane hitting “now and then”, you will never move to the Southeast. I would not worry if I were you. A

    by Dick — May 22, 2016

  279. Sheesh! I’m so annoyed by having to scroll and scroll and scroll to get to the most recent posts! Admin: can you please have the most current postings at the top???? Who else is with me on this? In the meantime, does anyone know a keyboard shortcut (macbook pro) that would take me immediately to the bottom of the page?

    Admin Comment. This request is certainly reasonable and it has come up many times before. The consensus seems to be that although it is a pain to go to the bottom to see the latest, it is more disconcerting to read the comments in backwards order (the answer before you see the question). So we are going to stick with latest at bottom, but here is a good tip we found in an online Apple forum:

    While swiping a long document, email, or webpage, try several long, quick swipes in rapid succession: you should notice the scrolling speed accelerate accordingly.

    We just tried it and it works very well. Use it and it you will get to the bottom quickly. No one seems to know of a command that does this for you.

    by Barbara — May 22, 2016

  280. Agree, current posts at the top, much better, especially if viewing on a tablet.

    by Sandie — May 22, 2016

  281. For the past several months, I can tap on a new comment in the daily email update and it takes me right to it. Very handy.

    by LocoBill — May 23, 2016

  282. LocoBill’s experience is mine on iPad: Tap on link in email and it takes you to that comment (at bottom of list).

    by Larry — May 23, 2016

  283. Same on iPhone, it opens to the newest comments. And really how hard is scrolling?

    by Debra — May 23, 2016

  284. Amy, I don’t know what you are looking for but the only caveat I have about Conway is that if you live near the river, there has been occasional flooding so be careful where you buy. There are many nice developments between Conway and Myrtle Beach especially in the Carolina Forest area. Good luck…..

    by Dick — May 23, 2016

  285. Sorry to hear you’re not going to change things (to current posts at the top.) I was already doing the speedy scrolling you described, all the while thinking, “this is so stupid!” because this Dueling Carolinas conversation is so long. Could you look into the possibility of having a “Settings” feature where users could click a radio button for their preference?
    And to LocoBill, I used to be able to do that. It worked that way when I first started getting the daily email updates a couple months ago, and then all of a sudden it stopped working. Computers can be so frustrating.

    by Barbara — May 23, 2016

  286. Hi Dick. Yes, I’m “a scardy cat”. So, now my issue is that I shouldn’t live in a house or on the first floor of a condo building because of flooding. That means I would want an elevator, because I don’t want to move after this, and in my older years, I can’t see myself being okay with carrying groceries up the stairs, etc. I know I must sound like I’m a negative person, but I really am an optimistic person!

    by Amy — May 24, 2016

  287. BeckyN: I agree! I feel so lucky to have access to this retirement site every day! There are rare, minor imperfections.

    by Ann — May 25, 2016

  288. Amy, a house or first floor condo shouldn’t be an issue unless you are close to the river. Don’t limit yourself. Lots to choose from…….

    by Dick — May 25, 2016

  289. Re: faster navagation

    I also can use swipes as described above

    on my Surface: “ctrl+end” or
    “PgDn” work

    by elaine — May 25, 2016

  290. Trying to decide between Woodside Plantation, Aiken SC and St. James Plantation, Southport, NC. I like the community of Woodside but the surrounding area seems lacking. Hard to find a good restaurant and shopping is very limited. I like St. James but the threat of hurricane worries me. Also does the salt air really have much effect on homes and cars. I visited both recently. Each community has transplants from the other…

    by Vicki — May 26, 2016

  291. I am considering relocating to Fort Mill, SC from New York. I would like to hear from anyone who has experience with Lennar homes and Del Web homes. I am interested in Carolina Orchards by Del Web and Tree Tops by Lennar. The Del Web homes are more expensive and the Lennar homes offer a lot more. My problem is that I have read many negative posts on various websites that Lennar homes are poor quality and customer service is all lip service. This is a big investment and I do not want to be saddled with a lemon. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has personal issues with these builders or know of someone who has.

    by Eileen O'Brien — May 27, 2016

  292. Vicki, I have visited and played the golf courses at Woodside and St. James before posting reviews at my blog site, GolfCommunityReviews.com. Both are fine, well-established communities that seem well organized. If you are a golfer, both offer multiple courses. The nearby towns of Aiken and Southport are both charming and offer ample services; the larger towns of Augusta, GA, and Wilmington, NC are within 45 minutes each. It boils down to whether you want to be 15 minutes from the beach (St. James) or inland (Woodside). If your preference is coastal, my suggestion is not to obsess about hurricanes. A book called Hurricane Watch by a former director of the National Hurricane Center indicates that Wilmington, NC, just 40 minutes away from St. James, has a 10% chance of a hurricane in any one season but only a 2% chance of a serious one. Check out a map of Southport and you will see that the “barrier” island of Bald Head and the Fort Caswell/Caswell Beach areas form a protective seal for Southport; and St. James is another 8 miles inland so the chances of a major hit from a hurricane are lessened. If you are worried about hurricanes in spite of the remote possibility one will slam into St. James, just keep the Weather Channel on from June through September and you will have plenty of time to escape in the unlikely event of an evacuation.

    by Larry — May 27, 2016

  293. Eileen,
    DelWebb ( Pulte ), Lennar are all in the same group, quick build, decent quality. My problem is DelWebb in Carolina lakes has crazy pricing. How does a reasonable middle class couple on a fixed income afford the homes? I would suggest most of the residents are not retired but rather working in NC AND living in cheaper SC. NOT sure if I would consider that a retirement community. It is a lovely place with a reasonable hoa but to buy is tough. when they had new homes there pricing was 30-40% higher than same model else where. resales are numerous but expensive..
    As far as quality, most of the big builders are lacking…

    Good luck

    by Alexmac — May 27, 2016

  294. Eileen: I live near both neighborhoods. I agree with Alexmac that these builders charge a premium (don’t trust the base prices.) I had an estimate run by Del Webb for some fairly basic options and the price ended up being about $100K more than the base price for the model I was considering. Personally, Tree Tops might be a little more convenient, plus it’s cross the street from the big Del Webb Carolina Lakes. That would mean approximately 4,000+ old people in one place.

    It’s hard to know what might eventually be developed around the new Del Webb neighborhood, which is about 20 minutes away. I have to flag a concern that there’s so much development coming in, such as a big Lennair townhouse development currently being built next to the Tree Tops site, that it’s hard to predict whether things are going to get even worse with traffic. Lennair also has a sign up for a commercial development on the other side of Tree Tops. If they put in a nice convenient llittle strip mall with desirable stores, that could be great…the problem is that no one knows what might end up being built, or when. I guess that’s the problem with any new development though. It’s always a little bit of a gamble.

    The floor plans are sufficiently different, that your decision could end up being swayed by that alone. Lennair also seems to be indicating that there will be a little more space between homes.

    by Kate — May 27, 2016

  295. Check out Kotler homes. Very well built.

    by Ceil — May 27, 2016

  296. Thank you Larry for that info. My husband and I are having a difficult time deciding which is best. I am planning on visiting both communities again and stay for an extended time. We need more time to explore and experience each!

    by Vicki — May 28, 2016

  297. Larry,
    Thanks so much for your posting. I’ve only traveled to the mountains, so far. When briefly considering the coast every now and then, i’ve always ruled it our due to the possibility of hurricanes. (In 10 years, both my husband and i will be old, and i don’t want to have to face evacuations.) Thanks to you, i will read “Hurricane Watch,” and perhaps will visit St. James. Thanks, again!

    by ella — May 28, 2016

  298. Looking for a nice place to retire where we can ride our motorcycles more than 6 months out of year. Currently in Massachusetts. We thinking Rock Hill, SC (not too far from mountains or from friends in NC). Hubby just retired but, I will be looking for a school bus driving job (that’s what I currently do). Really looking for a christian motorcycle community are we on the right track?

    by Rose — July 2, 2016

  299. North Carolina will kill you with taxes ! State Tax, County Tax, View Tax if you choose the mountains, city tax. Gasoline tax, property tax etc.

    South Carolina is a much better state for tax reasons. Remember you get what you pay for but when you pay thousands a years in tax it takes away from your income.

    by Ron — July 3, 2016

  300. Coastal flood and other insurance is soaring out of control as a result of the last hurricane that hit the North East.
    Any home built before 1987 will get up to a 25% increase in these insurance rates per year until the deficit is resolved.
    This means if you move very near the beach you may be paying over $3000 per years just for hurricane insurance which is mandatory.

    Research any property fully for hidden fees like this.

    Ron

    by Ron — July 3, 2016

  301. Is there a website that will list HOA fees along with the price range of housing in theCarolinas?

    by Jeanne — July 3, 2016

  302. I agree that South Carolina is more tax friendly than NC but the list of taxes Ron gave are misleading. Property taxes cover county and city taxes. There are no separate taxes. View taxes????? Never heard of them.

    by Dick — July 3, 2016

  303. I live near the beach in NC and the comment that you pay over $3000 just for hurricane insurance is ridiculous. I have a 2100 sq ft home and just renewed my homeowners insurance for just under $1800 and that includes hurricane coverage. Flood insurance if required or desired is extra. I think Ron should do his research.

    by Dick — July 3, 2016

  304. We retired to coastal SC. FYI house insurance is just under 1500.00 annually. FEMA flood insurance is additional $450.00 ish. We live on an island so though not required, flood insurance was highly recommended by neighbors and agents alike! Auto insurance in SC is expensive however, about $1200,00 annually. Also, our long term health care insurance rose significantly thanks to the OK from SC Insurance Comission for a 24*% increase this year and a 28% increase for next year! I understand insurance corruption is a big problem at the state level. Overall insurance in total is more than double from our previous home in Maine – other savings in taxes and utilities far offset the bottom line for carrying costs however.

    by SandyZ — July 3, 2016

  305. We live in Carolina Shores NC on a golf course you can buy a nice home for about $210,000 and our taxes are about $1200 and insurance including flood for about $2,000. Most people do not know we are here and a short drive to the beach.

    by Jim — July 3, 2016

  306. does anyone know what the RE taxes on a $ 200,000 house in the suburbs of Greenville SC
    a town called Simpsonville would be. house under 10 years old . also a senior citizen .
    thank you .

    by john v — July 4, 2016

  307. Check out websites for localities. They often list real estate tax rates and outline other taxes. They might also let ou know if there are any additional taxes on the area you are considering. Sometimes RE agents. “Forget” about those.

    by Sandie — July 4, 2016

  308. John V, Greenville County provides a tax estimator. You can enter a $ value for the property and select from the various Simpsonville districts. http://www.greenvillecounty.org/appsas400/RealPropertyTaxEstimator/

    by Linda — July 5, 2016

  309. As a long-time Charlotte resident, I can tell you that they will tax you and tax you and tax you again. I will not retire here.

    by Nan — July 6, 2016

  310. thank you linda…. but sorry folks had a senior moment. meant to ask what would be the Ins. prem
    on a $ 200,000 house in Simpsonville SC . if anyone can help thanks .

    by john v — July 6, 2016

  311. Nan,
    Right on.. North Carolina is a beautiful state but they will tax you everyway possible. Did you ever hear about the “View Tax” they levy on mountain homes with nice views ? Gas tax is 20 cents a gallon more than South Carolina.

    We could go n and on. If money doesn’t matter North Carolina is better.

    by Ron — July 7, 2016

  312. Sandy Z

    Does your flood insurance cover hurricanes or do you pay additional for Hurricane insurance?

    Also how old is your home? If built after 1987 you reflect the lower rates. Prior to 1987 rates increase annually I’m told.

    by Ron — July 7, 2016

  313. It is also important to remember that with taxes you get what you pay for. I love that our property taxes are much lower than they were in Michigan. However, those lower taxes do not cover trash pickup which is also a separate charge. They do not cover fire protection since we live in an unincorporated area of our county. This has resulted in many homeowners paying more for their insurance as the nearest fire station is more than 5 miles away and an all volunteer squad. Our developer has provided land for a a station within our community but thereis no money so we as a community are doing many different fundraisers to assist in the construction in a timely manner. Our fire department will be a contracted station, again because of being in an unincorporated part of the county. I don’t fully understand how it all works but we are and will be paying for it,just not in our taxes.

    As Ron mentioned, our gas tax is 20 cents per gallon less than NC and we have the roads to prove it. The State Legislature has been arguing about road funding for at least as long as the 3 years we have been living here. Meanwhile, the roads and bridges continue to deteriorate.

    With that being said, we are still very happy with our choice of retiring to SC!

    by Kathy — July 7, 2016

  314. Ron – our homeowners’ insurance covers wind and hail, our flood insurance covers water damage, including flash flood damage,which is supposedly a threat here in the Lowcountry. Yes. Our home was built in 2004, so rates are lower for homeowners insurance. We also have discounts for hurricane window protection, a security system, and full time gated security for our community. Also, we bundled with our car insurance. Ours was dumb luck, as we did not know about the insurance discounts when we were house-hunting. It is probably a good idea to touch base with an insurance agent before finalizing a purchase and sale agreement in a new area.

    by SandyZ — July 8, 2016

  315. Ron – I’m not questioning the integrity of your statements on the NC “view tax”, but I cannot find anything about it on the Internet. Can you steer me to info on this? Is there possibly another name for it? Thanks!

    by Dave C — July 8, 2016

  316. Sandy Z

    I spoke with my friends who live near Asheville, NC. They told me that it is not a separate tax but baked into the property value of lots with good views and carried in the real estate taxes

    Hope that clarifies your question.

    by Ron — July 9, 2016

  317. Dave C-never heard of a “view tax”. Furthermore, having just closed on a house in Waynesville, NC, it did not appear on any of my closing documents. Seems to be someone’s imagination. What it might pertain to more likely is -as always, the 3 rules of real estate. Location, location, location. Rules that govern prices in every market, in every state.

    by Doc Stickel — July 9, 2016

  318. Ron, I think the so-called “view tax” is a figment of your perhaps overzealous quest to “prove” SC is better than NC. Across the country, property taxes are assessed based on the value of property in a give area. Areas with “special” features like prime mountain view, beach front, gate communities, etc. are almost always assessed higher than a comparable house next to a landfill or in a rural area far from amenities or any other “deficit”.

    My property when we bought it was in one of those “remote” rural areas. It is amazing how high the assessment has become as the area built up and the community became known for it’s special environmental covenants.

    Ron is correct in many of his tax comparisons, but not on this one. SC gas tax is significantly lower than NC. And as stated by Kathy above, South Carolinians get less road repair and development than NC. I made my choice long ago and I think there are much more important reasons to consider NC over SC than bickering over taxes.

    Believe me, if you are in the right place in SC, it can be a wonderful place to live. I was visiting Columbia, SC when I had a heat attack. While my home is 15 miles from one of the best medical facilities in the world, retrospectively, I can say that I’m happy I was in Columbia, another known center for cardiac care and not in some remote area in any state that has little or questionable medical service.

    by Rich — July 9, 2016

  319. Need advice
    We are retired n fixed income and want to look into South Carolina adult communities like Del Webb and the lakes at cane bay.

    We need a good medical facility also did not know until today that this new homes did not include prices for lots. We bought a resale 28 years ago here in New. York
    Need suggestions
    Is it better to buy a resale ?

    thanks, ann

    by Ann — July 9, 2016

  320. Does anyone know anything about the Calabash NC area?

    by Diane — July 11, 2016

  321. By far – North Carolina is the choice of the two. Obviously, this will be a culture shock to left-coasters (CA), but as for me (and many others), there is something to be said for a state where majority and common sense rules. Truth be told the MINORITY is the LGBT community, but specifically, transgenders make up 0.03% of the population. Let’s do what’s best for 99.97% of our people.

    Politics aside, we have researched both NC and SC and have found prices and choices for homes to be better in NC. We have yet to look into taxes.

    by Liz — July 11, 2016

  322. Judy,

    North Carolina has much to offer from a outdoors and beach action state. Unfortunately diversity is not one of the states strong points as is obvious.

    If you enjoy the great outdoors NC and SC have a lot to offer. Each region in the Carolinas has a little bit different geography. North of Charlotte you can visit the first gold mine in the U.S. Around Charlotte there are still abandoned mines that occasionally collapse.

    Research Triangle Park area and Greenberg SC are probably the most diverse.

    by Ron — July 12, 2016

  323. I’m currently considering a move from Mexico, where I have lived for the past 6 years, to Franklin, NC. I have been looking at several adult mobile home parks that seem well taken care of and the people seem friendly. Has anyone lived in the Franklin, NC area? Apparently most of the people there also have homes in Florida, where they go in Oct. or Nov. then they return in the spring. My daughter and grand-kids just moved to Simpsonville, SC so that would be about a 2 hour drive for me to visit. It’s also cooler there than in South Carolina which I like. I also would leave when it gets too cold. I lived in Maine for 20 years and that was enough for me. Mexico is probably where I would return along with the rest of the snowbirds. Thanks for any input on Frankiln…Betsy

    by Betsy — July 12, 2016

  324. Betsy,
    how long has your daughter been there and how does she like it. Simpsonville SC is
    my target in about a year . been there twice . could you ask her how much her home ins
    premium is , as no one had the answer for me .also tell her if she hasn’t gone already
    to the ICE CREAM STATION . good luck & thanks .

    by john v — July 13, 2016

  325. John V – when I had a similar question I contacted my current local agent who put me in touch with an agent in the area I was interested in moving to. You will have to supply an address (or two). Easy enough if you go on realtor.com and get something that is similar to what you want to buy. Can’t guarantee, but it worked for me.

    by Rob — July 13, 2016

  326. Another note: In a recent newspaper article on the percentages of voters in Lancaster County, SC, it was reported that the residents of the Del Web Sun City were voting at signficantly higher percentages than other residents of the County. In fact, they are controlling election results and candidates are accordingly seeking their votes. I suspect this is the case wherever the Baby Boomers relocate, bringing different views (and their votes) to other states!

    by Kate — July 14, 2016

  327. For John V about real estate taxes in Simpsonville, SC. My daughter determined that in general, the real estate taxes are about 2% of the selling price. I’m visiting her now for 5 weeks, and from my visit I would think anyone would like it here. It has experienced quite a bit of growth lately, and it seems to me that the infrastructure is struggling to accommodate the increase in traffic…so during the morning and evening rush hours, things can get fairly slow and congested. The rest of the day things flow normally. Also, it is 8 degrees on average hotter than the ‘hills’ of NC, I’ve noticed. Also, there has been a drought this spring and summer and all are hoping for more rain. There seems to be more developments being built for retirees as well.

    by Betsy — July 14, 2016

  328. PS I meant to mention that the area I am purchasing a mobile home in, is Franklin, NC…and that is where the temperatures are around 8 degrees cooler this summer, due to the altitude, which is why I will be moving there instead of SC. It’s also a lot smaller and slower paced which also appeals to me. Gasoline though is about 10-20 cents a gallon higher in NC, but I could always take a little drive to visit the grand-kids and fill up in Simpsonville! I have not noticed any negative behaviors or attitudes towards people of color of other different races or creeds. Actually both Franklin and Simpsonville seem to have an international flavor to them, which I like.

    by Betsy — July 14, 2016

  329. Marcia, Kate, Doc — thank you so much for speaking up and confirming to me that many of my generation do continue to share the values we so treasured in the ’60s. Notice how many of us are from or live in NC.

    Brian, Kate — I would again say that NC (and most of the US) has great potential for retirees. Having roamed most of the country for most of my life and especially widely during retirement, I can tell you that prejudice and fear of the “not like me” is present all over. NC is not a haven for hatred. Look around — Texas, Minnesota, Michigan… — sadly, and seemingly endlessly the examples go on and on. Don’t allow something you saw in the media to limit your options.

    When I was young (very naive and very impressionable), I was shocked to hear, at different times, my grandfather and even my own father, use racially disparaging words. They were from (and we were living in) Connecticut at the time.

    by Rich — July 14, 2016

  330. Can anyone tell me what Johns and James Island is like in SC?

    by Carol — July 15, 2016

  331. Thanks to all for their comments on the issue originally raised by Brian about the LGBT legislation in NC and where he would feel comfortable living in the Tarheel State. We allowed the discussion to go along, probably further than it needed to, because it was a legitimate question. Now, as Alice correctly points out, it is time to return to retirement choices. Further posts on politics will be deleted. Thanks for your understanding.

    by Admin — July 15, 2016

  332. Also “well said”, thanks Alice and “Admin”.

    And talking about retirement places, it occurred to me how many may remember the NC ads promoting the state as “Variety Vacationland”. I just googled it and found that is archival material now. :<) But thinking along those lines, I had mentioned to Doc Stickel in a private note that this year we had decided against a multi-state road trip for various reasons. That left us only with NC destinations. We started with a NC/TN border trip to a cabin overlooking a drop hundreds of feet to the New River near Lansing, NC. And coming up is a family wedding at Lake Lure, NC. And following that my first ever trip to the Outer Banks to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk. In between, I'm enjoying my own back yard here minutes from Chapel Hill, Raleigh and even Fayetteville. Truly "Variety Vacationland".

    by Rich — July 15, 2016

  333. Lee Sanders, a couple more ideas: 1) google state election maps broken down by county. 2) Go online and read local newspapers paying close attention to the front page (the slant or bias taken as to how the news is reported), the editorial page and the letters to the editor. Most newspapers now give you 10 free clicks within the paper per month without having to subscribe, and the front page is usually free.

    by Alice — July 19, 2016

  334. A thought for Brian about Asheville which is very high on our list. We were there recently for a wedding and our friends are artists that work in glass. We met many LGBT people there and the West Ashley neighborhood is very liberal, progressive and welcoming to all!! We met many talented, wonderful and welcoming people!! The area is beautiful, the weather from what we have been told is almost perfect. Snow in the winter but not much and it melts quickly. Home prices seem to be rising because of all this but you can still find something reasonable. We haven’t pulled the trigger yet as we are still searching but Asheville and the surrounding towns esp Black Mountain offer a most beautiful option!

    by Jean — July 21, 2016

  335. Hi I currently live in NY 15 mins from NYC and am interested in purchasing a “golf condo” in a golf community that has a rental program where they rent your unit for you (for a management fee). I’m not ready to retire for 4-5 more years so I would only use the unit 4-5 weeks a year so the rental is important to me. I looked at 2 places…The Legends in Myrtle Beach, and Brunswick Plantation in Calabash NC. They were both nice but different. Can anyone give me input on these 2 places and/or recommend any other places that fit this description? I’ll check back on this blog for any responses. Thanks, Tommy T

    by Tommy T — July 21, 2016

  336. This comment is from Jennifer; we moved it here where it fits better:

    Dear All:

    I need some assistance. How is it REALLY to retire in North Carolina? Are the taxes high? How is medical care? I am looking at an area south of Asheville. I ‘d love to hear the real deal.

    Thanks,
    Jennifer

    by Admin — August 2, 2016

  337. How is it REALLY? Depends on where you live and where you are from. If you are somewhat liberal minded, Asheville is one place to go. Many areas have a conservative view as I do. Just don’t move to North Carolina or any state for that matter expecting it to be like the state you are moving from.
    Are the taxes high? It depends on where you are moving from.
    How is medical care? It depends on where you are moving to. I live in Wilmington and the medical care is outstanding. I can’t speak for Asheville.

    by Dick — August 3, 2016

  338. Hi Dick:
    I would be moving from Washington, DC where taxes are VERY high. I am considering a village south of Asheville. I have lived all over the world and so am adaptable–I NEVER expect things to be the same from place to place. I am a former nurse and embrace natural and holistic medicine. My concern is that there be enough to do and cultural activities. Is anyone already retired in North Carolina in the mountains who can comment? I would most likely be downsizing to a Park Model community.

    Thanks,
    Jennifer

    by Jennifer — August 3, 2016

  339. Jennifer, have you actually visited in the area of NC you ask about? From what I know of the area (quite a bit), I think you would be enthralled with it. But locating in a community as you indicate, you would also be isolated from the “place” that is NC. Asheville has much to offer, but it has nearby fringe areas that can be quite remote and you and your interests might be considered rather freakish. (Frankly, that last statement could probably be applied to almost any specific area of the country.)

    by Rich — August 3, 2016

  340. Hi Rich:

    I have been to Asheville many times and loved it there. What interests would be considered “freakish”? Downsizing in to an organic farm community? I am a divorced single woman with only one income, not two, so I would prefer to be in a community type setting with small, but upscale housing options, near a larger city, so all my money doesn’t go to taxes and paying for a large dwelling that I do not need. I will not have a pension check coming in every month….in my field, nursing, they only started offering 401K’s twenty years ago and while I have taken advantage of all those options, I have not made hundreds of thousands of dollars in the stock market and 2008 hit my plan very hard. Defined Benefit Plans have never been offered to me, but then I am not yet of retirement age—only looking ahead. I do own my own home in Washington, DC which if I chose to sell would allow me to buy a smaller home for less and pocket the balance. I am a saver, but Washington, DC is getting more expensive every year–even for working people.

    by Jennifer — August 4, 2016

  341. Jennifer,
    If I were you I would consider renting just to see if you like it. I’m originally from up North but have lived in the Atlanta metro for over 20 years. The rural south is culturally very different than other areas of the country. I have talked to people who moved into small southern communities and never really felt like they belonged.

    by Jim C — August 4, 2016

  342. Jennifer, by “freakish” I simply meant “somewhat out of the ordinary” as opposed to “freak” being “way out of the ordinary — strange”. Asheville area has many flavors and probably anyone could feel at home there somewhere. Asheville tops our list of places to live other than where we are. As Jim C said, in some parts you may never fully “belong”, but that could be true anywhere and in Asheville you would just be another of the less conventional. Having lived in No Va outside DC for years, I understand the potential for improving you financial condition — it could be a major improvement so good luck with it.

    Renting, as Jim C suggested, could be a good option so that you have time to find your special part of Asheville (or anywhere). But that does take a resolve to probably move again within a relatively short time (months, years). However, my sister has found an excellent rental situation (for her) that will probably remain stable and she has no plans to buy or move. The one little concern is that she can’t control future events. But even having owned my own home for over 20 years, I also still can’t control future events.

    by Rich — August 4, 2016

  343. Jennifer, It’s too late for this year, but next year you should check out the Creative Retirement Exploration Weekend (CREW) put on by OLLI at UNC-Asheville. I attended a couple of years ago. It’s two days of info about relocating in retirement and a third day that’s specifically about Asheville. Of course many of the speakers are people who have relocated to Asheville and so you get a taste of that the first two days as well. One of the speakers was a realtor and he can probably provide you with a lot of info on taxes and the like. His name was Greg Walker and he’s with Beverly Hanks. I got their newsletter for awhile but when I decided not to relocate there I had them take me off their mailing list. It has info about housing in the surrounding counties also. The OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning) program there appears to be outstanding. It’s not an inexpensive weekend but I enjoyed it.

    by Tessa — August 6, 2016

  344. Hi Rich, yes, it can go below 50, and extremes can be found almost anywhere. I was, of course, talking generalities, averages.
    You know what they say about averages? A man whose torso is in a blast furnace and lower body encased in ice can tell you “On average I feel fine”. 😉

    by Art Bonds — August 10, 2016

  345. Thank you Art and Rich–now I understand why my friend loves where he now lives.

    by Jennifer — August 10, 2016

  346. We are hoping to move to Sc by Feb of 2017. Can anyone tell me anything about The Deerfield Plantation area
    in Surfside Beach?? We are planning to rent,so would just like some info on if the area is kept looking nice etc…

    by Kathy F — August 14, 2016

  347. My husband and I are about to embark on our first exploration of the Carolinas, with an eye toward finding a retirement spot to escape the increasingly unpleasant winters around Boston.

    We will be staying in the Wilmington NC for a couple of days, then do a “stay and play” at Brunswick Forest. We have been fortunate enough to make contact with a realtor who specializes in retirement communities who is willing to show us around on even though it’s our first, very exploratory visit. So we hope to get a comprehensive first look at the area.

    Does anyone have any input on the Mayfair Village/Mayfair Commons area? If we don’t go with a 55+ type community, we probably want to gravitate toward an area with amenities and proximity to shops/dining etc.

    Also, on the flip side of the coin, does anyone have any experience with Davidson NC? We got intrigued by its proximity to Charlotte, it’s college connection, the gorgeous lake, and the fact that its billed as being “pedestrian and bike friendly”. Thoughts?

    So clearly we are all over the place still….

    by Judy H — September 7, 2016

  348. Hi Judy, my husband and I live in New York,(Long Island) and a little over three years ago we bought a house in Brunswick Forest. It is a beautiful community with loads of amenities we love it here. It is good to work with a realtor who can show you other communities in the area also. In 2013 when we bought there were 900 families, now The number is about 4500 which is spread out in the 4500 acre community.
    Mayfaire is a very nice shopping center they have condos and a very small area of private homes, not sure you would get the same community feel as Brunswick Forest.
    Traffic has increased by us on route 17, but they are adding extra lanes now so when that is finished that should help.
    Enjoy your trip!

    by Barbara — September 8, 2016

  349. Hi Judy H & Barbara!

    We moved here to Wilmington from the Washington DC area (Northern VA) as new retirees just over a year ago. We looked all over the area, including Brunswick Forest, and decided on the Wilmington side because we couldn’t picture having to navigate that bridge and downtown traffic when wanting to shop. I know a lot changes in a year around here so there are probably more stores and amenities on the Brunswick side now, making the trip less frequent. We weren’t interested in 55+ communities so I don’t have any input there. What you will find in Wilmington is more house for your $$, when compared to the Northeast, no matter where you settle.

    Mayfaire has nice shopping in a “town center” type arrangement with plenty of upscale stores, groceries and such in the area. We didn’t look at condos so I can’t comment on the Villages at Mayfaire except to say it looks pretty nice over there from the outside. There are plenty of other shopping areas in Wilmington as well, and you’ll find a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s, Costco, all the big box stores and restaurants galore. The only thing missing for us is a Wegmans! 🙂

    There are lots of complaints about the traffic, but coming from the DC area we don’t find it so terrible. There are particular areas (College & Oleander, Market north of Military Cutoff) that commonly have small (to us) traffic jams, but good timing can avoid most of them.

    We love to travel and definitely miss being near hub airports. ILM is small, which is a good benefit in never being crowded and not having long lines, but service is limited to AA and Delta. So if you travel a lot, the only directs are to Atlanta, Charlotte and LGA, and with the resulting higher ticket price for most destinations. The Raleigh airport is about a 2 hour drive and offers a few more options.

    We moved here for better winters and not to be TOO far from our kids near DC. The 6 hour drive there is a little more that I’d like but I’m adjusting. It’s great being near the beaches, and while the summers are hotter, the winters are so much better!

    There are many, many retirees here who hail from New York/New Jersey/DC areas. I’ve been told there are a couple of really popular newcomer’s groups and my husband has found several clubs that support his hobbies. I’ve noticed a network of bike/walking trails and several nice parks but I wouldn’t call this city particularly walkable unless you are near one of those amenities.

    The downtown area is quaint and in transition. They do host lots of events and there are a number of local venues for cultural entertainment, both downtown and at the university.

    I’m not an expert but would be happy to answer questions about Wilmington from my perspective as a newbie transplant. 🙂

    Judy M

    by Judy M — September 9, 2016

  350. We are comparing three areas for our move – New Bern NC, Beaufort SC & Leland NC. What are your thoughts on these areas?

    by Carol — September 12, 2016

  351. Carol – we love Beaufort! A smaller version of Charleston – lovely historic downtown, quaint shops, wonderful restaurants, lots of waterfront activities and festivals. If you enjoy the beach, boating, kayaking etc., you would love it here! Many smallish communities to look at in the area – nothing resembling the Villages! There are disadvantages as there are everywhere – it’s an hour+ to major airports and shopping malls, Cotsco, airports; bugs like I never saw in New England (hello Terminex? Again!); and hot and humid summers – really only 8 weeks or so that are challenging for outdoor activities. We have friends that live in Leland, Brunswick Forest, and they love it there as well! Good luck!

    by SandyZ — September 13, 2016

  352. My wife and I are looking at the Anderson Creek Club community outside of Fayetteville NC. It is close to Ft. Bragg (we are both retired military so that is a BIG plus for us). On line it looks great and home prices aren’t bad. Does anyone have any information on it for us?

    by GregS — September 13, 2016

  353. Carol,

    We drove through New Bern and weren’t impressed. We never chose to really investigate.
    We looked at communities and homes in Leland but didn’t like the area.
    Re: Beaufort, we spent three days there looking at homes and communities. We’ve told each other after reading other’s experiences in Beaufort, SC “What did we miss?”. The downtown was unimpressive and the communities we liked were too far away from everything, shopping, restaurants, etc.That said, we’ve talked about going back.

    Richard

    by Richard — September 13, 2016

  354. Carol, I would suggest that you extend your search from New Bern to Beaufort, NC. (That’s BO, not ByU as in SC.) Very nice town that shares many aspects of Beaufort, SC (somewhat remote) and without the “commonness” of New Bern.

    by Rich — September 13, 2016

  355. Hello, My wife and I are looking into moving to Morehead city,NC. And would like any information on this town and surrounding towns. Thank you

    by John — September 14, 2016

  356. Another town recently on our radar is Edenton, NC,sometimes described as part of the “Inner Banks”. We don’t know more about it than what you can find on this site.

    by Richard — September 14, 2016

  357. SandyZ, Thanks for the information on Beaufort SC. The eight weeks of hot and humid do not bother me as we have an abundance of snow in NY longer than that.

    by Carol — September 14, 2016

  358. I was wondering if anyone can tell me the differences on vehicle insurance, plates and taxes for North and South Carolina.

    by DeyErmand — September 15, 2016

  359. My stepson lives in SC and discovered something recently after an accident. They have something called shared fault there. Although the other driver pulled out in front of him and the other driver was tickets, my stepson found out that the other insurance company declared that he was 30% liable! He told the police that he was doing 62 in a 55 mph zone. His car was totaled, so he only is getting 70% of the value to replace.

    After looking more into this, I discovered that our state, Indiana, also has this law. Just something to be aware of.

    by LocoBill — September 15, 2016

  360. My sister has friends that relocated to Columbia, SC. I don’t know the particulars but they waited the better part of six months to see a medicare network doctor. Whether it was a shortage of medicare doctors or who they were willing to see, as I said I don’t know the details, but thought it provided food for thought when relocating. I was surprised to hear this considering it’s the state capital of SC.

    by Rosemary — September 15, 2016

  361. Was wondering if anyone had any information about The Cliffs communities in SC/NC? We are planning on visiting in a few days and would appreciate any tips/information that anyone has.

    by Peg — September 15, 2016

  362. So glad I stumbled upon this valuable source of information. My husband was laid off over three years ago. Despite three degrees, two of which are in engineering (bachelor’s in Civil Engineering, Masters in Structural Engineering) he has been unsuccessful in finding work. We live in southern New England and will be selling our home this spring to move to a more affordable area of the country. Naturally, SC and NC are on our radar or I’d not have found this forum! We’re considering the Clover, Rock Hill, Fort Mill area and will be visiting there the first week in October. We have friends who retired there from my home state of Ohio so they’ve been a great resource.

    We’ve been curious about the Summersville/Ladson/Goosecreek SC area but am concerned about the flooding they had back last October when so much of SC was impacted by floods. Any thoughts on the flooding issues? Housing prices are good but we can’t help but wonder how many had problems with the flooding.

    Neither my husband nor I are 65 yet so we’ll be continuing to self fund our healthcare unless a decent job with benefits presents itself, so we’ll be looking at homes in the $200-250k range. My research has shown me many builders with great floor plans and what appear to be nice areas but an earlier post indicated their advertised cost doesn’t always include the lot. Yikes! I need to contact some directly and ask.

    by Deb — September 15, 2016

  363. Deb – Re your second area of interest: stay away from houses or developments that are in flood zones (will be noted as such). If you buy in a track home development the price should include the lot. If you custom build than you will have to purchase the lot separately. A developer may tack on more to the cost of a newly built house if it is on a upgraded lot (one with a view). However, after a few years this cost will normally diminish to stay on par with what the others are selling for. I’ve no skin in the game but recommend contacting Carolina One as realtors because they list and sell a lot of homes in the area.

    by Alice — September 16, 2016

  364. Deb: We just moved to SC to Sun City Carolina Lakes in the Fort Mill area as you spoke of. We Love, love, love this area. Tons of shopping, restaurants, and close to Charlotte for theater and upscale shopping. There is even a light rail to take you into the city not far from here. Two hours to the beach, two hours to the mountains ( Ashville NC). Kids and grands are here so we relocated. Hope you find something in this wonderful area.

    by sunlovingal — September 16, 2016

  365. Sunlovinggal: I’m curious whether Sun City Carolina Lakes also charged an xtra facilities or “bond” fee of some kind? I’ve been looking at some other Sun Cities, and sometimes I see in the resale ads that “Bond has been paid”. Is there a fee like this? I haven’t noticed it anywhere else except in the Villages.

    by Kate — September 17, 2016

  366. It may have been explained by someone here, but at the risk of sounding ‘stupid’ what is a “bond” fee?

    by Sue M — September 18, 2016

  367. Sue: In some communities the homeowners purchase the amenities like the community center, pools etc. from the developer. The developer can set up a community so that the homeowners are committed to pay for the amenities through a bond or mortgage program, such as an extra assessment over a period of years. Each new homeowner can be hit with a one-time fee, annual payments, etc., depending on how it’s been set up I’ve heard that Del Webb/Sun City has a program like this, and I’ve spotted a few resales advertising “Bond paid.” I’m trying to figure out how it works, since this is a cost in addition to the HOA that I already factored into my budget planning. Their web sites don’t identify this assessment.

    by Kate — September 18, 2016

  368. Peg,
    The Cliffs are VERY expensive!

    by Ella — September 19, 2016

  369. Does anyone know anything about Pawleys Island South Carolina? A few people I know from Washington, DC have homes there. Thanks.

    Note from Admin: Comments about Pawleys Island have been moved to the Forum for further discussion

    http://www.topretirements.com/Forum/4253/SOUTH_CAROLINA/Pawleys_Island_South_Carolina.html?awt_l=OjAAM&awt_m=3ahB2r8iNFlyIA4

    by Jennifer — September 20, 2016

  370. Kate: We bought a resale and had no “bond” as you spoke of. There was an initial upfront payment of around $1,500 to the association, not included in our home payment. Not sure what it was called. It’s a one time only fee. Then our monthly fee of $197 which includes all ammenities which in Del Webb communities, are extensive, and all lawn services. We have a single home and find this very fair. Carolina Lakes in Fort Mill is a beautiful vibrant community. Best of Luck to you. !

    by sunlovingal — September 20, 2016

  371. Will be going to myrtle beach sc for a week in October by myself. Lived a rather sheltered life. How exactly do you research an area for retirement? Kind of nervous doing it alone. Thanks for any suggestions

    by Jeanne — September 22, 2016

  372. I’ve said this before and was shot down by a local, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it again. In my humble opinion, if I were researching the Myrtle Beach area for retirement I would wait until summer to visit so I could see it in all its glory. I don’t know a ton of people who live there, but the few I do know say that from Memorial Day to Labor Day they alter their plans (errands, golf) due to the masses of tourists that descend each year. Now, I realize that you may be okay with tons of traffic, which is subjective anyway depending on what you’re used to. So please take this as it was meant — just a suggestion. (And it goes for many of the places mentioned over and over again — including the NC mountains and any of the SC and NC coastal areas.)

    by Alice — September 24, 2016

  373. Alice, I own a condo in Myrtle Beach and go there often at all times of the year. I don’t find the traffic bad enough to alter my plans. My only caveat is to go early when dining out because restaurants are very busy…..

    by Dick — September 24, 2016

  374. Well, like I said Dick, ‘traffic’ is subjective. But going in the summer has another advantage as well, such as experiencing first hand the summer heat. Personally, I have found the comments about there being a couple of months of uncomfortable heat in SC to be misleading. (I’m not sure if that was the amount of time exactly said). To me coastal SC feels like a sauna from March through October, and my sinuses agree although my husband does not. I suppose my point is if you are going to visit places you’re considering living, why not see them at their worst? That way you won’t be surprised and/or dismayed. Forgot to mention to the woman interested in Myrtle Beach, I would also check out Conway which is slightly to the west. There are a lot of 55 plus communities there with reasonable HOA fees. (which again is subjective)!

    by Alice — September 24, 2016

  375. Alice may I suggest you visit Easley, SC? It is very comfortable with a 36 comfort zone, even with about 3 inches of snow a year. I found the downtown very vibrant, and not so many tourist.

    by DeyErmand — September 25, 2016

  376. Just a note of correction.. The beach from Fort Mill is 3.5 hours away not 2 as stated.

    by Ron — September 26, 2016

  377. Hi, just getting back from myrtle beach area. Lots of new communities being developed within my price range (300,000) wonderful looking homes. What I have now come to realize is that the newer developments have llittle in the way of privacy landscaping. Some were said to back up to forest, but the front of homes all facing each other. So now I have to rethink and start looking at older communities with resale homes and established landscaping in a more wooded area. The amenities in some developments were great, but do I not want to be with the birds in my backyard? Great trip for an eyeopener

    by Jeanne — October 22, 2016

  378. To Deb re:Summerville area. That flooding in Oct was an unusual event – tons of rain too fast so drains couldn’t handle it; absolutely no issues during the recent hurricane and the area is NOT in a flood zone.

    I bought a resale at Del Webb there (but will be renting it out for a year or 2 til I can sell/ move from NY) because the area is beautiful, BOOMING, and affordable – e.g. r/e taxes <$1000 per yr. Volvo is putting their 1st US plant there, Boeing is expanding, they are adding 2 exits to I-26 in the area due to the current + projected growth, a new hospital and firehouse, etc. Also, it's ~25 miles to beaches and downtown Charleston.

    Best of luck to you

    by Laura — October 24, 2016

  379. To Deb re Summerville: Agree with Laura’s comments and assessment. Having recently retired my husband and I have been searching for a place to land. Presently living in CT and looking to relocate to a warmer snowless climate. We had looked in both North and South Carolina. Resulting from questions submitted at one of the many search sites available we connected with a realtor on line, also from Carolina One and also FANTASTIC. We found a 55+ community which we really liked. It is a new one which just opened in July: Four Seasons at Lakes of Cane Bay (Hovnanian Developer). Being at a distance was a concern during the building process, but she is looking out for us when we can’t be there in person. So far we are very pleased with the information/communication with both realtor and builder as the process progresses. Targeting to move in Spring 2017 and are quite excited. As Laura said it is a booming area!!

    by Mary — October 25, 2016

  380. Hi – Really appreciate all of the information from this website and its subscribers. My wife and I have been looking for a place to retire to for the last 3-4 years. Zeroed in on North Carolina about 2 years ago. We’re planning on building a small house south of Chapel Hill. I was hoping to get some thoughts about two related topics. We are trying to decide whether we should move to the area and try to get a short-term rental so we can be there while the house is being built. Or whether to stay in New England until the house is ready, with a few trips to the NC area when necessary. The builder is indifferent, either way. So we’re interested in the pros and cons of the short term rental, how easy is is to find a place for 3-4 months, and what are the issues around a double move: storage, etc. Thanks in advance.

    by Ray — November 11, 2016

  381. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for your comment. I’d like to be local for the build, but need to work out the details of the move, rentals, and storage issues. Thanks, Again

    by Ray Essington — November 12, 2016

  382. Ray, Chapel Hill is a college town and as such, short term rentals are fairly common. Sure some want a year or 9-month lease, but if you contact a local realtor you won’t have any problems. (Since I haven’t rented in Chapel Hill — and don’t forget Carrboro — for more than 40 years, I don’t know a realtor to suggest. But the internet is a great resource.)

    As for being nearby while you build, I strongly agree with Jennifer. But if you are a person who is happy to turn important aspects of your life over to others, I have known some who said, “just build it and let me know when I can move in”. In other words, you won’t care any more about your new house than the temporary apartment. In any case, be sure to check out your builder’s references. We moved temporarily just 3 miles away while building 25 years ago. But though I did checked his references, there were times that it was just plain fortunate that I was living nearby — and to this day I recommend him and he is still a friend. Not often people say that about their builder.

    by Rich — November 13, 2016

  383. Ray: We have written a whole series on downsizing and moving. Here is one to start with – it contains links to the rest in the series. http://www.topretirements.com/blog/retirement-planning-2/a-tale-of-3-downsizings.html/

    by Admin — November 14, 2016

  384. Ray, you’ll find that 3-4 months over the summer is probably a “best” time for short-term. Students who signed up for a year lease (starting Aug-Sep) are leaving and looking for sub-lets beginning in May. That’s in addition to the typical short-term lease or rental. My one thought is the time you allow to build. While many (especially “sub-division” builders) will assure you of a 3-4 month build, many quality builders won’t guarantee that. My builder said to expect at least 9 months and the house actually took 10 1/2 half months to build — we had to extend our rental by 2 months (we sold the previous house and moved in Nov before out planned build start in Apr).

    As for moving and storage? Well, we haven’t moved for 25 years. Our last successful major move (no significant breakage or other problems) was 1989. That was with North American from No. Va. to Chapel Hill area. Cannot comment other than that. For storage, I expect you will have little problem — that appears to be a staple of the economy in this part of NC. :<) Partly to do with all the universities and partly to do with a highly mobile economy (major high tech opportunities in and near). So consider the option to store with your mover, or to rent large enough to store all your household (that's what we were able to do) and plan another local move when your house is ready. I will add that, from my perspective, there appears to be many reliable local movers who could handle that for probably $1 -$2K depending on the size of your household. (My 1992 move of 3 miles with a large household cost me about $900.)

    by Rich — November 14, 2016

  385. Hi: I’ve looked around NC, Asheville up to Boone and TN, Knoxville east to Johnson City/Bristol and am still looking for favorable retirement locations. I live in the heavily taxed, ultra liberal, and snowy Northeast. Next I want to explore SC, but do like a mountain, rural and even isolated area but with access to good medical care and the usual shopping when necessary! I don’t mind driving and we like being off by ourselves. (We are highly tolerant independent conservative people and the NE is not where I want to be in retirement. Didn’t want to make any political statement but there are some here, so political inclinations seem pertinent.) We are active, love hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, etc and peace and quiet. Any suggestions?

    by Pam — December 22, 2016

  386. Q: Just read the article about NC vs SC and it noted updates but didn’t see any. We heard NC was going to start taxing SS in 2017, true? This would be a game changer for us.
    This question came in from Dian

    A: We are not aware of any NC plans to tax SS. But if anyone else has info on this please share. The information in this updated article appears to be up to date.

    by Admin — December 29, 2016

  387. Don’t know for sure but the only NC taxes I’ve seen doing anything are gas taxes rising and corporate income tax going down by 1%. haven’t seen anything else. Anybody else see anything I’ve missed?
    jacci

    by jacci — December 30, 2016

  388. Visited Fort Mill SC in August and plan a return trip next April. Viewed many new construction communities and liked the Massey development the best with homes built by Ryan Homes. Does anyone have any information to share about the area, the builder, etc.?

    by Tom — December 30, 2016

  389. Pam: Might want to look at Travelers Rest, SC. Easy access to Greenville, SC as well as Hendersonville, NC. Plenty of outdoor activities nearby. Also near Furman University and their OLLI program.

    by kevin — December 31, 2016

  390. One way to find information about a town and state would be to go to the home page and find “Retirement Towns by State”. There you will find general info on the state and more specific info on the town and any communities you may be interested in. You can also check out the Forum under South Carolina and post any questions you may have. There is also a “search” box where you can enter Fort Mills SC for any additional information on the site.

    by Moderator Flo — December 31, 2016

  391. I have a Ft. Mill mailing address, although I live in a neighboring town (Indian Land). It’s definitely booming! Easy access to Charlotte. Gas prices are very low (I just paid around $1.969 when I filled up this week). Utilities and insurance seem about the same as I paid in PA, except that the water bill is a little higher. When I moved here, my realtor explained that there are two types of housing: slab, where all utilities are buried in the house’s concrete slab, making future repairs or renovations more difficult (her recommendation) or crawl-space (easy to access lines for repairs, but required more pest maintenance). Termite and annual bug treatments are recommended, but no stink bugs. Not all developments have natural gas, which is more cost-efficient than electric homes.

    Annual or biannual powerwashing of houses is done by many homeowners due to the potential for mildew growth. It costs about $350 or so depending on the size of the house. Winter is about 2 months long, and there’s potential for light snow that typically disappears in a day or two. Communities aren’t as equipped for snow or ice, so kids can get snow days for what we Northerners would view as dustings. Summers are very hot, but I found that I adjusted after a year or two. Spring can trigger huge quantites of pollen, as a warning to those with allergies.

    I have found that it’s difficult to find service people (for ex., I went through three landscapers in 1-1/2 years, when they just stopped showing up). There is so much new construction that I am speculating handymen/landscapers can find steady employment so easily that they don’t bother setting up their own businesses.

    When I was house shopping, I noticed many house listings would identify new roofs when the houses were only ten years old or so. The realtor explained that sometimes there are hail storms that can cause roof damage. In the three years that I’ve been here, there has been one hurricane warning for the Charlotte area, and one large hail storm where a few neighbors claimed to have some broken windows. (Interesting, my coworkers complain about outside parking putting their cars at risk of hail damage.) Overall, I think the weather is great!

    It’s possible to buy wine or beer in grocery stores or in liquor stores for very reasonable prices. There are lots of public libraries, movie theatres, etc. Politics can be very conservative the further you get from downtown Charlotte, which might drive liberals crazy during elections when the ads can be pretty aggressive. Many people’s social lives appear to revolve around church communities, and there are huge churches with demonimations I never heard of until I moved to Billy Graham country.

    For travel, you are about 3 hours from the beach (no major highway to cross the state though) and 2 hours from the mountains…3 hours to Hilton Head…40 minutes to the airport…I made it to the Port Canaveral Port for a cruise and can get back to PA in a day’s drive. Great location.

    The Charlotte daily newspaper isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing. International news tends to be buried inside and covered lightly (if at all). All of the major networks have local coverage on tv (Time Warner, Direct TV or Comporium are the cable providers, not Comcast). There is also a little Ft. Mill paper that I think is a weekly

    There are multiple grocery stores to choose from everywhere. I think it’s rare to be more than 5 miles from a grocery store. Harris Teater tends to be the upscale one, Publix or WalMart food stores in the middle, with Foodland at the other end of the spectrum – but everyone tends to find a favorite. All major retail chains are represented. You have all the benefits of living near a City (Charlotte is 2nd largest city in the SouthEast after Jacksonville) and we’re right over the border between the states. There are many active meetup.com groups.

    Real estate taxes are very low, and there is an additional credit for your primary home after you hit 65. There is a personal property tax on cars (I pay about $400/yr), but no annual inspection fee. I didn’t have to take a drivers test when I transferred my drivers’ license. I was told that if I lived over the border in NC my real estate taxes would have been about $2500 more, I’d pay an equivalent personal property tax on my car, and I’d have a car inspection in N.C. I’m still working, and I do pay another 1% or so state income tax in SC.

    Good medical care is easy to find. (I discovered that my doctor, dentist, etc. all relocated from Northern states!) It’s entertaining when you’re stuck in traffic to note all the license plates, sports teams stickers and other indicia that other drivers are also from other states. I meet very few people who actually were born here.

    Biggest negatives – I miss a really good daily newspaper. Housing prices are inching up, apparently recovering from a real estate crash during a banking crisis a few years ago. Rentals are everywhere, but they aren’t cheap. The traffic is horrendous – really, really bad. Did I say the traffic is bad? It’s only getting worse with all of the construction. New houses, huge apartment complexes and commercial developments are being built everywhere. I’m still working, so I’m forced to be on the roads with commuters. It will probably be a lot easier to shop, go to movies etc. when my schedule will be more flexible. Crime also appears to be pretty prevalent, but my impressions of that may come from our neighborhood watch Facebook page. We have a Sheriff’s Deputy who is very diligent about reporting break-ins and thefts in stores/homes within about a 30 mile radius. I noticed when I was house shopping that most homes had a security system. People are warned not to park in their driveways overnight, due to car break-ins. Or course, Charlotte recently had racial protests following a police shooting. I don’t think anything is out of the ordinary, but I had moved here from an area with extremely low crime rates.

    Whew. Moderator Flo – move both the question and response to one of the sites you suggested?

    by Kate . — December 31, 2016

  392. I’ll check in with Admin!!! Lol

    From Admin: If I understand the question, Kate’s wonderful post is in the right place since the article is about both Carolinas (and the Ft. Mill area is near the border of both States). Thanks for checking though.

    by Moderator Flo — December 31, 2016

  393. There is Forum topic on Ft Mill SC for those of you who are interested in posting questions there. http://www.topretirements.com/forum/t2299/Discuss_what_its_like_to_live_in__Fort_Mill.html
    Thanks

    by Moderator Flo — December 31, 2016

  394. Great article Kate! I have a terrible fear of snakes so would this area not be a good place for me? We will be traveling to different locations this spring doing our research.

    by Cathy W — January 1, 2017

  395. Cathy – I saw a snake in my yard 2 years ago from my kitchen window, but it rapidly went under a fence into adjoining woods. Neighbors told me it was a desireabke black snake that eats pests. Most people that I meet have never seen a snake. They’re here, like any other place – however, not frequent visitors in highly populated areas. I do see little geckos sometimes.

    We do have occasional coyote sightings, since there are still some undeveloped areas. It isn’t a good area to let cats or small dogs run free.

    by Kate — January 2, 2017

  396. Hi, I’m hoping my request is in the correct forum. Looking to move to an area about 1/2 hour west of Wilmington NC down to Myrtle Beach SC. My search is for a small cozy home on a few acres. Any suggestions for a town that may have something for me to consider?
    Thank you so much, Lizzie

    by Lizzie — January 26, 2017

  397. Hi Lizzie
    I would check out Southport NC area as well as some other small towns in Brunswick County NC. You may find something with some acreage in those areas.

    by Florence — January 27, 2017

  398. I live on the coast of SC and it is happening.

    by Debra — January 29, 2017

  399. Does anyone know about the status of the new Del Webb 55+ community that is being built in Nexton, SC? Also the status of the new exit off I-26 being built in Nexton? Thanks.

    by Ed — January 29, 2017

  400. Debra
    Just wondering what is happening?

    by Staci — January 29, 2017

  401. What about tolerance? We don’t seem to have any trouble finding things in common with just about everyone, regardless of their political leanings. Just avoid the touchy topics. There are still so many other interesting things to discuss. It used to be called maturity.

    by Caps — January 29, 2017

  402. Hello Debra: How are you?

    One of the retirement locations I am considering is coastal SC. Possibly Bluffton, Beaufort area.
    Do you live in that area? Just wonder if you are from there originally. At this point in life a retirement move means leaving lots of friends behind.. Wonder if you moved to coastal SC as a retiree…and was it easy to make new friends?

    by Roberta — January 30, 2017

  403. I moved to Beaufort as a retiree. It is an amazingly friendly area, as well as beautiful. I think it is the
    friendliest place I have ever lived.

    by Debra — January 31, 2017

  404. Debra, we are looking at that area also. If you didn’t move to an active adult, are you able to still make friends and find activities, health club/gyms, etc.? Newcomers kinds of clubs? Have you gotten used to summers? Lots of sunshine? Access to a real beach with ocean waves? Thanks for your time.

    by Carol Dugan — January 31, 2017

  405. There are lots of activities and it is easy to get involved. The summers don’t bother me, but I’m not working in the yard or dog walking in the middle of the day. Hunting Island is about 30 minutes away but is closed due to Matthew. SandyZ could answer some of these questions also. I guess everyone’s experience is unique but I have been here a little over two years and it feels like home.

    by Debra — February 1, 2017

  406. Carol Dugan – we have lived in the Beaufort area just over a year. We do live in a gated community, and have not yet involved ourselves in clubs and activities in town. But there are many! Friendly people, great weather, and the tax climate is terrific – both local property taxes and state income taxes are very favorable for retirees once you reach age 65. Summer is quite warm, but the beach at Hunting Island and our community pools help with relief. We are hoping for the beach to be open by Memorial Day. One negative – remoteness, if you love big malls and a major airport. Those urban advantages are about an hour away in Savannah to the South and Charleston a little over an hour to the North. Just my perspective….Hi Debra! So glad you settled in and love it here as well! We really should meet for coffee!

    by SandyZ — February 1, 2017

  407. SandyZ was out your way for dinner at Sweetgrass a couple of weeks ago. We still need volunteers for Beaufort International Film Festival! I agree Beaufort is somewhat remote, but when I go to Charleston or Savannah I’m glad I don’t live there. Carol Dugan I have found myself not much interested in the beach. The marshes have amazed me. During nesting season I spend way too much time in the Wetlands, the egrets. Herons, and alligators enthrall me. Beaufort is going to be a major player in Reconstruction tourism.
    President Obama made Penn Center and several other areas national monuments the week before he left office. SandyZ I am at Penn the 2nd Friday each month with 2nd Helpings, stop by.

    by Debra — February 2, 2017

  408. Hi Debra, Where exactly do you live? I would love to be among the marshes with all the birds and wildlife. Having a difficult time zeroing in on area. North and South Carolina intriques me but again, need help in choosing areas to look at. Talked to real estate agents but they don,t seem to hear me that I want the outdoors. They show me what they have in their inventory which I appreciate, but don’t have alot of time and money to invest in exploring. It sounds like you are in an area I would like to check out. Thanks

    by jeanne gowe — February 2, 2017

  409. Ed, I would be extremely cautious about buying into Nexton if I were you. First, Nexton sits right next to the Interstate — an excellent choice if you commuted up to say Columbia; but to retire to? Second, I haven’t heard any news of an Interstate exit being built for Nexton. There’s really no need because there’s already one there. I have heard that one is being considered to feed into Cane Bay (where there is already a Del Webb). But there’s always talk of roads being built and not so much as a pot hole ever gets filled. Third, Nexton sits on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ as far as Summerville goes. It was originally just wasteland. Nothing was growing there, there is no natural beauty whatsoever. Lastly, if they end up building everything they say they are going to (always debatable) it means that for the next several years you will be living in a construction zone. This is just my opinion and of course you need to see it for yourself.

    by Alice — February 5, 2017

  410. Alice, I was out that way looking at the part of Summerville north of 26 and I thought all they need is massive planting of trees to make it attractive. Carnes Crossing is out there and the homes are truly spectacular, but it did not appear they intend to get lots of trees started. Fools!

    by Barbara — February 6, 2017

  411. I enjoy reading the ideas of everyone here. Thanks so much for your input. I was wondering though if anyone has good info on NC vs SC vs GA. We are from south FL and want to get away from the heat and high humidity that is almost year round.

    by Virginia — February 7, 2017

  412. Ed and Alice,

    The exit is already under construction and will have access to Cane Bay and Nexton as eventually Nexton Blvd will be connected to Cane Bay Blvd. The road across from Cane Bay Blvd has been opened but does not yet connect to Nexton Blvd. and yes we are going to have a lot of construction for quite some time but this will provide us with a hospital, medical and other business offices, shops and more restaurants. We love living in DEL WEBB Cane Bay.

    by Kathy — February 8, 2017

  413. Hi: Trying to decide where I want to be…like the rest of you 🙂

    Does anyone know anything about St. Mary’s GA? Anyone in St. Helena, SC?

    by Roberta — February 9, 2017

  414. Alice & Kathy,
    Thanks for your responses, it is appreciated.
    First, the fact that it’s close to the interstate, so long as I don’t hear the traffic, is not an issue and would be convenient on trips down to Charleston. Kathy thanks for the update on the construction of the exit.
    Alice, not sure what you mean by a “wasteland.” If you mean it’s void of trees, that’s fine by me. After 25+ years of having to rake leaves, constantly having to pick up dead branches and worrying that the next major storm will topple one of our trees on my roof, looking forward to not having these concerns. The only trees I want are palm trees! Finally your comment about living in a construction zone is a good point. It’s something we’ll have to consider. But Kathy makes a valid point in that all this construction will result in a hospital/medical offices (important factor for retirees) and shops/restaurants.

    by Ed — February 9, 2017

  415. Hi Roberta,
    St. Helena’s Island, if that’s what you’re referring to, is just outside of Beaufort SC. Most of your shopping and activities would take place there. There are many planned communities in the general area. St Mary’s is a small town that has recently experienced some growth due to the development of retirement and planned communities. I would check out both Beaufort and St. Mary’s under the States Guide for more info. You can also do a search and look for articles about both. You can post specific questions on the forum.
    Hope this helps!!

    by Moderator Flo — February 9, 2017

  416. Roberta – there are MANY sea islands in the Beaufort area. St. Helena is a larger one and actually encompasses lots of other smaller islands : Distant Island, Cat Island, Gibbs Island, Dataw Island etc. Although I live on Dataw Island, the only Post Office for us is St. Helena Island, so that is our mailing address! I think there are 50+ islands in the SC Lowcountry. All are quiet, historic, and a short drive, or boat ride (like Dafauskie Island) from the small towns along the shore, such as Beaufort, or Bluffton. Google SC Lowcountry Sea Islands and you will find many sites, many with videos to get to know this area. Of course, the best way is to come visit, stay in a B+B, take the carriage ride in Beaufort, spend a day in Old Town Bluffton, another day biking on Hilton Head – you will love the area, whether or not you decide to pursue it any further as a possible future home.

    by SandyZ — February 10, 2017

  417. I have spent all evening reading all the comments from Topretirements topic on NC or SC to Retire.

    Like many of us, we are a few years from retiring, band are intrigued about the Carolinas being the place based upon climate.

    I am not political at all, but we just want to find a safe, welcoming place to live. We are not the kind of couple that needs to be around people like us (two married females). We currently live in OH in a 4 bedroom / 3 bathroom house with a four-car garage, on close to 2 acres with our Cocker Spaniel. We love our neighbors and are very proud of our small, well cared for subdivision.

    We will want to down size our home. Based upon a neighbors recommendation to look at Greenville, SC, we have been researching property on Zillow. We are planning a trip to the Carolinas this spring and are wondering what communities we should visit. Right now I am thinking about Greenville, Spartanburg, and Rock Hill.

    I do not want to get into any debate about the LGBT community, just looking for a place to retire where people will welcome us.

    Kathy

    by Kathy — February 11, 2017

  418. Kathy: Good luck to you in your search. It sounds like Greenville might be a good choice for you, definitely spend some time there to check it out. Take a look at Jeff Alden’s “My Southern Retirement Adventure“, , it will give you a good idea about Greenville, where he retired.

    by Admin — February 12, 2017

  419. Kathy, I have lived in upstate SC for 30+ years; grew up in triangle area of NC. There’s a lot to love about the natural beauty beauty of SC and it is inexpensive compared to other areas, but pay attention to the whole picture.

    by Kay — February 14, 2017

  420. Kathy, if you don’t find the flatlands to your liking, come on up to Waynesville(28 miles west of Asheville). Be happy to welcome ya’ll to our little neck of the woods. Relatively new arrivals ourselves, so might not be up to speed totally on the “politics” but the views are impressive and we’re always open to good conversation and a glass of wine! Good luck with your search.

    by Doc Stickel — February 14, 2017

  421. Sandy Z…….Thank you! Have not been down to take a look as yet…but was looking at a few listings on Dataw.
    Question: Is the whole island one resort development: Dataw ?
    Do you live there through summer , and if so…….do you find the heat oppressive? I live it Atlanta…..gets pretty hot here as well…but since I have spent a lot of time on the ocean……seems like the heat is more bearable if you have that ocean breeze.

    Is club membership mandatory for all those on Dataw?

    I am a single lady, so trying to get one of my friends to come down with me and take a look.

    Much thanks for getting back to me!

    Roberta

    by Roberta — February 14, 2017

  422. Hello again Roberta – I will try to clarify living on Dataw…although there are many lovely gated communities in the area. Some more expensive, some less. Yes, the whole island is one gated community. Yes, you must belong to the club and pay monthly dues to enjoy the clubhouse, fitness center, pool, etc. We do live here year round but plan most of our traveling in the summer so we end up gone during 6-8 weeks of the summer. Hope that helps!

    by SandyZ — February 15, 2017

  423. Kathy, your thoughts are well appreciated. You have two comments here suggesting consideration of NC. There are many (to me even more than SC) areas that are quite similar to the environs of Greenville, SC. While you may not want to participate in the political debate for issues like HB2 (affecting LGBT), be aware that while the current legislature is very right wing oriented, the issue and the legislative composition is and has been under active debate. Concerns (clearly those of both sides) are being addressed. What is currently unknown (as with the nation as a whole) is where these contentious issues will lead us.

    by Rich — February 15, 2017

  424. Don
    We spent a week in the area of Waynesville a year ago and liked the area very much. Where did you relocate from and have you found the area to your liking? Do you have pro and cons that you can share?

    Virginia

    by Virginia — February 16, 2017

  425. SandyZ
    My wife and I are looking at your general area for our retirement. It looks like you are having a warmer than normal winter. Has this been a trend in the last few years.

    by LeeS — February 17, 2017

  426. Virginia, I didn’t see a “Don” here so I”LL take the question. Both my wife and I are former New Jersey refugees. We departed 6 years ago when I reached 62. Always loved the Greater Blue Ridge area, and our first move was to Wytheville, VA. Spent five years there, and for a variety of reasons pushed a bit further south to Waynesville. Why did we move? I did fine in Wytheville. We were most definitely in a rural setting, more cows than neighbors-more farm tractors than cars, things like that. Wytheville is a very small town, in the throes of trying to revitalize, like some many other towns. It is not quite there yet. Most inhabitants have very deep roots, and go back generations. I found this heritage fascinating, and embraced it. My wife, being the quintessential “Jersey girl” while gamely trying- never quite assimilated. Waynesville, still being a mountain town, is vastly different. More of a melting pot, not quite as “economically challenged”, has a vibrant and thriving town center. This provides, of course, provides more opportunities for socializing, better restaurant scene, etc all. So…..The wife is VERY happy. Estactic, even. I like the library, on rainy, cold days, and even that scene is twice the size of Wytheville. The populations are roughly comparable, at approx 10,000- but it is a completely different vibe. One of my considerations was: where is my wife better suited when, statistics say( she is 8 years younger) she will be on her own? Waynesville was an obvious choice for us. Still mountains, still south of that mason-dixon, close to Asheville, we are quite happy with the move. We are 10 miles out of town, so-as I look out the window I see horses and cows, but close enough. Those are some of the positives. Hmmm… Negatives? Well, don’t come down here looking for full time work unless you’re a Doctor, or can “telecommute”, and…..Property costs. Real estate ain’t exactly cheap. That said, worthy of consideration, I’LL say! Hope that is helpful. My advice, as I always mention-is worth exactly what you paid for it! Happy hunting.

    by Doc Stickel — February 17, 2017

  427. Lee S. – this is only our second winter in the Beaufort area so I can’t say if it is a trend or not. Others tell us it is warmer than normal. We rarely wear long pants or coats! Mostly 60’s and 70’s – with a few scattered days in 40’s or 50’s. very pleasant!

    by SandyZ — February 17, 2017

  428. Don I was addressing question to you but also welcomed any responses! Im so very glad you took the challenge!
    My husband is a disabled vet and visited the VA in Asheville and while we were there and was very impressed with the facility. This is a very important factor for us. Thsnk you so much for the insight that you gave. It is do bery difficult to pick up and move let slone wondering if yor decision as to where is the right one.
    Im glad that your wife is happy with the area. It seems like a great area to be!
    Virginia

    by Virginia — February 18, 2017

  429. I’d welcome any thoughts by folks here on the advantages/disadvantages of Waynesville vs. Hendersonville — including public schools, medical care, real estate prices, and culture. Thanks in advance.

    by DavidF — February 19, 2017

  430. Virginia, you are correct. Relocation is a big decision. Hard to know if proper decisions are being made without the wisdom of hindsight. As I told my wife, while not easy-we could always move again. Although we feel Waynesville is a good fit.( For us). Speaking of the VA, I have involved myself in volunteer transport for the VA. There is a VA Van based here in Waynesville. You might have to check on whether or not your husband would qualify for this service. Through my activities with the van, I have spoken with a number of vets who have attested to the good reputation of the Asheville facility. Good news. Again, I wish you well with your research, and if other questions arise, I’ll try to assist!

    by Doc Stickel — February 19, 2017

  431. DavidF,

    We were considering both Waynesville and Hendersonville. On our visit this past September, we spent time in each town, and they both have their good points. What sealed the decision for me, was the downtown. Waynesville’s downtown is nice, but Hendersonville’s blew me away. Very pedestrian friendly, lots of places to sit, great shops and restaurants, an awesome bakery, and they’ve done a great job with plantings, etc to make it an incredibly attractive area. The other plus is that it doesn’t have a very busy main road going through it like Waynesville.

    Houses are probably a bit cheaper in Waynesville, but I don’t think the difference is significant. The other consideration for me is that Waynesville in generally at a bit higher elevation, and a bit further north. As someone who is looking to escape the winter as much as possible (without totally melting in the summer), there should be less snow in Hendersonville. For the past 30+ years, we’ve been in northern Vermont or far northern Maine (Caribou). WNC offers the right mix of moderate summer temps with mild winter temps. We know there will be a bit of snow, but it’s a fleeting visitor.

    On the outskirts of Hendersonville, along Rt 64 and 176, you’ll find most of the big box stores you’ll need. Anything that isn’t in Hendersonville is a quick ride away in Asheville. With I-26 running through town, you have easy access to Spartanburg and the coast.

    We’re still 6 years away from being able to move down there, but I’m greatly looking forward to it.

    by Chuck — February 20, 2017

  432. David, I wouldn’t presume to be an authority on Waynesville, since we’ve been here a grand total of 4 months. And I am certainly not in a position to compare/contrast with Hendersonville. I might suggest the “city data forum” which I found to be informative. Once on the site, type in North Carolina, then go to Western North Carolina. There are numerous discussions on the comparison you are inquiring about. Many points Chuck mentions seem to be accurate. We selected Waynesville precisely for the downtown area AND the increased elevation. We wanted to be at or near 2500 to 3000 feet. I’m not it sure what Chuck meant by the reference to a busy main road. Main Street, perhaps? Don’t know that I,d call that a problem. What does seem to be very busy( with frequent traffic problems) is the I 26 corridor between Hendersonville and Asheville. I\’d rather take my chances on I40 by us. Real estate doesn’t seem to be much of a bargain in either location, also. Good luck with your research!

    by Doc Stickel — February 20, 2017

  433. Doc: My thanks to you as well for some more very helpful insights!

    FWIW, we’re considering a location in the Asheville area (Asheville itself, Waynesville, or Hendersonville). We’re also planning a trip in April to look at Athens, GA; Traveler’s Rest, SC (very close to Greenville, which we like very much — especially the downtown — but which may be a bit too expensive for us, with some new downtown condos there going for nearly $1 million!); and Davidson, NC. Many of these locations are close to or include a college or university, which we believe would be a welcome addition for us.

    BTW, we were caught in afternoon rush hour traffic when driving from Asheville to Hendersonville last year. It wasn’t pretty.

    by DavidF — February 20, 2017

  434. Yes, Doc, with 276 (Main St) running through Waynesville, it’s a lot busier than Main St in Hendersonville, because the heavily trafficked roads are on the outskirts of downtown Hendersonville.

    I-26 is likely busier than I-40, but if you need to go to Asheville, you could always take the more scenic, and less traveled 191. It takes a bit longer, but at busy times would be a lot less stressful.

    As for real estate, it depends on where you’re coming from. House prices seem to be pretty comparable to what they are around here in Vermont (in the greater Burlington area), but the property taxes are much, much lower. We pay about $7000 in property taxes for our 2000 sq ft house. A similar house down in Waynesville or Hendersonville would have property taxes of $1,000-2,500, depending on location.

    by Chuck — February 21, 2017

  435. Doc, thanks so very much for passing on information and your willingness to chat! We are so interested in the NW Carolina area. That is the place we usually gravitate to when we can.
    When we are able to relocate we will be looking for rental property. I’m sure there will be something to find.

    Virginia

    by Virginia — February 21, 2017

  436. I am considering retiring to Ashville and will be in Asheville for 5 days in May. Any advice as to what to look at while I’m there? Any realtor recommendations? Thanks.

    by Martin — February 21, 2017

  437. Beverly Hanks for a good realtor and also check out Hendersonville which is about 20 miles from Asheville. Much more bang for the buck.

    by bob payton — February 22, 2017

  438. Bob, talking about bang for your buck how about that relate with renting. Also, do you have any idea how Hendersonville relates with Waynesville?

    by Virginia — February 22, 2017

  439. North Carolina is not a tax friendly state especially for seniors !

    by Ron — February 22, 2017

  440. virginia, Waynesville vs Hendersonville. My opinion is that Hendersonville has a far superior walkable downtown complete with neat stores and plenty of good to great restaurants. I would say housing is similar although Waynesville is more mountainous. Not sure of the arts but Hendersonville has The Flat Rock Playhouse (2 locations) with great “off broadway” type hits.

    by bob payton — February 23, 2017

  441. Ron, could you clarify the statement about NC not being tax friendly for seniors.
    Thank you

    by Diane — February 23, 2017

  442. Does anyone have ideas about Baxter Village in Fort Mill SC as retirement choice for seniors?

    by Linda — May 13, 2017

  443. Everybody is worried NC or SC, well let me tell you about Newyork. If this state could figure out a way to charge you for breathing air, they tax that to. Expensive, understatement. It a way to rob you. At this point SC looks like my retirement move. Not trying to be sarcastic but people who live here understand what I’m talking.

    by Johnny V — May 20, 2017

  444. Hi:
    We are looking for future retirement areas. I grew up on Long Island, NY; now reside in Vermont. It is too expensive to consider retiring here. Plus, we have grown tired of winter. My outdoor activities are more spring & summer. So where to go? I have friends in both states. I am looking at Beaufort and the Conway areas of SC; and Wilmington and some of the other Coastal areas of NC. We want to be close to the coast. Leaning towards NC, but Beaufort area looks nice as well. Love history, festivals, live music, peace & quiet. I am a cyclist too. Would love to hear from any NE transplants and get any helpful information. Thank you.

    by Mike M — July 6, 2017

  445. I think this is the first time I’ve read through all the posts here. What information!

    Debra and SandyZ – I’m heading to Port Royal for a few days this month and am then renting from October – December. I’m hoping I love it enough to want to stay. I’ve been moving around for 2 years now, looking for my retirement spot. I’m ready to land somewhere!

    Johnny V – I left NY 2 years ago and hear ya about the expense of living there!!!

    And for those of you in the western NC mountains….is it EVER sunny in the mornings?? It’s been foggy every morning for over two weeks, since I’ve been here.

    by Judy — July 7, 2017

  446. Mike M, I’m a transplant from long ago, but now would never consider returning to NE winters (or anywhere close!). Many fear NC/SC hurricanes. For most it’s not much of an issue except for the 10 year storm. But in searching for a new home near the coast, be aware that annually heavy hurricane rains and coastal flooding can cause major, recurring issues. Be careful and research in depth any property that is within the coastal plane. Flooding is the true major hurricane concern. An extreme example is Princeville, NC.

    Judy, YES! The norm is bright crystal clear mornings. :<) While it is true that those mountains with the right weather conditions can trap and hold the clouds down around you for long periods (and two weeks IS a LONG period), that is NOT the normal condition. It also depends on where in the mountains you are — southern areas (such as the Great Smokies) can be more prone to frequent rain/clouds (though not often constant). After all, those clinging clouds are what gave the Smokies their name.

    by Rich — July 7, 2017

  447. Diane,

    While tax change NC has almost higher tax in every category. Gasoline $.20 high per gallon, sales tax varies by county, many areas have city tax and other form of tax.
    NC senior tax discounts are not a good as SC. These may change area by area but those areas around where I live (Greater Charlotte) most move to SC then commute to NC for work as I did when I moved here. Nothing has changed that I am aware of

    by Ron — July 7, 2017

  448. I you can, rent in whichever place you chose before buying. We are in SC now and renting. Like it buy are still taking short trips to other states that are more tax friendly. Neither SC nor NC are really good with taxes other than property taxes and who know if that will change. The massive amount of building going on all over is going to add more strain to the roads which are already inadequate in many areas.

    by jean — July 7, 2017

  449. We moved from Connecticut to northeastern North Carolina going on three years. I’m still working but the retirement clock is ticking with less than two years left. My sister was visiting from New England was impressed that gas was only $1.99 a gallon and the relatively affordable cost of homes on the waterfront.

    The X factor for us has been the local residents. Warm, friendly and welcoming. This year I’ve spent time in downtown Chicago, LA and Manhatten. Returning home to a slower lifestyle with less traffic is appealing. We do live on the waterfront and did incur damage to our bulkhead and roof during hurricane Matthew last year. The increased cost of wind and flood insurance is the price we pay for breathtaking sunrises. Life is full of choices and trade offs. Again, once I’m retired, I might feel differently about the cost of living, taxes, etc but right now we are really enjoying the area.

    by Art — July 8, 2017

  450. Every time someone states that it is more expensive to live in NC than in SC or any other southern state, dollars and cents figures are NEVER given. Would you buy (almost) anything without knowing the cost? Would you shop in a store that gives the cost of items as higher or lower than others?

    Without actual numbers, these are concepts only. I’m living in NE TN and have found food more expensive than in NY (1 1/2 hours north of NYC). Houses are no less expensive IF you want a nice home. Sales tax is higher (9.75%) and food is taxed (it is not in NY). Property taxes are low.
    Yet everyone warns me not to think about NC or VA because they have property taxes. Yes, that may add up if you have more than two cars; but with just two cars it’s next to nothing.

    I agree with Art. Don’t be scared away from an area that attracts you. It’s hard enough to find the right place!

    by ella — July 8, 2017

  451. I moved the last few comments that strayed away from the Dueling Carolinas to another Blog that discusses Florida, Texas, and Tennessee, among other states –
    10 Very Retirement-Friendly States for Retirement: They Want You There!

    by Jane at Topretirements — July 14, 2017

  452. Wondering about Rock Hill, SC? We would really like the Ft. Mill area but the home inventory is low.
    I read about areas of RH are not desirable yet other areas are great.
    We are 55+ and looking for homes around $220,000 or less and also would like the restaurants, shopping, homes on larger lots (not 1000 homes in a neighborhood).
    Any area suggestions for RH? Found a home in Greenfield but know nothing about the neighborhood.
    Thanks
    Cindy F

    by Cindy F — July 15, 2017

  453. My niece and her family moved to Rock Hill over 10 years ago. They moved to a small, very old neighborhood with older mostly brick homes that surround an active city park. Be aware that it’s always a growing ‘burb of Charlotte and traffic late in the day can come to a standstill. Also, we looked at a new community, RiverWalk, right on the Catawba River. We found a floorplan that we fell in love with but aren’t ready to move yet. Additionally, there is a new 55+ community there from Del Web, Carolina Lakes, that is selling like crazy. There’s great healthcare there, a university and Lake Wylie. Rock Hill close to Charlotte and close enough to Greenville, Columbia and the NC beaches and mountains.
    The drawbacks for us are traffic and the lack of walkable communities. I don’t think it’s any different than Ft Mill and the boundaries of these towns are very blurred.

    by Imelda Hill — July 15, 2017

  454. Cindy and Imelda:
    You will find Del Webb 55+ homes in Rock Hill or Fort Mill areas to be well above your $220k budget. We were ready to buy at Carolina Lakes in 2015 but found that Del Webb (Pulte) has serious quality issues for homes built in recent years. Residents will tell you that soil preparations under many foundations, streets and drainage systems have led to serious infrastructure issues now that the developer gone. Resale homes are still selling there, but just be careful and do your research.

    by Ronald — July 16, 2017

  455. Thank you Ronald and Imemda-
    The 55+ communities are all above what we are looking for. With fees (monthly and/or quarterly) they just aren’t for us.
    We are now looking at older brick ranch homes in Rock Hill and York. Some upgraded already complete and we are willing to put some money into a home but also being careful not to price ourselves out of the neighborhood.
    Ideas? Areas in Rock Hill, York, to look at or avoid?
    Am I missing an area I should be looking at?
    Thank so much

    by Cindy Friedeberg — July 17, 2017

  456. Cindy,
    There are many nice areas in York County! Prices ranges from very reasonable to extremely pricey. We live in Clover which is located in Western York! Love the area. Rock Hill is about 25 miles Southwest and also has some nice communities. Look at zillow and other sites to find the demographics on the cities.

    by ron — July 17, 2017

  457. So, here I am in Port Royal, SC, outside of Beaufort. I think I may like this area. Met a guy this morning who is encouraging me to look at Sun City in Bluffton, so I will. As a single person, the idea of buying into a community with amenities/clubs/etc. is a little less scary than buying in to a neighborhood where I don’t know a soul and would likely have to work harder at meeting people.

    Anyone have experience with Sun City in Bluffton?

    by Judy — July 25, 2017

  458. My husband & I are thinking of relocating from North Florida where we have lived 50 years to the Raleigh, NC area. Has anyone from Florida moved to NC & if so what were the difficult adjustments that you needed to make?

    by Cathy W — July 26, 2017

  459. Judy – I have looked at models there and have another visit planned in a month or two, to meet with a realtor and Del Webb. Meanwhile I am reading on line newspapers to get a feel for Bluffton and Sun City life. Between Sun City, the Haven and next year’s Margaritavile’s 3,000+ homes in Hardeevikke, this area will be overwhelmed with retirees! I am not sure about the whole 55+ community concept, but I hope to decide on my next visit. One question I have to answer is the cost of flood insurance, which I have read is a necessity. I also need more info on the additional fees that Del Webb imposes on property transfers, the costs associated with golf carts (registration, insurance, maintenance) and the availability of lawn services and cleaning ladies…some of the things that I don’t want to live without (imagine an eye rolling emoji lol). I want to browse the local grocery and Walmart too. I need more info about maintaining stucco, and the status of the class action against Del Webb for problems with stucco on homes in the community. I am still fact-finding, but this location is on my list of finalists. The residents I met during my prior visits said they enjoyed living there.

    by Kate — July 26, 2017

  460. Kate – thanks for your response. I had a tour today with one of the residents. It is impressive, if huge. Honestly, I don’t know if I can see myself in a place like that. My concerns are similar to yours – with all the fees and add-ons and flood insurance, on top of the mortgage, I’m not sure it’s affordable. I also don’t like being completely outside of the ‘real feel’ of the area. Beaufort and Port Royal are old, covered with live oaks. and I love that. Sun City is extremely manicured. And did I mention big? 90 miles of roads, I’m told, are in the community. Alas, although it was informational, I’m not sure I’m any closer to a decision.

    Thanks!

    by Judy — July 26, 2017

  461. Hey Cathy W, I have a friend who moved to the Raleigh area in January from the Oakland Fl (Orlando area). I would be happy to send you their contact info as I am sure he would be glad to share. Mike and Ingrid, so far love it here. I personally have lived in NC all my life and in the Raleigh area since ’84. Honestly, ok, I may be biased, it doesn’t get any better than this! Arts, food, sports, beach 1.5 hrs, mountains 3 hrs, diversity of culture, people, international travel, education (Life Long Learning Centers), the list goes on 🙂

    Be glad to help with more info if you would like.

    by Huntley cuthrell — July 26, 2017

  462. Judy – did you look at some of the neighborhoods and communities in the Beaufort area? We also looked in the HHI area after vacationing there for 25 years, but the traffic turned us off. 278 has almost daily accidents and I cringe at the thought of the massive addition of travelers from Margarittaville added to the same and only highway from 95 to the island. On the plus side, all of the decent grocery stores and shops are in the Bluffton, HHI area. We chose Beaufort, – quieter, less traffic, historic vs. touristy, and we shop locally and our farmers market or Amazon, with the occasional run to Bluffton or Charleston. We love Port Royal too – Street Music on Saturday nights and coffee at Pluff Mud, climbing the tower at the Sands beach – and golf carts on the roads – very fun spot! Enjoy your search!

    by SandyZ — July 27, 2017

  463. My question is simple… why move from NC where property is more reasonably priced, taxes are less, and services are at least adequate? I’m looking to retire from CT and many arrows point to TN, NC and SC. For me, FL is not an option, (too many business there in July!) I know it all depends on what you’re looking for, but isn’t Raleigh all that and then some? Other than friends, up here in CT I think I’ll miss quick access to NYC and its venues more than anything else.

    by FrankJ — July 27, 2017

  464. SandyZ – YES…I think the Beaufort area is for me. I, too, was turned off by the traffic in the Bluffton area. Both days I went there, there was terrible traffic due to accidents. One was really bad, traffic had to be rerouted, etc. I know it’s going to get worse and the area is growing way too fast for my tastes.

    I will be contacting a realtor next week to start the search. Port Royal is my first choice, but I’m a little nervous about the potential development happening there, so will only consider one section of town. I’m not sure which areas of Beaufort to consider…I don’t know the neighborhoods well at this point. Do you have any suggestions?

    Are you the woman who is on Dataw Island? I’m looking for a place actually in town. The idea of riding my bike to get places is very enticing.

    I can’t WAIT to be a turtle-watch volunteer!

    Thanks!

    by Judy — July 27, 2017

  465. Judy – I will contact you via email…Debra from Beaufort, are you still reading this blog? Debra moved here at the same time that I did and she might be more helpful about neighborhoods in town. We do live at Dataw – it is about 5 miles from town out towards Hunting Island – I am a beach bum, and we do drive into town. If Debra reads this, perhaps she will contact you too!

    by SandyZ — July 28, 2017

  466. Any transplants in Lincolnton, NC?
    We are looking at a home there.

    by Cindy Friedeberg — July 28, 2017

  467. Hi Maria,
    If you go to the topretirements.com website, you’ll see a link for finding retirement towns by state. New Jersey has many retirement communities in the southern portion of the state listed. If you use the Retirement Ranger, you can type in the areas and amenities you’re interested in. I know there are blogs here about south jersey retirement. Try using the search bar to locate them. Happy Hunting !!

    by Moderator Flo — July 28, 2017

  468. I am looking at retiring next year and am interested in either outside of Raleigh or Charlotte. I have a teenage daughter so good school systems are extremely important to me. If I don’t find the house that I am looking for I will probably by land and build. Any thoughts on which area is better? Also, I like to travel so having a good international airport with a good choice of airlines is important.

    by Janice — July 31, 2017

  469. I am 58, single, and planning to retire soon. I am building a home in Lennar’s Tree Tops active adult community in Lancaster, SC (near Del Webb’s Carolina Lakes). I will also be keeping my home in Wisconsin (at least that’s my plan for now). Any information anyone would share about taxes, restaurants, weather, things you enjoy or would change would be helpful to me as I prepare for this new adventure. Also recommendations for good bible teaching, nondenominational churches, or bible studies. I have done my homework, but there is nothing like being able to hear other’s impressions, experiences, and thoughts. I also have a friend who is considering renting an apartment in that same area, so I would appreciate any recommendations in that area as well – looking to spend approx. $1000/month, a one bedroom which is safe and well kept. Any information or insights would be greatly appreciated.

    by patti — August 3, 2017

  470. To Judy and Kate, I am headed to look at the sun city area in about a week, I want golf, golf cart drivable from home. I have a realtor I’m meeting with. I’m looking to relocate from So. Cal. I would be interested in any resources about costs that might not be evident/readily known. I’ve heard about fees related to hurricane cleanup, didn’t know about flood insurance. What else do I not know? I am also thinking about Skiddaway Island, any knowledge? Thanks

    by Sherwin — August 3, 2017

  471. judy:I am a northern girl by birth…moved to Atlanta bout 40 years ago….looking to get out of Atlanta …too busy….good for young people looking for opportunities…not good for retirement.

    I visited Raleigh some years ago…wondering what it was that everyone saw in Raleigh. I was not attracted to the area…thought it was disappointingly unattractive.

    You may like Dataw…if it is affordable to you. Savannnah seems to be wrought with crime these days……many people moving out of Savannah to places like St. Mary’s etc.

    Perhaps I just did not see the great parts of Raleigh…was there for a meeting…but I saw nothing impressive at all….not an expert, of course.

    by Roberta Bengtson — August 7, 2017

  472. Sherwin and Patti – you will see lots of new construction when you visit! A new shopping center that will be 1/2 the size of the nearest large mall has been announced and is doing site development within about 3 miles of Sun City and Treetops, which will have a Petco, Hobby Shop, TJ Maxx and other stores (possibly another Walmart too). There is also another new mall coming in about 8 mikes north on 521, which will have a multiplex theatre. Lots of convenience — but also there is more and more traffic. I can’t recommend any apartments (it appeared to me when I moved here that apt rentals were more expensive than owning!!). You will see the library between Sun City and Treetops, which is nice and convenient. Sherwin – I have found the personal property tax on vehicles not to be too bad, and was amazed not to have an annual car inspection in SC! Sales tax is charged on more items than I was used to in PA, but gas is certainly cheap (paid about $1.98 gal last week with a car wash at EXXON). My water bill is a little higher, and some services can run higher (although I am sure compared to CA you will find everything is a bargain) but overall my insurance, cable and electric bills have not offered any surprises. Security systems seem to be the norm here (about $65 month). The Charlotte newspaper disappoints me, if you are a newspaper junkie like I am. One surprise was that fine dining is definitely very expensive – Charlotte takes dining out very seriously. You will enjoy the food at the Vine diner right over the border in Ballantine.

    by Kate — August 8, 2017

  473. Hi,
    I have been reading the most recent posts and have some questions. My husband and I are about 7-10 years from retirement. We are looking at both NC and SC as possible retirement locations. We plan on taking a few trips down to both states before making any decisions and are looking for information on communities to visit. We visited Myrtle Beach and it’s not for me. We like golf, the beach, good health care close by (major medical center) and lastly we want a nice downtown area; one with quaint shops, restaurants and movies. Any suggestions where to begin??

    Thanks,
    Cathy 🙂

    by Cathy — September 17, 2017

  474. Cathy, A lot can change in an area in 7 to 10 years so keep taking vacations in NC and SC and plan on renting for a while once you retire. When my husband and I started looking I used the store locations page on the Whole Foods Market website to find potential places to retire letting that company vet potential locations for us 🙂 We visited lots of great towns and cities and added Georgia to the states we were considering. When we finally did make the move, we ended up taking a year lease in a newer, furnished house in a 55+ community in the one place I never thought we would move – Myrtle Beach. The main reason is that since we couldnt decide, we thought it would be easier to contue our search being in the area and we both like to golf. Another reason is that I liked the idea of being amongst a lot of transplants to sort of ease the culture shock. We take short trips every few weeks to explore the southeast and enjoy all the golf and great state parks here in the Grand Strand in between.

    by Jean — September 18, 2017

  475. Cathy,

    You are setting out on an exciting venture. A few location to consider, Asheville, NC, Hendersonville, NC and Greenville, SC. I did a similar search in the last three to four years and ended up building a home in Asheville. I relocated from NYC and experiment the mountain life in Upstate NY ( to me, it was too remote and too far from immediate health care if needed ) so was looking for a city with the attributes you described. Each of these offers those things and each has a vibe of its own, so would suggest you include them in what can become a very long list.

    by John — September 18, 2017

  476. Does anyone know about the flooding issues in Magnolia Greens Plantation in Leland NC?

    by Carol S — September 18, 2017

  477. Cathy
    Go South of Myrtle beach to Pawleys Island area and you’ll find all these things you find important

    by Ron — September 18, 2017

  478. Hi Cathy
    Not long ago I posted an article of my trip to NC and SC. It covered small towns and 55+ communities along the coasts. If you go to “Search”on the drop down menu on the Topretirement.com website and type in “NC, SC, and Flo, articles on NC and SC will appear. You can also use the Advanced Search to find what you’re looking for in a retirement home.
    Hope this helps!!

    by Moderator Flo — September 18, 2017

  479. Carol S, I live in Leland 5 min away from Magnolia Greens in Brunswick Forest. We have not had any flooding in either communities. Both communities share a social network and it would be on there if there was any flooding. Leland is growing fast with many new communities. They widened route 17 which helped with traffic, and Nov a connector for I-40 will open which will help even more. I love this area so close to Wilmington makes it great!

    by Barbara — September 19, 2017

  480. Barbara, The reason I asked is a news article I came across when we were touring homes in the area. http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170203/leland-seeks-solution-for-magnolia-greens-flooding-issue
    We really love the area.

    by Carol S — September 20, 2017

  481. I was not aware of that issue back in February. You should look in Brunswick Forest there has been no issues with flooding, the retention ponds flow from one to the next. When this community was built the developer focused on the infrastructure.

    by Barbara — September 21, 2017

  482. Flo, I read your review on North Carolina some time back and had a comment on your visit to Southport. Southport is a sweet little town with cute shops and plenty of places for dining out at different price points. You mentioned that Southport is golf cart friendly. While that might be legally correct, I think driving a golf cart in Southport in the summer would be pretty dangerous. Southport is very busy in the summer months.
    I’m not sure if you went over to Oak Island (only a few miles away) but it’s a wonderful laid back, family and dog friendly beach town. One of the things I love most about that area is that you have the beach town of Oak Island and the small town southern feel of Southport so close together. It seems that many retirees are moving into this area.

    by Jan — September 22, 2017

  483. I’ve been reading these posts for well over a year now and I’m getting closer to the retirement stage. My wife and I visited Fort Mill, SC over a year ago and liked a development called Massey. Can anyone update me as to its current progress? Are homes still being built and purchased? Is it essentially a good neighborhood? I researched the schools and they seem to be above average. Are they building more retail in the area and what about the traffic? Thanks for any input.

    by Tom — September 27, 2017

  484. Diane sent in this question:

    Has anyone moved to Calabash, nc? If so, how do you like it? Which communities are you familiar with?
    by Diane Petilli — November 2, 2017 | 

    by Admin — November 2, 2017

  485. Diane, I don’t live in Calabash but in Wilmington which is about 50 minutes away. To me, Calabash is in the middle of nowhere. Not a lot to offer…..I guess you could shop in Little River or North Myrtle Beach but I don’t know what your needs are. Obviously some people like it.

    by Dick — November 3, 2017

  486. I am currently in Beaufort, South Carolina, for the winter. There are many things I like about it but I’m not yet convinced it’s my final stopping place. The one place I regret I haven’t checked out is Wilmington, North Carolina. Is there anyone that has been to both of these places and can compare them? A concern I have about Wilmington is that it is too big and growing and sprawling. But since I have never been there I might just be making that up. I am more interested in living in a neighborhood then I am in a planned community at this point. Any opinions? Thank you.

    by Judith R — November 4, 2017

  487. Judith R, It really depends on what you’re looking for. Wilmington is definitely growing quickly, and there can be traffic issues (as there are almost everywhere it seems). Along with the growth there’s a lot of convenience. There are also a lot of retirees here and many neighborhoods to choose from. We moved to Wilmington two years ago from the hectic Washington DC area and it’s definitely less hectic here, and doesn’t seem too big to me. However, we’ve seen overall home prices increase quite a bit in that time even as new homes are being built at a speedy pace. Having only driven through Beaufort a few years ago the comparison I would make is that Beaufort seemed more quaint and quiet. I think it’s entirely personal, based on what you want and need.

    by JudyM — November 4, 2017

  488. Judith R, I agree with you about preferring to live in a neighborhood than a planned community! We are currently in the Myrtle Beach area in a very nice development ( renting) and dont plan to stay here for that reason. As for towns with neighborhoods, have you looked at Mt Pleasant or Greenville in SC?

    by Jean — November 4, 2017

  489. Jean and JudyM – thanks for your responses. I’m thinking that what I want is unrealistic and doesn’t exist: many choices of things to do without a lot of traffic and busy-ness! It’s one or the other, most likely. The Beaufort area is beautiful and I probably need to give it more time. This area is growing, too, and the traffic issues seem to stem from the fact that there is water everywhere and only a few bridges for all the traffic to use.

    Jean – I want to stay coastal, so Greenville isn’t a consideration. I haven’t heard of Mt. Pleasant so will look into it.

    by Judith R — November 5, 2017

  490. Judith R, Mt pleasant is just north of Charleston. And if you go there, continue north on 17 ( about an hour or so) and visit Georgetown, esp the river front ( which is right on the coast). Great, quiet little downtown with restaurants and in the nice weather frequent outdoor concerts. The history dates back to before the Revolutionary war and there are still many old houses just off the main street.

    by Jean — November 6, 2017

  491. Judith R,

    I don’t know what price range you’re looking at, but Mt.Pleasant is pretty pricey. Our realtor said that it’s because young families want to live there because of the excellent school system. We checked it out, but we decided we did not want to begin looking at homes starting in the low-mid $400s (or higher) that needed updating!

    by Fionna — November 6, 2017

  492. Fionna – did you look at Summerville?

    by Dian — November 6, 2017

  493. Dian — Yes, it turns out we decided to build in Summerville at Cresswind. A bit out of the way, but lovely surroundings. Community is built on an old rice plantation with much conservancy area, a lake and ponds. Need to travel several miles to supermarkets, Walmart, etc. Traffic can be congested so one learns alternate routes and best times of the day to shop.

    by Fionna — November 7, 2017

  494. Fiona – too funny – that was my husband’s favorite place. My only problem is wanting to be closer to downtown and the beach. Very nice there though.

    by Dian — November 7, 2017

  495. Fiona & Dian
    Yes Georgetown is nice but don’t fly through McClellanville or Awendaw. Living within Mt Pleasant… well it’s a sellers market that’s for sure. If you want to be close put Cainhoy and Wando in your searches as well as Charleston and Daniel Island.. These areas overlap each other to some degree. Also we have beaches true enough but you might enjoy living by a river and many communities offer docks reserved for the residents. The entire area is growing with Boeing and Volvo here.

    We’ve opted to leave as we prefer more isolation and with age have become less heat intolerant. No family to hold us and no fondness for beaches. A great place to raise our child, lots to do, fabulous restaurants and food scene. We hope to be in the mountains by late spring, early summer.

    by C — November 7, 2017

  496. * less heat tolerant….. It was 85 here yesterday, felt great !

    by C — November 8, 2017

  497. I’ve seen some beautiful tourism magazine ads for Summerville, SC. I always wanted to visit there until I read in August, 2016, in response to the Zika virus, Dorchester County did an aerial spraying of a pesticide called Naled which killed millions of honeybees.
    Mosquito spraying is a necessary fact of life in the South. No matter where you decide to live, if this is something that you’re sensitive to or concerned about, do some research before buying.

    by Jan — November 8, 2017

  498. I live in Wilmington NC and no, mosquito spraying is not a way of life here. In my 27 years here, they have never had to spray so generalities about any area of the country are not always true.

    by Dick — November 9, 2017

  499. Please accept my apologies for the generalization. I also hope that my post didn’t suggest that all areas that do mosquito spraying use aerial spraying, some use truck spraying. Dick, you might find it interesting to look at your county website to see their mosquito control methods.

    by Jan — November 9, 2017

  500. So we have lived in NJ for most of our lives and relocated to Florida since we were tired of the frigid temperatures. We had owned a Florida condo for ten years prior to our big move. We explored every month of any year to get the feel of different seasons. Although it is forever summer there, there is a humidity difference with the seasons. Our realtor did tell us that coming down for weekends was very different than actually living there. We learned that she was speaking from experience. I even had three former colleagues move down and we were all in an hour’s distance from each other. After five years, my husband was tired of the flat landscape and I was tired of our deed-restricted community which we never were involved with before. Other reasons encouraged us to move on but that is for another day. Now we are looking at the Carolinas! My husband has a childhood friend that has lived outside of Charlotte for over 20 years and three of their grown children have also settled there. We have heard about the pros and cons of both NC and SC. It will be interesting to see where we end up. I have already learned that we will be referred to as ‘Halfbacks’. Apparently it is when northeasterners move down to Florida and then end up mid way back like the Carolinas. It appears there is a volume of people that fall into this.

    by JEB — December 21, 2017

  501. I didn’t come here for politics but it is useful information. I plan on retiring soon to the Carolinas from NJ and would prefer to avoid a “progressive/liberal” area. As you could imagine living in one of the most Liberal states in the country I am looking forward to avoiding highly politicized areas. Some good pointers on areas to avoid.

    by Jim — January 13, 2018

  502. Dick, and any others in the Wilmington NC and Brunswick County areas. What are your thoughts on the Gen-X in the water and the community/government response to this crisis? I’ve read that some think that this will be bigger than even the water issues in Flint MI. Are you satisfied with any response they have given or do you feel, like others I’ve read, that they are not being forthcoming. Anyone not familiar with this need only Google water quality issues in Wilmington and/or Brunswick County. Thank you.

    by Dave C — January 15, 2018

  503. Does anyone know of affordable, safe areas around Lake Norman?

    by CarolS — January 16, 2018

  504. Thanks to the last several commentators for being objective and thoughtful without veering into labelling the opposition in negative ways. If only all of our discourse could be so pleasant and open-minded! That said, we seem to be veering off the track from the subject of this post, SC vs. NC for retirement. Obviously political environment has a bearing on it, but lets try to keep it as relates to retiring in these states. Thanks

    by Admin — January 29, 2018

  505. Please STOP telling people to come to NC. We don’t want any more people coming to our state. The ones that have moved in so far are screwing it up enough. Tell them to stay home.

    This comment came from Anne

    by Admin — February 4, 2018

  506. I live in Charlotte and would NOT say you should stop telling people about the state. However, Charlotte is not especially able to handle the traffic that has built up here. It can take me close to an hour to go a little under 5 miles during rush hour. We are close enough to the beach or mountains without getting the weather (usually), so the location is nice. I’ll add that I am looking to hop over the border into SC after I retire, just for the taxes.

    by nancy — February 5, 2018

  507. Why Anne, “Bless you heart!” Thank you for giving a backdoor “shhh it’s really great here…”. I too agree you do have a lovely state and someday I just might come visit y’all!
    And Anne, that was “tongue in cheek”…Have a great day!

    by Dave C — February 5, 2018

  508. Have tried to read each comment, particularly those pertaining to the Wilmington, NC area. Like many of you, my husband and I are looking to relocate from NJ for tax and weather reasons. We ruled out some states, just because, We visited Arizona, which we like, but not sure about a permanent residence. We explored Charlotte, NC quite a lot, spent time at the Trilogy at Lake Norman ( not on the lake ) and visited other adult communities, Birkdale Village. Decided that Chatlotte was not the place, did not like Trilogy location or house layouts, but it took a few visits. We didn’t connect with Raleigh, Diurham, etc.

    We were just in Hilton Head , SC and looked at many properties with realtor. We have vacationed there for several years. Stopped off on Pawleys Island and thought it a neat place, but limited in what to do u less you really like the beach. Beautiful homes, sub divisions.

    So then into Wilmington, NC. Never been there before bit do know people there. Pleasantly surprised. Vibrant riverfront area, beautiful historic district, live theatre, music. Think it has a lot of what we are looking for. We looked at Brunswick Forest and Compass Pointe and ‘hands down’ Brunswick Forest, locations, landscaping, overall appearance. Did not like the location of Cmpass Pointe, just did not hit the mark.

    Although I like the mountains, being retired we can take long weekends there.

    Sorry the so long, and just my opinion.

    by Linda — April 11, 2018

  509. I live in Charlotte and am doing what I can to not retire here. On the news this morning, Charlotte water has put in for large increases in fees only – out of a $60/month water bill, the water I use is less than $2.00. Everything else is a tacked on fee. Piedmont Gas does the same thing – they tack on a fee for the privilege of using & paying for natural gas. Duke Power has put in a fee increase because they are “too poor” to clean up the mess they made in the lakes, but they just paid their CEO the highest salary ever (the articles about this were on 2 facing pages of the business journal). I think Charlotte is an expensive place to live – high utility bills, high property taxes, poor public transportation. We have congested traffic that gets worse all the time as builders put up high density homes too close to the existing roads. Yes, they are revitalizing downtown, but parking is a problem.

    by Nancy — April 12, 2018

  510. Linda, If you are thinking of moving to SC or NC, go and RENT for at least a year before you buy. My husband and I (also from NJ) tried SC for tax and climate reasons. Loved the climate but missed a lot about the northeast. We are now renting in Bucks County and exploring the rest of Pa; will be snow birds someplace warmer in the Winter. Pa is also tax friendly for retirees – pensions, 401K, IRA not taxed and other income taxed at a much lower rate than NJ or SC. Property taxes are higher than SC but the roads are better , the libraries are better, the crime rate is lower, etc. If you use Turbo tax, get the versions for the states you are considering to get a good estimate of how tax friendly those states will be for you!
    Also spent some time in Wilmington, NC (BTW, NC is NOT tax friendly to retirees), the river area is lovely and there are some good beaches, but also high crime and very depressed areas nearby. In SC, we were lucky to find a 2 yr old house in a nice, gated 55+ community. Great amenities, nice neighbors, beautiful landscaping, and after a month totally claustrophobic. It took living there to understand what is really important to us and we are so thankful we just rented and didn’t have to try to sell.

    by jean — April 12, 2018

  511. NC is probably just average in tax friendliness to most retirees – better than some states, worse than others. Real estate taxes are definitely lower than many states and SS isn’t taxed. If you’re lucky enough to be included in the Bailey exemption your pension won’t be taxed either. That’s for federal, military, and most NC State retirement plans where you were vested by Aug 12, 1989.

    I think the main draw for most is gentler weather when compared to the north, and an overall lower cost of living, mostly attributed to the cost of housing. We’ve been retired in Wilmington for about 3 years now. Like any large city (100,000+) it has a variety of areas ranging from super wealthy to depressed. So far our experience has been very good. No place is perfect and everyone doesn’t want the same things. The advice to rent for awhile first is great – that’s how to find out if a place really works for you or not.

    by JudyM — April 12, 2018

  512. I think the most common advice given on finding a retirement place is to rent first before committing to a buy. Renting has very few risks (some inconvenience) while buying first can find you on the hook for extra costs and potentially difficult sales concerns on top of another move.

    by RichPB — April 13, 2018

  513. Jean and JudyM, thank you both for your comments, appreciate them. we do like the Doylestown area, very nice, it never looked into real estate there. Hopefully we will make the right decision. We did see some of the depressed areas of Wilmington, everywhere has them ..even Hilton Head as beautiful as that is. We liked that there seems to be so much going on in the Wilmington area, lots to get involved in.

    I will be checking this site, thank you again.

    by Linda — April 13, 2018

  514. JudyM, did you and your husband rent first? If I may ask, which area of Wilmington are you in.

    by Linda — April 13, 2018

  515. Linda – no, we didn’t rent first. We visited several times (after ruling out some other cities in NC, TN, SC, VA, DE) and found a house we really liked. We also didn’t want the inconvenience of moving twice.

    If I had it to do again I would rent first, not because we don’t like Wilmington, but because it allows you to hone in more precisely on the most convenient neighborhood for you. There are many, many lovely neighborhoods to choose from, and until you live here awhile and experience traffic patterns, learn where you go the most, etc., you won’t know for sure which area is best for you. We are in the eastern suburbs – east of South College Road around where it intersects S.17th St.

    by JudyM — April 14, 2018

  516. Judy, thanks for your input. Maybe we need another trip to Wilmington to look at other neighborhoods. Not to be snobby, but would prefer gated community with HOA. Presently we live next to a house in foreclosure and it has been a sight to look at for the 17 years we have lived at our current home. I do not think I can put up with that again. Brunswick Forest is not gated, but does have HOA fees. Never thought of myself as a beach person, but think from what I read on the ENCORE and SALT magazines that there is plenty to get involved in, and the beach is there if you want it. It truly is a difficult decision to make. I hear so many good things about Greenville, SC, maybe we should take a look at that too!!

    by Linda — April 15, 2018

  517. Linda, I have lived in Wilmington for 28 years and will tell you that there are very few gated communities in Wilmington. Landfall is the largest and that is snobby in my mind. I honestly can’t think of others with HOAs that offer amenities. The traffic in Wilmington has gotten congested in the past few years. Oleander, College and Military Cutoff roads are especially crowded between 4:30 and 6:00. Good luck…..

    Editor’s note: We used Advanced Search at Topretirements and found 4 other Wilmington area gated communities in our database, but to Dick’s point, 3 of them are outside of Wilmington. https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North_Carolina/Wilmington/Porters_Neck.html
    and
    https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North_Carolina/Wilmington/River_Landing.html (which is in quite a bit up the road in Wallace, NC)
    https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North%20Carolina/Wilmington/Compass%20Pointe.html in Leland and
    https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North%20Carolina/Southport/St.%20James%20Plantation.html in Southport

    by Dick — April 16, 2018

  518. Linda,

    Our community is not gated, but we do have an active HOA and amenities (pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, playground) and they maintain the common areas. They are also quite active at ensuring no one allows their properties to degrade. There is a fence entirely enclosing the area and just two entrances. Of the homes we looked at in Wilmington, about half had HOAs and half didn’t. The older neighborhoods mostly don’t and the newer ones mostly do. Dick mentioned Landfall, which is very nice but we didn’t even look there because the HOA fees are so over the top. It’s gated and guarded – you can’t even go in without a realtor. I’ve seen a few other developments with gates across the entrance so there are a couple of other small ones. They’re typically not guarded so residents probably have some sort of gate opener.

    I understand concerns about safety in an unfamiliar town. We have never felt unsafe here, or the need to be gated. Most of Wilmington’s crime seems to be in pretty well-defined areas and seldom extends into most of the general neighborhoods. As Dick notes, Wilmington has been growing and traffic can get busy. We moved here from the Washington DC area so it doesn’t seem that bad to us – perspective!

    If you want to browse, I’m sure you know Zillow will provide details on whether a home for sale has HOA fees or not. Often, if there are amenities, the listing will include photos of them.

    Best of luck!
    JudyM

    by JudyM — April 16, 2018

  519. Hi Judy, thank you for all of the information. I have found another realtor website that lists all of the subdivisions in Wilmington, no matter how large or small. We do have friends in Wilmington and they leave also given us some ‘insider information’. We will be talking with a couple of realtors to see which one we think will fit with us.

    Coming from a relatively small town in NW NJ with little traffic, anything I see is more than we have here. We did just came around DC last week and …oh my ….as you say traffic in Wilmington is nothing compared to that!

    Wilmington seems to have a lot going on with theatres, live music, lots of things to get involved in. We did like Brunswick Forest and although it has activities going on, it is not a 55 plus only, we did see families there. We did not care for Co pass Pointe at all, but a personal choice.

    We will be making another trip down before any decisions are finalized! It was so much easier to move because of the job ..retirement is hard work !!

    Thank you again,

    Linda

    by Linda — April 17, 2018

  520. I have lived in central Virginia for 40 years and plan to retire out of state since Virginia has turned blue due to the
    government workers in Northern Virginia. Since the tax burden in Va will be like New Jersey in a few years the Carolinas and Tennessee are being considered. Tennessee has no income tax. I believe we will bypass NC because in a few years it may also turn blue. It is sad that northern retirees flee the high tax states and then start voting for leftists in the states they adopt. Don’t they realize the taxes will go up when they vote for “progressives” (read leftists)?
    My wife and I also enjoy target shooting. It will probably be quite a while before SC and Tennessee lose their respect for the Second Amendment.

    by Sal Monella — May 2, 2018

  521. Sal:
    It’s called democracy. People are free in this country to move where they want and free to elect representatives who will vote to provide the services they want – or don’t want. In a free and fair election (without gerrymandering and voter suppression) the majority determines the type of government services that will be provided and how to pay for them.

    As for the topic of this thread, North and South Carolina, there are very conservative and more progressive areas in each of those states. Seek out an area that suits you and refrain from putting labels on those who do not have the same values as you.

    by LS — May 3, 2018

  522. Salks post makes me wonder whether South Carolina is more typically a southern state(RED) than North Carolina?

    by Maimi — May 4, 2018

  523. Doc Stickle, your comment on 1/28 was very well put. I am in full agreement with you.
    My husband and I were in Asheville this past January checking out the surrounding towns. He will be using the VA facility so we want to relocate in that general area. Do you have any views of which areas we should perhaps look in or avoid? Any comments would be appreciated!

    by Virginia — May 5, 2018

  524. Hi Virginia! Of course, could be much to say… depending on your needs/desires?
    Perhaps send some contact info?
    vastickel@gmail.com. Thanks!

    by Doc Stickel — May 6, 2018

  525. Sal, I agree with you about Virginia since I have lived in the DC Metropolitan area for 50 years. You are also correct about the impact of the northern migration on the southern cultures. The Carolinas have indeed been changed.

    I lived in RTP on a 2 yr temporary assignment. As often happens with urban areas, the political leanings seem to tend toward socially liberal policies. But I think it’s good to have a good mix of viewpoints along with the lower cost of living, less stressful environment and warmer climates and pray that change to the Carolinas are not radical. I’m still interested in returning to NC for retirement but not RTP or Charlotte.

    by J McNeish — May 19, 2018

  526. Hello All:
    It seems that the politics that predominates in a retiree community depends on whether the majority of the retirees in that area are well off or not. I live in NW Washington, DC and agree with J McNeish that a good mix would be great. I have heard that some people wo retired in Norh Carolina could not wait to leave once they had been there a few years and saw things change. One couple moved to the tidewater area of Virginia…..not sure that was much of a change.

    by Jennifer — May 20, 2018

  527. What kind of change did they see in North Carolina?

    by Debra — May 21, 2018

  528. Hello Debra:

    The traffic increased, taxes increased and the sense of well being decreased. They felt that the place where they had thought they found a retirement refuge changed quickly as the populations increased. Healthcare was hard to find in many cases –Medicare was becoming rarely accepted. Not everyone wants to live in a rural area where medical care may be inferior to what one would find near a city–but then the traffic and crowding can be of an issue. Prices increased with the taxes. The taxes changed and became less favorable to retirees.

    by Jennifer — May 21, 2018

  529. Relocating to either NC, Charlotte/Matthews area or SC from Boston suburb. Sons and grandkids have made the move so we will follow, with their blessing.

    SC is so close to where they are that we must at least consider this state. Love the fact that we will be escaping the Massachusetts Estate tax, which is one of the worst, estate over 1 million is taxed back to the first dollar.

    I am concerned over the localities having so much room to increase taxes over the state’s base.
    Each town or region seems to be able to do whatever they want creating hidden taxes or least unexpected tax increases. SC is looking pretty nice from that perspective while still benefiting from the urban Charlotte area.

    Beaches in Carolinas beat Cape Cod every time but will miss the seafood!

    by Tom — May 22, 2018

  530. Hello Tom…Lots of great seafood on the Carolina Coast…however say goodbye to those wonderful fat bellied fried clams and Maine lobster is available…but at a premium.

    by Roberta Bengtson — May 24, 2018

  531. We grew up in or near Philadelphia. We moved around for work a few years before settling in FL. I did not want to go there but that’s where work took us. We’ve been there 35 years. It’s been a good life but 25 years ago my husband promised we’d retire further north for not so long hot, humid summers, no hurricanes, different growing zone for plants. We bought a condo in Cocoa Beach 8 years ago, my husband hoping it would keep me in FL. It didn’t. I was researching various areas in the middle Atlantic region when we stopped at Sun City Hilton Head in 2014. We vacationed at Fripp Island for 20 years so the area was not unfamiliar. We were surprised at how much we liked the homes and activities. I thought I’d adjust to how close the homes are to each other. I haven’t. I have lived with an HOA but nothing as restrictive as what’s here. You have 16,000 retired people playing and managing everyone else. It’s not a good fit for me. We still have a bea ch condo in FL. Summers here, inland from HH, are hotter and as humid as FL and both places were affected by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. Last September we spent almost two weeks visiting no age restricted communities in Cashiers, Waynesville, Old Fort, Banner Elk and The Coves River Mountain Club near Lenoir. We were back in October when we put money on a lot in The Coves, November and March. I know it’s not as cool in summer as Banner Elk but I’m hoping for a noticeable difference from the Low Country. There’s a lot of growth in the HH, Bluffton area. Traffic is getting worse. Crime, violent crime, is getting worse. I won’t have shopping 5 miles away. Not as many restaurants to chose from but I hope I’ll be happier in a less active community with a more noticeable change of seasons. We just signed a contract to build.

    by Marjie — May 30, 2018

  532. Interested in Georgia vs Florida

    Editor’s Comment:
    Thanks for the suggestion Cindy. We will take a look at that. In the meantime, this Comparison of Georgia with its closest other neighbors might be useful:

    by Cindy Griffith — May 30, 2018

  533. I have been researching retirement homes for about 2 years. I currently own a home in Southern California. After researching and visiting many states I limited my search to both North and South Carolina. I used http://www.smartasset.com to review tax friendliness by state, then after visiting the area and narrowing down the area-I used http://www.bestplaces.net and their resource tool “compare cities”. My final area was the isothermal area of both North and South Carolina…..more visits. I just closed on a home in Tryon NC about 6 miles from the new Tryon International Equestrian Center. LOVE that area. Can’t wait to actually move in the fall.

    by Pat Boldt — May 30, 2018

  534. I love New Bern, NC. We retired and moved here May 1, 2017. We have really grown to love this place! Downtown is very beautiful and there is a park called Union point Park that we love to go to. Walk along the water or sit at a bench by the water. This town is so dog friendly. A lot of the stores downtown allow dogs to come in and also have water in a dish outside their stores for your dogs to drink. People are always walking through downtown. Everybody seems so friendly. We like going to this one restaurant downtown and sit outside. We brought our dogs one time and the waitress brought them both water to drink, just like their customers, too!

    by Debbie — May 30, 2018

  535. We moved inland 10 miles from Myrtle Beach October 2016 from upstate NY, the snowiest city in the US and love it. We were here three days before Hurricane Matthew and lost power for 3 days. With all the poles down, three days was a miracle, great job SC! The property taxes are incredibly low. One thing not previously mentioned was the tax base is not enough to support the growth in the schools. There is a annual luxury tax on cars, RVs that goes to support schools. About $300 a year on a new car. Previous post mentioned the low cost of gas, however, this year they started increasing the gas tax 2 cents a gallon each year for a few years. The funds will go to road improvements, expanding roads and paving some rural roads that are sand. There are only a few downsides for us; ultra conservative politics, no Wegmans, buying a very good steak in the supermarket is difficult, traffic when the beaches are busy, and high humidity. We and a few of our neighbors go North for the summer. If we had to do it again, yes we would.

    by Sharon Patchett — May 30, 2018

  536. Trying to narrow our search down with some more trips this summer.
    Marjie – we’re visiting the Coves in July. Looking forward to seeing if we like the a different lifestyle. We’re in a beach community now.
    Debbie – we’re coming back to New Bern in a couple weeks for another look. Not sure about housing options there but love the town. What beach do you go to and how long a drive is it?
    Anyone in Swansboro?

    by Dian — May 31, 2018

  537. Hi..is flood insurance required at the Dell Webb Sun City Hilton Head community…I am from MY and I am very concerned….THANK YOU

    by Joe — May 31, 2018

  538. My husband and I are nearing retirement in a few years. Currently live in a Boston suburb. Carolinas are an option, but fear the conservative politics in the south. We are a mixed race family and diversity matters a lot. Will probably go where our eldest daughter settles (she has the only grandchild so far). Her family is currently in an Atlanta, Georgia suburb but are looking at Charlotte, NC (which we like) or Florida (not a huge fan for year round living.) Brother winters in southern Florida January 1-April 1. Brother in law goes to Pompano Beach, FL Thanksgiving-May 1. (His daughter lives there year round.) If my daughter moves to Florida, we would winter down there and remain in New England the rest of the year since our other two daughters live in Massachusetts. Both my husband and I have Massachusetts state pensions as we were educators. We focus on tax laws in other states for fear of losing too much to taxes if we relocate to a different state. I would be interested in pursuing part time employment elsewhere. Did not see any mention about the employment opportunities in the Carolinas but that would matter to us. I use Indeed.com to see employment options for our job options.

    by Joanne Ragwar — May 31, 2018

  539. Regarding politics in the South, progressives may feel uncomfortable in many locations although that is changing, slowly, as more “migrants” arrive from the North and California. However, there are pockets in which you could feel right at home today, and most of them are centered in big university towns. Even in the heart of the deepest south, a place like Columbia (U of South Carolina) voted for Obama and Clinton. For example, Clinton garnered 64% of the vote in the 2016 election in Richland County, where Columbia is located. Voters in some other university towns, like Chapel Hill, NC, and Charlottesville, VA, also tilted strongly progressive. Durham County, NC, home to Duke University, went for Clinton in 2016 with a whopping 79% of the vote.

    by Larry Gavrich — June 1, 2018

  540. I can’t specifically advise about flood insurance in the Dell Webb Sun City Hilton Head community but here’s some general insurance info. If you’re near the coast (not just on the water) you will need wind and hail insurance, which is over and above your regular homeowners’ insurance. This is independent of your flood zone status. I think they use zip codes and counties, as well as other criteria to determine where it’s required. It’s a significant additional cost. Ours is currently an extra $2200 a year and we’re 4 miles from the NC coast. Something to factor in when you’re looking at overall cost of living for an area.

    by JudyM — June 1, 2018

  541. Dian – we have a couple small beaches here in New Bern that’s on the river, not on the coast. I have been to Atlantic Beach on Emerald Isle takes us an hour to get to there.its really nice. I know there are others that are a little closer. I thought someone told me the beach is about 30 mins away. I know at least you can get to them in less than an hour.

    by debrakiska19 — June 2, 2018

  542. My husband and I visited many communities in North Carolina and South Carolina while looking for the perfect spot for retirement last summer. Of course it was hot and sticky in South Carolina but we did love downtown Greenville, had a great time in Charleston, and ended up extending our stay in Savannah. North Carolina was experiencing perfect summer weather so it was easy to enjoy our time there. I enjoy walkable downtowns so New Bern was a favorite. We spent the 4th of July in Asheville so it was wild and crazy and fun. Chapel Hill was pretty, spent a few days with friends there and we ended up spending an afternoon on the UNC campus which was wonderful. We did spend time in many other towns in both states and our trip was worthwhile. What we found from the list of communities that we visited, both 55+ and all ages, is that they are in remote places and quite a drive to enjoy the amenities of the cities mentioned above. Some were not in walkable towns at all. The planned communities themselves were very nice with top notch amenities, but once we were out of the gates the area it was not what we wanted. We decided a development is not for us as we felt too isolated so it was a learning experience. Now we just have to decide between North Carolina or South Carolina in the near future and I think NC will be it, mainly due to weather, we are from New York so some snow doesn’t scare us, and we will rent in the chosen city for a year before we take the plunge.

    by Darla — June 2, 2018

  543. We have lived in Charlotte for 25 plus years. We have also owned second homes over that time in Fancey Gap VA, Little River SC, Sun Set Beach NC and Pinehurst NC. We are getting ready to retire soon and will live in Pinehurst full time. Pinehurst has a great selection of homes, low taxs, very little crime and of course great golf. And when you are not golfing there are always lots of other things to do.

    by Jim — June 3, 2018

  544. debrakiska19 and Admin – is there a way to communicate with someone on here with email or private message? I’d like to learn more about New Bern and where you settled. Thanks! Dian

    by Dian — June 3, 2018

  545. Dian
    You can email me at debrakiska19@gmail.com. I dont know about private messaging
    Debbie

    by debrakiska19 — June 3, 2018

  546. Joe, flood insurance may or may not be required by your mortgage broker, if you have a mortgage. We were required to have it our first year at a cost of under $500/year. The flood zones were re-drawn and we were able to drop it. You might want to keep it for piece of mind. We were here for Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Irma, 2017, and our 4 year old house was fine. Our streets on the northside of Sun City HH were fine. The drains handled the water though the lagoon behind our house was high and the bunker on the golf course was full of water.

    by Marjie — June 6, 2018

  547. I have spent time in North Carolina and I could see myself living there in the more urban locations. There is more and more diversity in the population and I really like that. I could never live in South Caroline because it is too conservative and too “Southern” for my liking. Racism is a concern for me.

    by Maimi — June 6, 2018

  548. We have been looking for a coastal retirement home for the last several years in either NC or SC. There were so many nice communities within ten minutes of the ocean in both states which made our decision very tough. We wanted to avoid being too close to heavy traffic but still wanted to be able to visit cultural areas and have good shopping not too far away. Finally, golfing availability was important. So, most recently we committed to building a home in the town of Oak Island, NC which is sandwiched between Wilmington to the north and Myrtle Beach to the south. Oak Island is a quiet coastal town (no high rises) but has 7,000 year round residents. I did not see any blogs above that even mentioned Oak Island as a destination. I’d be interested in hearing what experiences others may have regarding this town as a retirement destination. Thank you.

    George H.

    by gheil1973 — June 11, 2018

  549. George H, and gheil2973 – not sure who to reply to. We’ve lived on Oak Island over three years now and really love it. We visit friends in FL and have taken trips over the past year to various towns along the NC coast and nothing compares to OKI. Please email me for specific info. gosspr@yahoo.com Dian

    by Dian — June 12, 2018

  550. Joe – we live on an island near Beaufort SC. Our house is situated on land not requiring FEMA flood insurance. However, we do pay for coverage – less than $500 – for protection from flash flooding which may occur as a result of heavy rain. Days of tropical rain hits us more often than hurricanes. Wise advice that we received from long time residents of our island. Check with your neighbors in your location. Good luck!

    by SandyZ — June 13, 2018

  551. dear Joanne Ragwar,
    Hello. Just wanted to let you know that i have close friends, living in Greeneville, Tennessee. They are politically conservative, as is the area. However, regarding the race issue – there hasn’t been any. They are pretty much part of the heartbeat of the town. Accepted, included, and valued for the people they are! All four kids married a person who looks like a different color from them on the outside. No problems at all! One formerly bigoted old timer changed his beliefs and attitudes when a young man of a darker skin color married his grand daughter. He loves this grandson-in law, and now his great grandchildren through this couple; and no longer expresses attitudes of racial inequality as his experience has changed him. It’s been all good!

    by ella — June 14, 2018

  552. Sandy, just curious if your insurance for flash flooding is year-round or coverage is strictly limited. My impression is that flood insurance is typically a lot more expensive.
    Thanks!
    P.S. We are seriously considering a retirement move to a coastal area, and associated insurance cost will be an issue.

    by Dan Dawdy — June 14, 2018

  553. I haven’t seen a lot of discussion on tap water quality.
    When we’ve vacationed (many places in the southeast) we had to resort to getting our drinking water from the the supermarket because the tap water where we stayed was distasteful. Depending on location, and I’m sure this varies, is in home water treatment necessary? Available, good well-water?
    Thanks in advance!

    by Dan Dawdy — June 14, 2018

  554. Dan,
    The water situation can vary. In Mt Pleasant & surrounding areas depending on where you live generally the water is reverse osmosis The strong sulfur content from wells is off putting. We put in a water treatment system that neutralized our sulfur well water. About $4000.00. Tucked into the garage,with little maintenance. Other folks have put in reverse osmosis.
    Our flood insurance btw was not an absolute necessity but ran about $300 per year. We were not in a flood zone though about a mile from one of the main rivers. As there was so much new construction going on we were worried the topography might change and direct water toward us. This has been happening in the area.

    by C — June 15, 2018

  555. George,
    I, too, have a home in Oak Island although I do not live there full-time. I love the island. The beach is beautiful and not crowded in the summer. It’s also dog friendly which is nice for us. There are several small restaurants I really enjoy. And one of the best things is having the small city of Southport less than ten miles away. It’s like getting two very different towns basically in one location.
    There is so much new building going on there. It seems more retirees are headed there. I’m also surprised this adorable little town doesn’t get more attention. I hope you love it as much as I do! You can contact me at mockingbirdjlp@yahoo.com.

    by Jan — June 16, 2018

  556. Dan – our flood insurance is a once a year premium. We have our home insured through UPC and the annual premium is about $1600.00 including wind and hail. The FEMA flood insurance policy is separate but also annual and is about $450.00. Several years ago Hurricane Matthew dealt our island a tremendous blow, and although our property did not sustain damage, many of our neighbors were grateful for both types of policies! And yes, this is probably twice+ as expensive as our previous home in Maine, but the total cost to live in the Southeast during retirement is a HUGE win for us. Plus we get to play golf and enjoy beach walks in January here! Good luck and definitely stop in an insurance office during your final decision process.

    by SandyZ — June 17, 2018

  557. SandyZ- Thanks for the information you posted regarding home owners and flood insurance. To help put your numbers into context would you mind sharing what the approximate value of your home is? As my wife and I are considering moving to the same general area as you knowing that I would be able to guessimate what my insurance would run.
    Thanks again!

    by gssmithusn — June 18, 2018

  558. Jan and Dian: Thanks so much for your feedback regarding retirement living on Oak Island, NC. It definitely makes us feel more comfortable that we made the right choice and we are really looking forward to our upcoming move there. Although I have not been a fisherman, I plan to adopt this activity as it appears fishing is a mainstay on this Island. I also was wondering if there are nice places to do some kayaking. I read that there are alligators on this Island and was curious if this was a concern to kayaking. We plan to get a golf cart and do biking as well and begin enjoying all that this area offers including Southport as Jan mentioned. I’m excited!

    George H.

    by gheil1973 — June 18, 2018

  559. Not to throw cold water on the idea how great Oak Island is but remember, it is in the middle of nowhere. If you like being on the beach or golfing, great, but it is a long way to shopping in either Wilmington or the Myrtle Beach area. Southport is not a “city” but a small town which offers just that, small town services. I live in Wilmington and personally would not live on Oak Island but that is just me.

    by Nitneylion — June 19, 2018

  560. Nitneylion – We went to a wonderful restaurant on the Riverwalk in Wilmington for Fathers Day – it took us 35 min! We’ve lived in many large cities and it took longer than that to go a few blocks with traffic. Stay where you are though, we love our beach and Southport. Wonderful restaurants and shops and anywhere in Wilmington in 34-45 min. Living the good life on Oak Island! Dian

    by Dian Goss — June 20, 2018

  561. Everyone has different preferences and priorities. When we were looking at different areas to retire I found Google Maps to be a great resource. It helped clarify how far it was (and how long it would take to drive) to things like hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, Costco, or whatever. Only you know what your tolerance is when you need to make a quick drive to the grocery for something, or how nearby you need medical services to be available.

    by JudyM — June 20, 2018

  562. Gsssmithsun – we have our home insured for 300,000 – hope that helps. Also, if you have no mortgage as we don’t you can pick the amount of insurance and if you want Flood insurance or not. Hope that helps.

    by Sandy Z. — June 20, 2018

  563. Nitneylion and Dian—I’m thankful to hear about leaking fracking ponds, CAFOs, lumber mills, dearth of nearby shopping or medical services, horrendous traffic, political bullying, flood plains, etc when considering an expensive move. If I want just fantasy, I’d live in Disneyworld.

    by Daryl — June 20, 2018

  564. I just want to say how very useful this blog is for us. The first hand comments are extremely helpful and insightful.

    by DanD — June 20, 2018

  565. Daryl – have NO idea what you’re referring to. I live on Oak Island NC – no political bullying, lumber mills, horrendous traffic, dearth of anything. Of course there’s some flood areas – we’re coastal. Very confused as to your comments. Dian

    by Dian — June 21, 2018

  566. Dian—I meant everywhere, not just Oak Island. Have eliminated a lot of locations from my potential move-to list thanks to people pointing out the cons, not just emphasizing the pros. It all helps.

    by Daryl — June 21, 2018

  567. To keep from straying away from North and South Carolina, Janet’s question about retiring in Texas was moved to this Blog:
    Dueling Retirement States: Sun and Lower Cost of Living on the Gulf Coast
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/dueling-retirement-states-what-its-like-to-retire-on-the-gulf-coast.html/

    by Admin — June 22, 2018

  568. I am guessing Nitneylion may not be retired yet and still has to work. Hence, Wilmington is a great place to live as most accommodations are close by, albeit a busy area. Probably has no time to travel 35 minutes for a Costco, etc. Beaching, golf, and living in a quiet area are big for me in retirement. Grocery stores are close as well, and plenty of time for trips to Costco. Just depends on what floats your boat. Can’t wait to get there (August).

    George

    by gheil1973 — July 7, 2018

  569. gheil1973

    …I have been retired for 18 years and have no problem traveling to shop. I live in Wilmington and it takes me 15 minutes to get to Costco so your 35 minute estimate to get there from Oak Island is way off. Enjoy your solitude….

    by Nitneylion — July 8, 2018

  570. For several years, as my wife and I have struggled over where to move in retirement, Wilmington has been near the top of my list. Recently, my wife has focused on crime rates as a critical decision criteria. Knowing some sections in or near a major hub like Wilmington will be good while others bad. Our problem with the stats is how to keep them in the proper prospective. Is life in the Wilmington as risky as the stats suggest?

    by Dan Dawdy — July 8, 2018

  571. Thank you Mr. Penn Stater, I stand corrected on travel time. Sounds like Wilmington works for you in retirement and clearly you have experience. Not a bad choice for settling down after working years. I’m excited about Oak Island, but plan to visit Wilmington at my leisure. Take care.

    George

    by gheil1973 — July 9, 2018

  572. My husband and I are still interested in a place outside of Lancaster, SC called Edgewater. For years we have been monitoring this community that has a fabulous golf course and the homes are built around a nice lake. However, homes don’t seem to be selling very fast. We have been through several model homes that are specifically targeted for 55+ age group that are lovely. But we’ve also seen price drops on some nice-looking homes. We wonder why-it’s not far from Charlotte, NC (although it’s pretty far into the boonies), which has a hot real estate market. I’m not counting on the real estate agent to tell us anything if they are trying to sell homes there. I would love any more feeback from you.

    by scsharks — July 9, 2018

  573. So we’ve decided Fort Mill SC is too far from the ocean (although a very nice place) and have zoned in on the Myrtle Beach area. Is being on the other side of the intercoastal waterway a good choice for a home? I’m told it has no chance of flooding west of it. Conway? Little River? Forestbrook? On a golf course, non 55plus, and new construction is ideal. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    by Tom — July 27, 2018

  574. The MB area, AKA The Grand Strand is booming with new construction and most is west of the intercoastal. Any new construction on a golf course wont be what you have in mind, it will literally be ON a golf course – as in the golf course is gone and they are building on it! (a number of courses were sold to developers in the past few years) We lived in MB (development in the Forestbrook area) for over a year and loved the weather, loved the discounts on many golf courses SC residents get, loved the people we met and loved the state parks. But there was a lot we weren’t crazy about so we move to Pa and will def consider going to the MB area in the winter. If you havent been to the area, go visit and explore! There are a few towns between North MB to Georgetown and each is worth a look. The areas like Forestbrook and Carolina Forest are unincorporated areas of Horry County and only have county govt. To me, there was a sort of Wild West vibe – one of the reasons we left. If we were going to buy there (which we most def are NOT) I would look in the North Myrtle Beach/Little River areas. Also, def consider renting a living there for a year or so before you buy. And, as a friend told be, as soon as you get there call around and find a dr., you will probably have to wait for months to get your first appt. Oh, ad before you buy in a new development, CAREFULLY vet the developer and carefully read the documents, and maybe consider getting just the basic trim and hiring your own contractor to complete the work you want.

    by Tom — July 28, 2018

  575. One other thing Tom, Be open minded about 55+ communities. In the 55+ place we rented, many of the neighbors (all transplants) moved there after living in mixed age communities in the area.

    by jean — July 28, 2018

  576. Tom, Conway has a river flowing through it and has had some serious flooding issues near the river in the past. In general though, your thought of being on the other side of the intercoastal waterway is sound. There are many developments which meet your ideal. Get a good realtor and go from there.
    One thing anyone moving to Myrtle Beach should check into is availability of Primary Care Physicians. Just read an article that the Myrtle Beach has a shortage of them. Google primary care physician shortage in Myrtle Beach. One of the tv stations has an interesting story on it. I think it is a nationwide problem though not just in Myrtle Beach.

    by Dick — July 28, 2018

  577. May sound silly, but mosquitoes are a concern for me having lived in Florida. I know the coastal areas somehow have a better situation because of the coastal breezes but what about the other towns in North and South Carolina?

    by Pam Eileen — July 29, 2018

  578. Hello, And thanks to all for contributions re: retirement in NC. I have finally planned a trip next month to get acquainted with the Asheville area…not IN the town (too busy, too pricey) but somewhere in the hinterlands.
    I have spoken with two RE companies which keep steering me towards subdivisions and adult communities when I have clearly said that’s not what I want.
    Looking for privacy, great view, simple log cabin with skylights, small and cozy. Going solo.
    Any suggestions?

    by Kay — August 1, 2018

  579. Kay
    We just moved to Hendersonville in May, and are very happy with our decision. People are very friendly and there are many transplants like ourselves. We got the place that’s very quiet and with a view (yet not too isolated)! Henderson County is not as expensive as Asheville, but is close to everything there is to do from Asheville (north) to Greenville, SC (south) to Brevard (west). I needed to be close to an airport (Asheville). Anyway, we were relocating from the Midwest (long distance search) and engaged a realtor who I feel really partnered with us. I am not sure if I can mention his name here, but I will and then ask for forgiveness later. His name is Andrew Murkens. You can just Google him. Good luck.

    by Keith — August 2, 2018

  580. Kay, While you’re in NC, drive a few miles west and take a look at East Tennessee.

    by Jean — August 2, 2018

  581. Kay I agree with Jean. Tennessee has advantages for retirees with the same lovely mountain views you desire.
    Let us know how it works out.

    by Jennifer Lee — August 2, 2018

  582. I would suggest looking in Black Mountain. It is less than 15 miles from downtown Asheville. Lots of modest single family homes. There are a few smaller planned communities in the area. There are nice community amenities i. e. pool, library, Saturday Farmer’s Market.

    by Amy — August 2, 2018

  583. Kay, if you are looking to stay around the Asheville “area”, in addition to Black Mountain previously mentioned, Weaverville is s small but pleasant community about 10 miles from Asheville. Farther(30-40 minutes) you might check Hendersonville, or my town, Waynesville. Hard to give specific advice without knowing your exact desires, but one thing we’ve come to realize: pay attention to altitude! You might not want to look higher than 3 to 3500 feet unless you wish to be shut-in or not accessible during the winter. Many folks round here head to Florida if they live above 4000.

    by Doc Stickel — August 2, 2018

  584. J & J–thanks for the tip on East TN. Didn’t think of that and I am not tied to NC.
    Amy–Black Mtn. does look intriguing.
    Doc–Great tip about altitude! Being from Chicago, I am not afraid of snow, but not being accessible or shut in does not sound good to me!
    from Kay

    by Kay — August 2, 2018

  585. Have done some more on-line searches and have been sent some properties to look at in the
    Asheville area. So I have a few more questions, if anyone is ready to tackle them!
    What are these communities like to live in?
    Bostic, Old Fort, Lake Lure
    I am concerned about floodplains or water issues and heard that Lake Lure has had some problems along
    those lines.
    Any thoughts?

    by Kay — August 6, 2018

  586. Kay, ,One way to sort of get a feel for an area is to start following the local news for the area. Most newspapers and local TV news stations have websites you can read daily. Just google the town or city and “newspaper” or just the work news. Check the news everyday, you never know that interesting tidbits pop up 🙂

    by Jean — August 7, 2018

  587. Thanks, Jean. I’m on it! Watched a you-tube video yesterday about the French Broad River.
    Searching for those tidbits!

    by Kay — August 8, 2018

  588. I have live in NC, Charlotte for 23 years and am considering moving to SC for retirement. NC is great for retirement also however the tax bite in Mecklenburg County is heavy, so if looking at NC consider the area.

    by Loren — August 8, 2018

  589. I bought a home in northeastern NC to retire to this year (2018). I can tell you property taxes on the sound water vs my lake in Michigan are a drastic reduction, $9000 in MI vs $2000 in NC for almost the same size home. NC has a bigger lot. Car insurance will be less than 1/2 of what I pay in MI. Homeowners insurance will be a lot higher due to needing hurricane insurance. Only issue I have will be medical. Two hospitals are not real close and third will be in Chesapeake VA. Once down there I will see how I like it and if the medical worries me I may look at a more populated area farther south but still close to the ocean.

    by Sue — August 19, 2018

  590. We are considering St James Plantation in Southport NC. Anyone have thought or information to share about the community.

    by Nannette holmes — August 23, 2018

  591. Hi Nanette
    If you go to the Topretirements.com website you’ll see Search Retirement Towns by State. St James Plantation is listed under Southport North Carolina along with several 55+ communities. You can also use the search bar to look for any articles in which St James Plantation is mentioned. I visited there last year and wrote an article about it. You’ll see it listed if you scroll down on the Google Search.
    You may also want to post your question on the Forum under North Carolina. You can find it in the drop down menu.
    Hope this helps!
    Flo

    by Moderator Flo — August 24, 2018

  592. Go to City-Data.com/forum, Click on North Carolina Coastal and you will see a huge discussion about St. James.

    My understanding is it’s beautiful but expensive and they are having some flooding issues; I don’t know if they are serious or not, but it’s worth reading.

    by Gail M — August 24, 2018

  593. I just read an article which noted that NC passed a law in 2011 which forced the state agencies to use old flood maps for allowing new building, so a lot of the newer developments may be more vulnerable than the new owners suspect. (It said that the law was pushed by real estate developers, as expected I guess)
    Anyway, I’m not sure that I’ve come across this in my research and I’ve done quite a bit. So while this is a warning to me, I really feel sick for those who just may loose everything.

    by shumidog — September 12, 2018

  594. Hi Shumidog was suppose to be in Wilmington, NC where my cousin lives to choose a house to move to in the coming year. Well it looks like my plans are cancelled and I am praying my cousin and everyone in harms way remains safe. Will report back when this storm is over.

    by Ginger — September 13, 2018

  595. Hurricane Florence highlights a concern for all coastal areas. When we were in SC we set the GPS to show elevation and were quite surprise to see many built up areas and new developments were -10 or more BELOW sea level! Regardless of flood zone maps being below sea level sounds like a flood prone area to me (other than Death Valley, of course 😉

    by Jean — September 14, 2018

  596. If you’re going to live on or near (100-200 miles inland) the Atlantic coast, you’re going to need to understand that hurricanes are a risk. They can easily affect the entirety of any state that has a coast, sometimes further. There’s wind, rain and related flooding. Often the worst flooding can be way inland. So, in buying, it would be advisable to determine the most you can about past or possible flooding of the lot/residence you plan to move into. And how much prep, and physical work, does it take to get your place ready for a hurricane. And, probably most important of all, have an evacuation plan ready, so that in any given case, you can get out of harm’s way in a safe and timely manner. The chances of a devastating hurricane hitting your exact place are still fairly minimal, but buying requires a complete understanding of weather/geographical risks, no matter where you are thinking of locating.

    by Clyde — September 15, 2018

  597. WOW! We just went to New Bern, Beaufort, Atlantic Beach, and Southport to look for retirement homes. Of course when we went it was sunny and gorgeous. When we left, we were 90% sure we would retire there – now, we are doubtful that will happen. This storm and flooding has scared us enough to reconsider our plans. God bless and protect those who are down there.

    by Liz — September 15, 2018

  598. We moved Bubbajog’s comment concerning natural disasters to a different Blog-The Worst Places to Retire: Weather and Natural Disasters:
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/the-worst-places-to-retire-weather-and-natural-disasters.html/

    by Jane at Topretirements — September 15, 2018

  599. I must say I appreciate the diversity of comments as there is much truth and value to them all. That said as a new retiree, currently renting in North Myrtle Beach, I would like to offer the following:

    Do your homework, but realize until you move you will never truly know. Just think about where you are now, what do you like and not like. How has that changed from when you first started out and now, possibly 30-50 years later. The area changed, you changed.

    You are looking for something different; weather, taxes, slower pace, etc. With every we love it here, there will be those things you don’t because you bring your personality, experiences, and prejudices with you. That can be traffic, health care, slow service, poor signage, etc. As an example, we love it here overall, but I personally get annoyed with tourists that drive like they are back home and rushing to work. You are on vacation, slow down, you are supposedly here to destress and enjoy. Why rush/stress getting to that prime beach spot, golf course, show or festival. You should enjoy every minute of your stay. Actually, you should have left that stress and need to rush at home.

    We’re renting as we immediately found there are wonderful areas throughout the Grand Strand, so we have to decide which part of the Strand we want to live. We are drawn to North Myrtle, but there so many things the other areas that we like and thus must drive to, which can be a 45 minute drive that particular store, activity, or dinner. But hey, aren’t you retired, what time you have left is yours to enjoy, not stress.

    Have just lived through Hurricanes Florence and Michael, we learned a lot. Evacuate early, don’t rush back, and expect the trip back to take twice as long as the drive out. And especially, flooding, power loss, and unsafe drinking water can extend the ‘back to normal’. We have also made adjustments to our home search as a result of the experience.

    We have already found in our one year here that there are many, many wonderful locales in both North and South Carolina from beach to mountain and all are only a few hours away; but don’t rush to them, enjoy the journey.

    Good hunting.

    by Ron — October 15, 2018

  600. Hi all,
    Give me the low down (low country) on best plantations to eventually buy in on HHI. Thinking broadly in terms of overall – quality of life, value for cost etc. We not huge on golf and club house amenities and may want a small pool at the house. Sea Pines we kind of rule out as too far down the island, Bluffton – nah, why if you can have the beach. I do mountain biking. We do not mind tourists – they are having fun etc.

    by Brian — October 16, 2018

  601. Ron, This is one of your very best posts! Thanks! We’ve been retired for 15 years now and your very personal perspective on finding the right place is refreshing. Not once did you mention cost, taxes, facilities, and all the other things that clearly you also are considering. But you show that you’re looking for a place that’s right for you first. You state that you’re renting long term so that you can experience and explore. You even describe the only possible way to deal with hurricanes (or other natural disasters) — understand that “stuff” happens, know your environment and be aware that it takes time to recover. Stress is definitely all about how we perceive things, but your thoughts are especially relevant to the search and the ability to enjoy. Good luck with your final decision!

    by RichPB — October 16, 2018

  602. I love Ron’s comment on N/S Carolina, his approach is well said. Everyone is in a rush – isn’t that why most of us retired to get out of the stress of work, the fast pace of everyday living we wanted to enjoy whatever time we have left. Need to be somewhere, leave earlier! My husband & I would travel to Maine every year after things quieted down usually middle of Sept. we seldom did interstate but rather took secondary roads through the town etc. We wanted to enjoy whatever, be able to stop if something caught our interest – we found lots of places we would never of seen if we’d stayed in that ‘rush’ mode. We thought a lot about leaving the cold long winters of New England but every place has its good/bad things you just need to decide what is most important. And I think you need to spend a fair amount of time in that new ‘test’ place savoring what you like what you don’t, is it where you want to buy or maybe just rent & move on! Life is a journey enjoy every moment of it, in the end you can’t go back & do it over!
    Good luck Ron!

    by Susan L Morrison — October 16, 2018

  603. We moved PamE’s comment concerning hurricanes to a different Blog for more discussion:

    Retire in an Area Prone to Hurricanes ?
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/real-estate/retire-in-an-area-prone-to-hurricanes.html/

    by Jane at Topretirements — October 17, 2018

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