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Your Best Place to Retire Might be…. a Rental

Category: Retirement Real Estate

July 9, 2013 — We continue our series of reader suggested articles with today’s installment on renting in retirement. First we will explore the pros and cons of buying vs. renting, then we’ll share some tips and techniques for find your best place to retire rental. We hope you enjoy the article, and look forward to your Comments below.

We Americans seem to have been collectively brainwashed when it comes to the belief that home ownership is a cardinal virtue. For sure, owning your home can make a lot of sense. But the truth is, renting a home, particularly for the winter, is often a much better idea for many people’s situations. We buy houses in Seattle and flip them on a monthly basis – so we’re kind of experts in the field. Let’s start off with some tips from us by comparing some of the advantages of renting a home vs. buying your place to retire:

Pros of Home Ownership:
Tax deductions. Uncle Sam helps home buyers fund their purchases with generous deductions for property taxes and interest payments
Pride of ownership. You can fix up and decorate your place however you want – at least on the inside
Low cost borrowing. Home mortgage rates are still at historical lows, in spite of recent increases
Appreciation. You have the possibility that the value of your home might appreciate
Peace of mind: You know where you are going to live next season. No need to scramble to find a new rental every year, and then either move all your stuff into it, or use somebody else’s
Fewer restrictions. Many communities, particularly active adult communities, are very restrictive about renters with pets, and about which and when renters can use common facilities like golf courses, tennis courts, and other amenities.

Pros of Renting
Flexibility. If there is a natural disaster, your Home Owners Association gets crazy, the builder goes bankrupt, or it turns out you just don’t like your neighbors – you can just walk away

Freedom. You are not locked into one community. If the grass looks greener, move on over
Lower costs. Renting can be cheaper than owning in some communities
Less worry. As you age or your health gets worse, renting means fewer commitments to unravel
No capital required. Sometimes the only option if your savings are low, or you prefer not to tie them up in real estate.

How can you find a good rental?
This is one of the most persistent, and most challenging questions we get at Topretirements. There is no silver bullet for finding one; you will have to invest some time and energy to find a good rental. Here is our accumulated wisdom on the topic.

There are many low cost living options – it is possible to spend the winter in Florida or other warm state and pay a very low rent. If you plan on renting permanently, there are any number of communities where you can get yearly rentals as well.
– Use Topretirements as your starting point (use Advanced Search and check the “Rental” box in the 55+ communities section). We did this search recently and found 409 communities that claim to offer rentals.

The Moorings offers upscale rentals in Vero Beach

– If a particular community you see at Topretirements or you have heard about elsewhere interests you, contact them directly. Use their website Contact Us link or just call them and ask about rentals.

– Do you have a friend who lives in a town or active community that interests you? This is usually the best source – have them ask around, look on bulletin boards, or even post a sign for you on a bulletin board or community media outlet.

– is great for finding places to rent, as is, Craigslist and other ‘rent through owners’ websites. Just be careful about scams and spammers at Craigslist – never make your email public there. And don’t send money to anyone without some due diligence.

– You can use a general Search Engine like Google. Put in phrases like “January rental in (name of city)” and see what you get.

– Exercise some caution. A skilled photographer can make the worst place look pretty good. Look for comments that indicate problems. Is the price too good to be true? Are the restrictions too severe… or not mentioned? Can they give you references? Don’t send anyone money without doing some checking. Your best bet is to visit the place you want to rent before you commit, or have a friend do it for you. But remember that places will be different in summer or winter – busier, hotter, or less crowded.

– After you rent the first time it will get easier. If you like where you rented, you can probably book it in advance for the next season or lease term. Or, you can look around while you are there to find a better place for the next year.

– Book early. The best places get snapped up early. If you wait too long you might miss out.

Some rental examples
Sandy, a Topretirements member, shared her ideas a few years ago on how to find an inexpensive rental for the winter. Here’s what she said: “The Village of Casa Del Sol” in Haines City, FL provides a single unit trailer with or without a same size screened porch that you can lease for a year, and for any subsequent years. You don’t pay a monthly maintenance fee when you are not there, nor electricity or cable bills, unless you choose to keep those utilities running while you are up north. You might pay around $5000 a year for one of these.

The Villages in Florida has many rental options since it is so big and well known (80,000 residents or so). You can contact the developer, or look online for The Villages rentals by owners. is mentioned as a great resource – it represents owners looking to rent their properties. In the high season (Jan-March) a home in The Villages will rent for at least $4,000 a month.

Further Reading:
Buy, Rent, or Stay
Sandy’s Adventures Part II: How Anyone Can Find an Affordable Warm Winter Rental

Comments? We know many of our members are definitely interested in renting, while others like owning real estate. What do you think about renting vs. owning – what is the best decision right now? Tell us about your experiences renting – how did you find your place, and what were some of the pitfalls you experienced. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on July 8th, 2013


  1. Scammers are on every website for vacation rentals, with a big issue being hijacked emails diverting your communications and payments to unauthorized hands. Make sure to call the number on the listing in addition to email, and when possible pay through the website, (VRBO and Homeaway offer this,) or use your credit card. Credit card purchases should be reimbursed for fraudulent charges.

    That said, we’ve rented through VRBO and Homeaway multiple times a year for the past 13 years, just leaving a rental yesterday. We avoid hotels for vacation.

    by Julie — July 10, 2013

  2. One big problem with permanently renting one place is the upward creep in rent. I was in one fairly nice apartment (not yet retired) where the rent went from 695/month to 900+ over a span of three years.

    by bej — July 10, 2013

  3. fyi… just returned from a visit to The Villages and the population is now over 100K and growing VERY fast. Currently the 11th largest city in Florida.

    by Roger — July 10, 2013

  4. All things considered; I will never again live under some other man’s roof. I’ve owned 3 homes in my life, renting in between and I vowed to never rent again. When I move to my forever home I will buy again in an area that does not have an HOA. My Uncle and Aunt rented an apartment in Honolulu for over 40 years. One day they received an eviction notice giving them 2 weeks to move as the building was being demolished for high end condos. It killed my Uncle. No way am I ever renting again.

    by Mike Crognale — July 10, 2013

  5. Anybody know where snowbirds might be looking for a private room and bath to rent? I am about to rent out two rooms in my house in Florida and VRBO and Homeaway seem to be rental of the full house. Anybody tried


    by Pam — July 10, 2013

  6. Here’s what we are going to do. We are selling our current home. When we get to where we want to live we will rent briefly while we find our new home. At that point we’ll put maybe 50 to 100k down on the house. Then the remainder of our days will be spent in a home that we picked out for ourselves. No renters woes. No need to move, etc., We’ll have the roots we need in our home. When we pass on the property can be left to our kids and they can sell if they want. As far as mortgages ? We won’t live to pay it off so why not just get a mortgage for as extended as you can and have low monthly payments ? I’d like to think this is sound but who knows what lenders will be doing in the next 3 years. Thanks !

    by Mike T — July 10, 2013

  7. I have been a renter all my life, and am now in my late 50’s. I do some gardening, and some outside repairs. I pay for water, garbage, and city services, on top of rent and unilities. I would love to not pay rent, but buy, and pay in full in an “over 55” community. I would still have to do all the above, in addition to paying for home repairs, and HOA fees. On the upside, the owners of my rental house have not increased my rent for all the years I have been here (5 years). They have been gracious about what my needs/wants are and recently came over and thanked me for taking care of their/my house. I will keep renting until I cannot do the maintenance of the garden, and outside of the house. I am also allowed to keep my 2 dogs. I have the best of both worlds.

    by Irene — July 10, 2013

  8. I would love to rent before buying for a number of reasons. The question is, what do you do with your belongings in the interim. Of course I am aware of storage units, but have heard horror stories.
    This is where the saying “trappings” comes from. To think that I may purchase a house because I don’t know what do do with my things is really silly to say the least. I don’t even mean large furniture most of that wont be coming with us anyway. I think it is always smart to rent and explore an area before purchase. Do you just keep dragging your things around? I guess you have to

    by j&J — July 10, 2013

  9. That is the dilemma we are faced with – what to do with our things while renting and how to find an affordable furnished rental – certainly don’t want to be moving belongings from up north down south to a rental and then again to a home

    by Susan — July 10, 2013

  10. Pam,
    I’ve used AirBnB to rent several times (a room in a home and a whole house) and if I ever decide to rent out our mother-in-law apartment, that is what I will use.

    by Sheila — July 10, 2013

  11. I want to get out from under all of the expense of being a homeowner. Every year I have had to pay out $10,000 – $20,000 for maintenance and repairs – new roof, neighbor’s tree fell and crushed my fence, new garage door(old one fell off), new heat and air system, 3 months after the heat and air was installed, a power surge bypassed the surge protection and fried it so even though almost new, insurance only paid a small portion and I had to pay the rest for a new replacement, foundation had to be raised – twice, yard maintenance, house needs painting….. I could go on and on. The emergency money fund is running out. I would rather be renting in a retirement complex where I didn’t have to continually worry about another major expense payout. My only problem is finding a complex that will accept me. You either have to be poor (less than $29K income a year for 2, and $27K for 1) to rent an income restricted apartment for $1,200 a month or rich to afford $4,000 a month or more for an unrestricted apartment. I’ve seen some beautiful complexes I’d be happy in until they ask my income. SS and pension are over their limit so I’m not welcome. I haven’t found anything in between. Don’t know how much longer I can hang in here with the house and unsure where I will go.:cry:

    by Texas Jo — July 10, 2013

  12. Mike T: we have friends who moved to NC with your exact plans -sell the big house up north, take out a moderate mortgage in NC and invest most of the proceeds from their sale of house. Makes sense if your investments earn a higher rate than the low mortgage rate. BUT – the roadblock was that banks and mortgage companies are very reluctant to loan to retired buyers , even with very large retirement savings accounts as collateral…as always, buyer beware.

    by SandyT — July 11, 2013

  13. To Texas Jo:
    I live in a Dallas suburb called Plano. About 12 miles from here in Fairview, near McKinney and Allen, there is a retirement neighborhood called Heritage Ranch. You could rent in there for $1200 a month or very close to that.If you are interested in Florida, in Kissimmee, a great retirement neighborhood called Solivita, is well within your range. We rented there and it is a great place with a lot of amenities.
    Hope this helps.

    by Nikki — July 11, 2013

  14. There are many retirement communities, namely Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), that combine the best of the rent/own choices. Often, there is an up-front entry fee (can be as low as $20,000 and as high as the sky). Some CCRCs’ entry fees are non-refundable but most have refundable options as well. You live in the home you choose and do whatever you want in terms of decorating, upgrades, etc. The maintenance is the community’s responsibility as is the lawn care. Additionally, there is health care on site when and if a member needs it.

    by Mary — July 11, 2013

  15. To Pam,
    We used AirBnb for a rental in Puerto Vallarte and just resrved one in Toronto, Canada. Very satisfied. Your prepay money goes to them, rather than the owner, and they hold it until the day after you move in. The owner of the Toronto property said they give him a chance to review the renters after they stay.

    by Robin — July 14, 2013

  16. I am 64 and single so safety is also a factor. 16 months ago I moved to Sarasota (Great location!) from Ohio. Spent 1 month living in a motel (bargained with management for long term rate) while searching for a rental. Most larger cities have rental management companies which offer assistance to both the seekers and the homeowners. Besides all the other sources listed in this blog, don’t forget newspaper ads! Not all landlords are techy. Think outside of the box — I found a very spacious, well appointed, fully furnished mobile home (2b/2b) with lanai and carport in community with Jr Olympic sized heated swimming pool plus other ammenities for $700/mo + partial utilities; only 15 minutes from Lido Beach! I’ve been here 15 months as I familiarize myself with the region. This has been a perfect arrangement with one exception — it is 55+ with limitations on visitors (including family). AND I discovered I prefer the enrichment of interacting with younger people vs those spiraling toward the end, set in life patterns, intent on status quo, and stuck in the past. I’m mentally and physically active – love discovery, stimulation, new adventures, staying out after 8:00pm, with interest in local gossip. So I warn others to carefully research not only your next physical setting, but also the mindset and attitude of the immediate surroundings. If you have funds for significant downpayment, purchasing can be far cheaper than high season rentals … and renting out your home can be an option (though not without its issues, too.) Bottom line — it takes time and effort to find the next perfect situation which is always dictated by your personal conditions. This past year has convinced me to reconsider being a Snow Bird, benefits = returning north for time with family yet wintering in the south vs total relocation. However, most likely this means finding a rental in an apartment/condo setting as homeowners typically want to be here the same months I will want to be. Homeownership? I worry about maintenance during my absences (intrinsic to any location). There is no PERFECT answer, but I’m confident I’ll find a comfortable and reasonable resolution so I can enjoy my senior years in Paradise. Best wishes to all others trying to do the same.
    P.S. I find the info on this site to be very helpful. Keep it coming! Thanks.

    by Barb T — July 16, 2013

  17. Oops! Should have edited before posting (spelling) and meant to say:
    “with NO interest in local gossip” (this being a huge factor in close living settings)

    by Barb T — July 16, 2013

  18. Thanks Barb, and everyone else for sharing. This blog is so helpful especially when specifics are given. I am new to the retirement world and trying to figure it all out.

    by Karla — July 17, 2013

  19. I noted the comment about the HI renters losing their lease. That’s a big concern for me. If you’re not living in an area with rent-control and renter protections, your tenancy is only guaranteed for the term of a lease. You’re always at risk of eviction or rent increases. That’s fine if you don’t mind moving when necessary, but it’s hard on people who want to put down roots. Of course, even homeowners can find their taxes or other costs increasing more than expected, but it’s a little more predictable. Renters also don’t have as much control over personalizing their own home. It’s a tough call and one answer may not fit for every year of retirement. Barb raised some very good issues that need to be weighed.

    by Sharon — July 17, 2013

  20. Barb T: Thanks for your post. Sarasota is high on my list. I, also, don’t want a 55+ community. I like having different age groups around…keeps you young and vital! You should also check out Craig’s List for rentals.

    by Stacey — July 17, 2013

  21. I would like to hear about a ccrc that has a $20k buy in or even $50k. Everything we have found has been over 150k. We don’t have that kind of money, but we do have a large age difference and are concerned about what will happen to me if my husband goes first ( he’s 9 years older) and I am left alone just at the time I will most likely need assistance.

    by Nfoote — July 21, 2013

  22. I am not sure if others would be interested in my idea of finding a place to retire. I would like to move to a city for 6 mos to a year then move again for another 6 mos to a year so i could try out different cities. I am a single woman so I can’t move all my furniture that often. I would like to hear others opinions if they think it could work and what suggestions they could offer to accomplish my plan. Of course I would have to store some of my things and plan on moving without furniture until I find my permanent home. One idea I have is renting furniture for the places I intend to try out. Another is just renting a room in various cities but I have a cat and dog so this might be harder to do. I am thinking I could put most of my belongings in storage then arrange to get them once I make my decision. I know this sounds far fetched but I am just thinking could it work?
    Thank you

    by Louann — November 8, 2014

  23. Hi Louann:

    Your idea may work if you can find a furnished apartment, Maybe an efficiency would work? Than way you are not spending tons of money on rent. Your pets may make the search more difficult. Rentals can be hard to find that will accept pets. Good Luck. I am also interested in what others on the forum will contribute to this topic.

    by Jennifer — November 9, 2014

  24. Hi Louann, you must have a very special cat if you think it would do well moving every six months. I’ve owned cats for 30 years and have never had one that wasn’t really spooked by moving, and taking several weeks to feel comfortable in new surroundings. (We’ve moved households six times in our life, and are contemplating another move — this time out of state — and I am worried about my 13 and 15-year old cats.) In at least one case, the stress of the move precipitated a recurring medical event. But, not all cats are the same, so maybe yours will be the special one who likes being on the road!
    Also, finding rentals with 2 animals is possible, but furnished, and for only six months, is another whole story. I would think you’d lose a lot of money in pet deposits. Many of the ones I’ve been looking at for our out-of-state move (we will probably have to move in stages, I go first, get an apt., then we buy house once we’ve sold our current one) have nonrefundable pet deposits. So that’s a lot of deposits! Maybe might have longer-term furnished rentals that might allow animals — you could check it out.

    by Paula — November 9, 2014

  25. Louann, sounds great in theory, but there are a lot of challenges, as others have mentioned. Have you already made a list of potential locations? If yes, I would suggest a short trip to them. You will not be able to decide on those short trips, but you may be able to eliminate some locations. Sometimes that doesn’t take very long. Just make sure you keep your requirements in mind and not making it a sightseeing trip. Look for things that are important to you. I, for example, need to be close to a grocery store. There needs to be reasonable dog training facilities near by, etc. I am sure that your interests and hobbies are different, but you get the idea.

    PS Sometimes furnished cabins are available.

    by Elaine — November 9, 2014

  26. We moved this comment from Lucia to this Post because it is more relevant here.

    Any opinion about renting versus purchasing a home/condo for retirement?
    Starting to think about retirement. My husband is 9 years younger and still has some time to go. We live in SF and life is way too expensive.

    by Admin — February 28, 2016

  27. On the surface, renting before committing to a purchase makes sense. You get to kick the tires in your new neighborhood and area before making a large investment. However, at a time of rapidly appreciating prices, a one-year rental — even a six-month rental — could cost you a significant amount of money. In many of the golf communities I have researched, prices in the last few years have increased between 5% and 10% annually. If you were to have a $300,000 home in mind in one of these areas, whether a golf community or not, and choose to rent, your $300K home (or those like it) could be priced at $330,000 just a year later. You might have to settle for a lesser house. And of course you would have “wasted” one year’s worth of rent when you could have been building equity in your home (and, eventually, pocketing that potential $30,000 in price appreciation). There are arguments on both sides, but the course I would choose is to visit the area for a week, go everywhere you can, and ask a whole bunch of tough questions of everyone you meet. You should be able to build a clear impression of what life will be like in your new home.

    by Larry — February 29, 2016

  28. It all depends how much the rental is. For example, in the coastal towns of Oregon you can rent a home for 800$ per month or an apt for $600. It just depends what you are looking for.

    by MaryJane — February 29, 2016

  29. These helpful comments were moved from a different Blog article for further discussion on renting:

    Mary Jane: Do you mind posting exactly where in Oregon you are retiring to and the name of the apt. complex and whether or not it is for 55+ or all ages? Thanks.
    by judy — February 28, 2016 | Edit This

    After over two years, I am finally closing on my house (March 3) and flying up to Phoenix (March 4). I have decided to rent a two-bedroom apartment because for the last three years I have been the one who has had to do all the upkeep for my 2400 sq feet house and pool. It’s enough!!!!! My lease will be running for 11 months so if I decide I do not like renting I will change, but for the moment this is looking good for me. I will be closer to my son also. I am also looking for some place to rent for about 6-10 days until the movers come. Any suggestions? This forum has been very helpful to me and I will contribute my two cents when I can.SharonA
    by SharonA — February 28, 2016 | Edit This

    SharonA, a short term rental? How about an ‘extended stay’ place that has a small kitchenette, like– or? Art Bonds — February 29, 2016 | Edit This

    SharonA, Here in Phoenix, they have a number of Extended Stay with a kitchenette, that are reasonable. You can stay on daily, weekly, or monthly basis. I stayed in one for a month until my new home was ready to move in. It worked out great for me and my situation.Loralee
    by Loralee — February 29, 2016 | Edit This

    Judy, I don’t have one particular place to mention. Just check out CraigsList and they show many for rent. I am more interested in Florence, CoosBay, NorthBend areas. Ashland is my favorite but rentals are higher from $750. Sometimes you can find Mfg homes for rent in GreenTrees for $900 per month and thats a resort style park. If you’d like to purchase one they start at $48,000 and that includes the lot and HOA fees are only $215. They are older homes most of the time.
    by MaryJane — February 29, 2016 | Edit This

    by Jane at Topretirements — February 29, 2016

  30. We are a retired professional couple looking for a temporary rental in the Hillsborough North Carolina area ( suburb of Chapel Hill). Our dates are flexible….but will differently be in the area in August. We are willing to house sit….Thank you

    by maryann — March 1, 2016

  31. Jane, looked online for Green Trees and couldn’t find it. Is this in Phoenix? Does it have a website? Thank you.

    by Diane — March 1, 2016

  32. Judy, Greentrees is in Florence, OR. If you check out the real estate websites or craigslist coastal Oregon section you always see 2 or 3 listed for them.

    by Mary Jane — March 2, 2016

  33. Thank you Loralee, but everything was already booked. I did find a lovely lady with a room to rent in Glendale. I will be there until my furniture gets here. Thanks.

    by SharonA — March 2, 2016

  34. Hi Louann, I am also looking to retire and don’t really know where. I am in California now and looking at Washington state. I want to be sure so I don’t want to purchase before looking around. I am considering and researching a C class rv. There are so many beautiful places to explore and this also allows me to visit children and grandchildren. I will purchase a cargo trailer for furniture storage. I can sell that when I find my home. Just an idea. But sounds like you are on the same track. Good luck.

    by Kathy — March 3, 2016

  35. To Larry and others…..I have been ‘retired’ since 2005. In that time I have bought and sold a few houses. So let’s say you rent an apartment for a year at $600 per month. $7200. But you had a place to live. An no upkeep costs. The landlord mowed the grass and shoveled snow or whatever. Maybe you didn’t even pay utilities.

    Ok…this time let’s say you buy. You are responsible for your mortgage plus all upkeep. So you buy a lawnmower. And a ladder. And some screwdrivers and a hammer. You pay the doctor when you smash your finger. At the end of the year, you have gained no escrow. All your money went to interest. So you prepare to do it again, even though you discovered your neighborhood is noisy and not very welcoming.

    In the rental apartment you decide to try North Carolina, and you move on. Or not. You can do what you want.

    Enough said?

    by Ginger — March 4, 2016

  36. To Texas Jo: you are having white peoples problems. There are plenty of places to rent just not in the fancy developments where you are looking. You want to get a deal but make too much money. Be thankful you make too much. Some people have a total of $900 month to live on. Like my brother, a war veteran. Either change your location, or change your amenities. Do you hVeto have 2B/2B? How about a pool? how much will you use it? I there a place in a less expensive part of town that is still safe? Have you worked with a realtor? Many people would kill to have your problem.

    by Ginger — March 4, 2016

  37. Even though renting before purchasing may seem like too much work, it can save you money if it turns out you don’t like the area. We’ve purchased, and didn’t like it and had spent wads on furnishings, moving and then the realtor s commission when we sold it in 2 years.

    We then rented in a different area and found that wasn’t the right fit either at the time. Much easier and less costly to pick up and move from a rental.

    by Vickie — March 5, 2016

  38. I am a 70 year old woman living in The Villages, FL. I own my home since moving down here from NY 5 years ago. Unfortunately, I find the upkeep of the home much too difficult physically and financially. Also, I’ve learned that I truly hate humidity and large roaches. There are numerous activities/clubs/sports here and the grounds are beautiful. However, it is very crowded- 110,000 and more people moving here every day; crowded roads, restaurants, etc..
    I would love to sell my home and move to a CCRC, but after researching for months, find that I cannot possibly afford the buy-ins that the nicest of them require. I like the areas of Asheville, NC, upper Westchester County, NY, Ashland, OR or anywhere there is natural beauty and no humidity. I don’t mind the cold, but do find it difficult to walk in ice and snow because of knee problems. I’ve also thought of Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. My children live in Wisconsin and NY and although I would love to live near them, I find NY too expensive and WI lacking in the type of retirement communities I am looking for (and who retires TO WI).
    I do have an older cat, but I think she would acclimate to changes, as long as she’s with me.
    I would like to find a nice community that is liberal thinking and situated near book stores, cafes and cultural institutions such as museums and concert halls and of course, good health resources. I know I might be not be realistic in finding all this in one place, but was wondering if anyone can guide me towards an area you think might be a good fit for me. I have lived in rentals before buying this house, and although it had its negatives, found it overall a good experience. Thank you in advance for any input you can give me. I just discovered this site today and feel blessed that I did. Betty

    by Betty Rose — March 7, 2016

  39. To Barb T,
    Hi. I don’t know if you still go to this forum because it is 3 years since you wrote a comment. I was just wondering if you did find a place where you are happy.
    I did consider Sarasota before moving to the Villages and was wondering if you stayed in that city or moved elsewhere. I am older than you but would also like to be with people of all age groups and where the sidewalks don’t close at 9 PM.- as it does here.
    Betty Rose

    by Betty Rose — March 7, 2016

  40. Betty Rose,
    Not sure where in Wisconsin your children live but you might consider checking out Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Also the Chicago suburbs have some nice areas that would meet your criteria. I’m originally from Naperville, IL a suburb 30 miles west of Chicago. A very nice area but pricy.

    by Jim C — March 8, 2016

  41. This message is for Betty Rose I have friends that moved to Lancaster, Pa. Google Willow Valley Communities for retires. They have small condos to big houses. I believe you buy your property, pay a monthly fee and they take care of you for the rest of your life when needed. It is not called assisted living, because my friends in their early 80’s are very independent. There is a gym and lot’s of activities, check it out. Best Wishes

    by Ginger — March 8, 2016

  42. Miss Betty Rose,
    You should check out Lexington North Carolina where my Aunt lives and I visit every second week in June. There is plenty of transportation to visit your children with Amtrak, Greyhound and Piedmont Airport within 30 minutes of Lexington. There is a inner city transportation system too. Lexington has plenty of Mom and Pop cafe’s and stores that you would never tire of visiting. Housing and Utilities and Population are way less than The Villages. You may get 7 inches of snow the whole year. Edward C. Smith Civic Center, history and race car museum, Dempsey Place(Art Gallery), and pottery classes at the Missions Pottery. There is chair yoga classes too. Upper Lexington, the area near Route 52 and I-85 is very active district where my Aunt owns a home. (Knob Hill) The Holiday Inn is in that area where we stay when we visit. The Southside Seniors Citizen club is a way to meet and greet others and know all the community activities available. They meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month @2pm. You should plan a visit that week, stop in and have them answer your questions. June is great traveling weather. Good luck.

    by DeyErmand — March 8, 2016

  43. Questions for Betty Rose about The Villages. My husband and I are seriously considering The Villages as a year round residence. I am trying to look at health care in the area….specifically trying to find doctors (primary care providers, etc.) in the Villages and just outside the Villages that accept Medicare and Anthem BCBS insurance. Also, want to know which hospitals take Medicare and Anthem BCBS. Would like this information before we purchase property in The Villages. So we are on hold until I can obtain that information. I was interested in your comments about the cost of living in The Villages and the crowds. Would it be possible for you to talk about which costs are more than you expected… fees? daily living expenses?, repairs?, insurance? etc. Also, are the crowds impacting participation in clubs/activities/sports? Is it very crowded all year? Would appreciate your insights.

    by Brenda — March 24, 2016

  44. Tom submitted this interesting question:

    Trying to escape the extreme cold and heat on the East coast. Is it cheaper to rent for five months in the south during the winter or cheaper to rent in the North during the summer?

    by Admin — June 28, 2016

  45. Is there a list of good web sites that offer winter rentals on the East coast that won’t break the bank? Or do folks here have some ideas maybe site they have used that won’t rip one off or be dumps that look good until you arrive & it is too late. Have used ‘Craigslist’ but not overly pleased. Thanks

    by Sue M — June 29, 2016

  46. Try,, or Once you find a property you like you may ask the owner/property manager for a long-term rental rate.

    by dan m — June 30, 2016

  47. Until now I’ve passed up this topic as it didn’t seem very relevant, but getting a daily update lured me into it. And I notice that in 2013 my wife Sheila made a comment. So why not?

    This rent/buy question can be a tough subject, but I noticed than no one but Ginger pointed out the obvious. While renting costs may increase (sometimes quickly), you need to balance this off with your lack of major maintenance costs. One person complained about rent increasing a total of $250/month over three years. Another complained about having to spend $10,000 – 15,0000 or more a year on maintenance and upkeep on the house he owned. This comparison will vary a lot, but the reality is that few homes, rental or purchased, will ever simply have constant, unchanging costs. It may take a while for your owned home to require upkeep, but watch out for that increasing insurance and tax rate! And somewhere aroung 10 – 15 years old, that new house decides to suddenly act old!

    I have kept a detailed, lifetime budget spreadsheet for the 14 years of our retirement (we are now 68). It is wonderful for comparisons. Based on actual and expected costs of keeping our house, I created a comparison sheet with the current actual and expected costs of renting a comparable place in a favorable location. Guess what? Over the long haul (a lifetime), the difference is essentially a wash. (For those who care, we live about 20 road miles south of Chapel Hill, NC and my choice for comparison was to rent in Meadowmont in Chapel Hill — not a retirement community, but one with comparable facilities available.) Your options may vary, but there is always a cost balance between renting and owning.

    Being from the area and having lived near Hillsborough, NC, I had to laugh at the description of Hillsborough as a suburb of Chapel Hill. Hillsborough residents would be incensed! Hillsborough is a separate town about 10+ miles from Chapel Hill. Sure they have tended to grow together (slightly) on the traffic corridor, but no way is Hillsborough a suburb.

    I adhere to the concept of renting in an area before buying, despite the costs and difficulties. But just as strongly, I agree with the idea of a preliminary visit (maybe a week or so) to “test” the area before committing to the move. We have more than 30,000 road miles of touring vacations around the US checking out places, you might be amazed at how often you could eliminate an area within just a day or two. A week can expose warts. A month or more is a better ideal, but obviously more difficult to manage. My suggestion: first a week, then a month if you think it is nirvana — it’s amazing how after a couple of weeks the minor can turn into a major. We eliminated both AZ and CO (for us), based on just that arrangement. Though how many people love living in both states.

    Betty Rose, I much agree with DeyErmand about Lexington (central NC). If you get there, take a little time to explore from that town outward for 1 – 2 travel hours. Lots of comparable mid-sized towns, lots of cost options. beautiful countryside. West is a little more snow, east is a little less — this is a transition area. But for liberal thinking, you will typically need to get closer to the cities. (Though my 94 year old mother-in-law lives way back in the hills and is as liberal as you can find. She passed it on to SOME of her children.) I was a military brat, born in CT, lived in VT and have been mostly in this area of NC for more than 50 years. Not a native, but I got here as soon as I could! Come for a visit…

    by Rich — June 30, 2016

  48. Rich— I’m heading to CO next month for a quick look at it as a possible place to retire. Where did you look while there and what are some of the factors that led you to remove it from consideration? This whole “where to retire” issue is becoming much too confusing.

    by Joann — June 30, 2016

  49. Tom, Please consider comparing temperatures in the North to those in the South before you think about moving (part-time) to the North for the cool temps. during the hotter time of the year. Most of the Northern states are NOT cool in the summer. I’ve lived in Vermont and visited my daughter in Maine. Days are hot in July and August. Currently i’m about 2 hours north of NYC, and the temps here are often hotter than those i check daily in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Northern Georgia. Please research before making your decision. Hope you find your sweet spot!

    by ella — June 30, 2016

  50. Rich, Joann, I would greatly appreciate about where to look and and additional factors regarding retiring in Colorado.

    by Michael — July 1, 2016

  51. I have also been interested in Colorado. Does anyone have comments concerning Anthem Ranch?

    by Ralph S — July 1, 2016

  52. Thank you for sharing so much info on this site. I would appreciate any and all info on Colorado, as my husband and I are more than interested in retiring there. Thank you!!!!

    by Kathryn — July 1, 2016

  53. I have not commented on a post in a long time, but a couple of things I want to say;

    We sold our Connecticut Home a little over a year ago and was planning to move and rent a house in Cape Coral, Florida. A medical issue arose to a family member several days before the move which prevented the move. We rented an apartment and figured on staying in Connecticut for only another year but to our disbelief we decided to remain in Connecticut and renewed our lease for another year. Selling the house was like a monkey off my back, no more up keep, no more high real estate taxes, no more double digit increases in home owners insurance. I write a check every month and forget about it. Our complex has a pool, covered parking, security gate and our apartment is 2 bedroom, 1300 sq ft, with central air, washer and dryer, and a three season porch. I am living one town over (Moved from West Hartford to Bloomfield) and met several couples who also sold their homes and moved here and don’t have any intentions buying another home or moving into a 55 plus community. A lot of people are snowbirds but choose to keep Connecticut their permanent residence. It is a great location and we are within three hours or less depending up traffic, of NYC, Boston, Providence, Albany that have many activities and events. We are also surrounded by good healthcare and major transportation hubs. My point is we never thought we would be happy living in an apartment and Connecticut is not a bad place to live. Regarding taxes, the tax man is going to get you one way or another and our biggest tax expense was real estate taxes. Comparing rents, moving south was not that much cheaper and I don’t have the cost of re-registering my cars, moving, etc,,, Food in the Ft Meyers area was not that much cheaper and the cost of gas in Ft Meyers was about the same in Connecticut.

    2. Temperatures in the North East, I use to live in Plattsburgh, NY and it got hot and humid during the summer. Cooler temperatures are usually along the coast the more inland you are the warmer it is. Just have to watch out for those coastal storms.

    by MarkG — July 1, 2016

  54. Since I was asked, I can talk a little about CO and maybe “help” a few. Up front and with no hesitation, I love Colorado and would move there in a minute if not for one thing: Long, intense, cold, snowy winters. Otherwise, CO beats CA for beauty in my book. So I will visit as often as I like — during the milder seasons (and even in the winter — briefly).

    Another caveat on CO (and other places) that I can add — though it’s nothing meant to deter interest. I have visited various high elevation (above 8000 ft) in the US and in Europe. Magnificent scenery, but I am one of those who just cannot tolerate long and active (strenuous) periods above 8000 feet. I can easily manage short periods, but not days at high elevation, and my personal experience is that high elevation altitude sickness in the form of breathing problems does not moderate for me and actually gets worse. I have never experienced any of the other symptoms of altitude sickness, but I become almost asthmatic when I try to live at altitude. Drop back to 8000 feet and I’m fine. I emphasize this, not to discourage CO as a retirement home, but to say that (especially with age) it’s very important to spend time at the elevation you may consider buying a home. 3 to 4 weeks is a good window — I had to leave after 3 weeks of our 4 week reservation at 9600 feet. When I return, we will rent at 8000 feet or lower.

    Colorado is about 2/3 Rocky Mountains and 1/3 Great Plains. My thoughts on the Great Plains: cold and hot and windy and flat. Still beautiful and great for those who want it — enjoy. On the other side, the closer you get to the Utah border, the more CO becomes “red rocks” type country. (Extensive areas, not like the minor area of red rock near Colorado Springs.) Again, great for those who love it. My favorite areas of CO are basically everything between the Plains and the western red rock country. Durango, Estes Park, the eastern slope, Silverthorne, Cripple Creek, and anywhere near any of the magnificent national parks and national monuments and all places between. Not helpful, I’m sure, but there you have it.

    I tend to be a people person — a recluse first, but I just enjoy meeting and talking with people and tend to get along easily. I found that Colorado was a great place for conversation with locals (tourists too, but what do they know? :<). But I also find people everywhere to be generally marvelous to meet and get to know if you accept that they may not love the same things you do.

    And, since I brought it up in another post and I know everyone wants to know, use and possession of marijuana and derivatives is legal in Colorado. (I don't want to start a for/against debate on this and I won't participate. I'm presenting facts — my opinion is my own.) Keep in mind that MOST towns and cities do NOT allow purchase — the state law says you can use it in your home and in places that allow it. I'm not a druggie or a stoner, but I did travel to CO a couuple of years ago with the intent of legally enjoying week. I did. Laws about public use, DUI marijuana, etc. are very strict. Abusing the privilege can be dangerous and costly. For three weeks of visiting and traveling around CO, I never detected anyone stoned and I am a rather perceptive person. Not that some people I saw or talked with may not have been high, but I did not find CO to be a place where you can go to find reckless and wild use of marijuana with wild abandon. For the most part, you have to seek it out — and you will not be crimialized if you do.

    Since there are now numerous states where the use of marijuana is legal (whether for medical or recreation use), I would like to see TopRetirements approach an article that deals with it as a retirement option. My wife does not use and has not used marijuana — even when we went to CO. But she does have several medical issues that might benefit from it (if she can be certain that various alpha-gal allergy concerns are handled). There are many seniors who might be interested in retiring where medical marijuana is permitted (and perhaps recreational use also). We all know that aging can present many physical difficulties. Dealing with them merits discussion.

    by Rich — July 1, 2016

  55. Rich –
    Thanks for the comments on Colorado – I’m glad the primary comment was about winter. After spending 4 1/2 years in Russia (5 winters) the cold doesn’t both me that much. I’ve also read (but want to confirm) that even when it snows in Denver and points south, the sun can come out the next day and melt almost all of it. What concerns me more is the summer weather – hailstorms and thunderstorms this past June that were really destructive. I’ve also been told that there are tornadoes that come off the plains. I’m from California and grew up with earthquakes but tornadoes freak me out. I spoke with a realtor in Castle Rock yesterday and he said that it’s very much a seller’s market now, with prices going up 1% a month and houses selling the day they go on the market. I wish I could move to the 2/3 Rocky Mountains, but will be more in the 1/3 great plains because I want to be near Colorado Springs, but not IN the Springs. I’m looking for good (and close) hospitals, a nearby university or college campus for continuing education, and an airport within an hour.

    To Ralph S who asked about Anthem Ranch – I may visit that development while I’m there and if so, will provide whatever comments I can about it. I’ve exchanged emails with a realtor who sells there and have pretty much written it off — I have dogs and want a 6 foot privacy fence to protect them from coyotes, and such fences aren’t allowed. I’m also going to check out the Louisville, Lafayette, Superior areas while I’m there, but those are getting a little far from the animal rescue where I want to spend time as a volunteer. (This animal rescue is the ONLY reason I want to move to CO, otherwise I would go back to WA or stay in CA. I know absolutely no one in CO and still wonder if this is enough of a reason – but their cause is my passion.) I’ve been getting a lot of emails from a realtor about a development in southwest Aurora called Heritage Glen. Again, not of interest to me because of the fence issue, but it may work for others. Another thing I’ve noticed is that Coloradans seem to love big houses – like 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms – and they love their walkout basements. Neither of these features appeal to me (the day may come when I’m unable to navigate stairs and I don’t want to be precluded from going into my backyard simply because of that).

    I appreciate all the comments from Rich on Colorado – including the altitude issue. I wasn’t bothered by it 30 years ago on hiking and ski trips but the years may have changed that. I’m hoping that Colorado will work out, but if not, I’ll just move back to SoCal (where I have my fence 🙂 ). The Bay Area has gotten so crowded that it takes my sister an hour to get home from the gym – 5 miles away – if she leaves there after 3 p.m.

    by Joann — July 2, 2016

  56. Joann, We spent 4 days in Colorado Springs in 2003. I really liked it and the area. But in no way does choosing Colorado Springs as a general area do you eliminate the Rockies. CS is the threashold to the Rockies. SO many options to be nearby and IN the mountains. An I doubt the altitude will be an issue unless you have a severe problems. Similar to Denver, you are only talking 6000 feet. Go west, you go up. Go east you go level.

    by Rich — July 3, 2016

  57. Thanks Ella,
    I too have been in Vermont and Maine during the summer when temps are in the mid-80’s. But the difference is the level of humidity. Far less in New England than in DC. That’s what we’re trying to escape. That’s what my question was about. Buy in Maine and winter(rent) in the south or buy in the south and summer (rent) in Maine? I’m guessing it’s cheaper to rent off season (winter) in the South than in-season in Maine (summer). Right?

    by Tom Egly — July 4, 2016

  58. Tom, by no means is winter “off season” in the south. At least not where I live in Florida. It’s called “The Season” and rents rise astronomically. Can’t speak to Maine as I’ve never bought or rented there.

    If you want low humidity, the south would not be a good choice for you.

    by Linda — July 4, 2016

  59. Thanks Linda. I was talking of the Carolinas being off season and perhaps St. Augustine area in the winter. My father lived in Ormond beach and he said summer was in-season there. Hilton Head is my main source of reference. 60’s to low 70’s with little humidity from Nov.-March. Now in June, it’s a swamp.

    by Tom Egly — July 4, 2016

  60. Gotta laugh!! This winter was fairly mild but I clearly remember a Sunday in January when my car temperature was 1*. I tried to work in the garage but the cold made it impossible to work with my hands. My older neighbors hibernate until the march thaw or patiently wait till the streets are plowed to get to the store. So when people talk about humidity I remember what a former northerner told me when we visited a 55 & over community and I asked him about Florida heat? Take this to the bank … You don’t have to shovel humidity !!

    by Alexmac56 — July 5, 2016

  61. Joann: If you don’t mind, I’m curious what the name and cause of the animal rescue is in Colorado Springs?

    by judy — July 5, 2016

  62. Judy – it’s National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton. They rescue dogs from puppy mills.

    by Joann — July 6, 2016

  63. Tom:

    It would be cheaper to buy in the south and rent in Maine in the summer. Everything here in Maine is expensive – including groceries. We moved back to Maine after 12 years in Tennessee and still can’t believe how high the cost of groceries is. And registering a car in Maine is expensive. I just registered my 2015 Prius for $412. Yikes. We will retire to Florida and summer in Maine when we are finally able to retire.

    by Norma P — July 6, 2016

  64. Beth sent in this question-looking for 55+ rentals:

    I am single and do not own a home, nor do I want to buy a home in retirement when I no longer have a steady income. I have rented for several years. I know several others who have not paid off a mortgage and don’t want to apply for one in retirement. Why are there so few 55+ communities with rental options?

    by Jane at Topretirements — August 9, 2017

  65. Brenda: for what it’s worth, I think you are on the right track. If you are fortunate enough to have a son and grandchildren, and there is no other place calling you, why not? You could keep checking places out but all that traveling around gets expensive, renting is throwing your money down the drain, and it’s expensive to move your possessions. We have gotten to the same point too. It’s time to cut bait and fish. Afterwards, I intend to make the best of it because nothing’s perfect. (At least not in this life).

    by Alice — August 12, 2017

  66. I just realized the subject of where this article is placed, so I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my comment about wasting money on rent. Hey, if it works for you, by all means, rent!

    by Alice — August 12, 2017

  67. The last few comments that did not discuss rentals, but more about Florida, were moved to a new Blog :

    by Jane at Topretirements — August 13, 2017

  68. I’m 58 years old and retired early 5 years ago to move back to Pittsburgh, PA to take of my mother. She recently passed away and I had to search for an apartment. I have substantial savings, however I cannot document a steady monthly income as social security and pension are years away. I had difficulty finding a leasing manager that would accommodate my situation. I offered to pay a years rent when I signed the lease, but was denied as I was told I could not then be evicted if I was a bad tenant. I finally found an apartment complex that reviewed my bank account statements and determined I could afford to rent there. I’m thinking of eventually relocating to Florida. Since that state has more retirees, would I find more apartment complexes that would lease to me without that monthly income as I would like to rent before I purchase a home (in cash)?

    by John — August 14, 2017

  69. John, my husband and I had a similar situation regarding looking for a rental when neither had started to collect pension or SS and intended on using savings. The management company handling the rental for the owner of the house we rented asked for proof of income and didnt not care if it was from SS or savings. We did have statements from our bank but after checking our credit rating she said it was high enough that it wasnt ness to submit the statements. I’d suggest that you check your credit rating and if it isnt great do what you cant to improve it!

    by Jean — August 15, 2017

  70. I moved a question from Virginia looking for information and comments on New Jersey communities to Dueling Retirement States DE vs VA vs MD vs NJ:

    by Admin — August 15, 2017

  71. We are seriously taking the advice found here about how important it is to rent before you buy. A years lease is about the only way you can find a rental in many areas we are looking at. I have noticed in the last year how many very nice rental communities spring up now when googling that offer housekeeping, transportation, meals, have activities, and a bar with “happy hours”. They appear to be national chains but they do offer a lot of amenities with no long term lease. Has anyone here rented in a senior community like this ? They make it sound like an exciting social scene and they are not cheap, but I wonder if it is a place residents would stay for an extended time (years) or the community very transient. Never consider this type of rental, I was always looking at houses. Would just like some feedback that they are as good as they seem.

    by Paula — August 19, 2019

  72. Oh my I came to this blog to ask the same question Paula asked in 2019! And she had no response so I will try it again 2 1/2 years later. We are just starting to toy with the idea of renting a condo in a nice community and selling our home. It would be for the long haul as long as we are healthy, and have seen a lot of advertisements along with a number of community reviews on Topretirements about active adult senior rental communities (not ready for the CCRCs). There are some that offer so much including classes, clubs, gardening etc. But my concern is exactly what Paula asked in the above post- are these communities mainly for people who just need a place for a couple of months and there is a lot of moving in and out. That is not what we are looking for. Any input of living in a no-lease amenity-rich community would be appreciated.

    by Barbara — May 5, 2021

  73. It sounds like Paula has been looking at assisted living facilities since she mentioned meals and transportation. Or a CCRC, which also offer those services. Typically, people in those type of facilities live there the rest of their lives, unless some other reason to move comes up. A lot of CCRCs require you to buy your home (apt., etc), plus fees.

    Independent living facilities don’t usually offer meals, but they might. They also don’t have as much care or nursing care, which you would get in assisted living or a CCRC. But they are cheaper.

    You really have to research the facility you are thinking about moving to. Talk to residents, look for reviews, go for several visits and eat the meals and use the amenities. That will tell you a lot about whether you want to live there.

    Active adult communities are different. Typically people rent for the winter season, but some rent year round. Some communities don’t give renters the same access to facilities (like golf courses) that owners get. So you will want to check that out. My parents rented for a couple of years in a Ft. Myers community and they felt like second class citizens. Finally they bought to feel better.
    Good luck!

    by John Brady — May 5, 2021

  74. Barbara, Not sure what you mean by a no lease community. At On Top of the World in Ocala, FL the shortest lease is 6 months + 1 week I know people who rent at The Villages for one month. These are homes, not condos, that I’m speaking of. While different, both communities are amenity rich. There are probably many communities, not just in FL, that have rentals available but I would think all would require a lease of some sort. Right now, with so many people moving south, rentals could be few and far between. Best way to find out is just start calling some places and ask, or google rentals in whatever communities you’re looking at.

    by Tess — May 6, 2021

  75. I guess if we are going to look into rental communities we have a lot to learn. Thank you John for explaining it and for answering my post. I didn’t think about meal plans and all of that. I know someone who lives in an apartment community in a different state and I will start with her and then go visit the ones we eventually find that interest us. Good advice and we appreciate it. Also Tess thanks for answering. It is good to know there are communities that rent and short-term lease would be okay. All food for thought.

    by Barbara — May 7, 2021

  76. Has anyone thought of Boise Idaho area .Although it has become extremely popular last couple years

    Take time to check Idaho and Eastern Washington state.

    Idaho has a drier climate, nice people
    and awesome enviorment.

    by Bill Bradley — May 8, 2021

  77. We checked around Boise and it has really gotten expensive! We were shocked how high prices and gone and the traffic is horrible especially in Meridian. Prices are going up there too. Only good thing the discount on property taxes but the state has a state income tax. Everyone is moving there from CA, OR & WA and other states. There is also a surge of people moving to the Spokane area. It’s cheaper but prices are climbing..

    by beebs — May 10, 2021

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