Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

Anticipating a Move to a Small Town

After having lived in an urbanized suburb of Atlanta for 40 years, this is the year I will be moving out to a Del Webb community Atlanta in a small town. Granted it is on outskirts of the metro area, about 15 minutes from a major mall and commercial district, but it will still be plenty different from my current location.

There are groceries stores, UPS store, some restaurants, liquor stores, banks and others around my new community. A biggie is a brand new 100 bed hospital at the entrance to my new community. That is actually closer than my current hospitals.

What is also closer is recreation amenities right in the community, plenty of sidewalks and trails for walking.  There are daily activities, a gym and indoor and outdoor pools at the clubhouse which is within walking distance from my new home.

Our current friends will be about 45 minutes to an hour from our new community so we can still stay in touch and meet for lunch.  At the new community there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new friends who will live in the same community and be available during the week, not just the weekends.

After a month or so at the new community I will have to do a post with my observations about how living in an active adult community in a small town is different from what I am used to.

We are thinking all the community offers will more than make up for any dislocations of living in a small town.  Part of what scares people moving from a metro area to a small town is the people – will they be accepting and what kinds of cultural changes will be faced. Most of that concern will be alleviated by moving to an active adult community with almost two thousand residents coming from all over the country and the world.

Of course my old friend the Internet will be with me. There is high speed Comcast cable and the cell phone reception is reportedly good for several carriers. Small towns these days have very good broadband and cell phone coverage

So this year will be an interesting one for us as we take life by the horns and transition to a new life in an retirement community. We have waited long enough and at age 67 and retired we look forward to making new friends and being active in our new community on a daily basis. We are avid Bocce players and they say we will fit right it. That is the first club we will sign up for, along with coin collectors club, day trippers, travel club and hiking club.  That will be a good start.

As far as the town, exploring the several nearby small towns, visiting the dairy, the winery and maybe the outlet mall up the road will be on the list. The Road Atlanta sports car track is nearby and a group from the community visits the track for several races which I will probably join them. Fort Yargo Park is nearby with over 1800 areas with a 260-acre lake that offers a large swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps.  Maybe it’s time to take up fishing again. I will keep you posted.  -Robert Fowler

Village at Deaton Creek



Don’t Be Stuck in the Suburbs After You Retire!

My wife and I were stuck in the suburbs in a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, three level home with a half acre lot. We were the only retired people in the whole subdivision of 25 homes! Retiring after working 45 years, we were now feeling a little out of place in a subdivision with large SUVs speeding past our house taking kids to their activities or even to their school bus stop at the entrance. I was 58.

We were good friends with our neighbors, who were 10 years younger than us and still working. We had even gone on 6 cruises with them and out to dinner most Friday nights. But during the week, we were stuck in our subdivision with no where to go except lunch.

Our city of Johns Creek did open a new senior center and we joined and became active members. I even served on the activity committee. We got a taste of how we liked doing stuff with those we liked and related to.

That was better, but that was not enough. We looked around, considering our options of where to live. Someplace that was not the suburbs that was clearly kid and work centered, something we were not.

We took our time looking around visiting Big Canoe and Bent Tree in the mountains, Destin at the beach, and small towns nearby.  We decided a small town on the outskirts of our metro area would be nice; kind of the best of both worlds. We could still visit the suburbs, be close enough to have lunch with our friends and make it back home without too much trouble. But nothing was jumping out at us.

Then we discovered Active Adult Communities and found 4 or 5 around our metro area. We made some visits to active adult communities of Del Webb and other builders.  We signed up for the program where you visit the community and stay in a villa for 2 to 4 days to see what the community is like. We did that program three times. We thought about it.

We really like the Active Adult Community concept. The locations were perfect. It would give us a welcoming community right off the bat. A lot of other people just like us were moving there. The Active Adult Communities were all in good places to live. They had done their research.

Then reality set upon us and we froze up. We needed to down size and get rid of a lot of stuff. What about selling our home we had lived in for 26 years in a down real estate market. This would be a major upset to our lives, a lot of unknowns. We procrastinated and our excitement about moving waned.

We continued getting rid of stuff and business records going back 25 years that we no longer needed. Numerous trips to the shredders and to Goodwill. Selling stuff on Craig’s List and giving stuff away and dumping the rest in the trash.

Before we knew it years had gone by, then one day we made another visit to the Active Adult Community we most liked. We came back home and decided it’s time to do this. At age 67, we were finally making our move.

We hired a buyer’s agent to help us find a home in our Del  Webb Active Adult Community.  We looked at new homes and priced all the options. The buyer’s agent said we should considered resales and we found one, a 2,777 square foot ranch called the Cumberland Hall model. She helped negotiate a deal and we moved in!

Now 10 years later, after we starting retiring, we realize we should have moved a little faster. We love living here and it’s going on two years we have been here. Why did it take us so long?

We were stuck in the suburbs, having lived in the same house for over 25 years and in the suburbs for most of our working careers.  Moving and change is hard, but it turns out it was something we managed very well. We adapted to our new home and community almost right way. We never looked back. We know we made the right decision and feel for people who are stuck in the suburbs after retiring and do not quite know what to do.

Moving to a home and a community better suited to making you happy is the way to go.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

small town retirement

 



Active Adult Community History


AV Homes, a nationally respected builder of award winning homes and 55+ communities, sent over this interesting graphic about the history of Active Adult Communities that I want to share with you. Many Active Adult Communities are located in small towns. The hot states for active adult living are: Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and California.

AV-homes-infographic_FINALforwebFor more information, visit AV Homes





Negatives of Active Adult Communities

I had written about the positives of Active Adult Communities and sometimes it looks like it is all positives. So for the last few months I have been asking people, especially people who live in Active Adult Communities, what are the negatives.

I had written about the positives of Active Adult Communities and sometimes it looks like it is all positives.  So for the last few months I have been asking people, especially people who live in Active Adult Communities, what are the negatives.

On a recent 15 day cruise to Hawaii we had 4 days at sea going and 4 days at sea returning.  This gave us a lot of relax time to talk with wonderful people we met living in Active Adult Communities in California and Arizona. These were mostly Del Webb Communities. They could talk for hours about the positives. When we finally asked them about the negatives, it took them a long time to come up with anything.  That is a good sign!

1. Number one complain was the Homeowners Association.  The HOA were to restrictive, or too noisy, too petty. I know in any subdivision that has a HOA they came become like little dictatorships and really piss people off. When you add all the additional restrictions an age qualified community must have, then all the more to deal with. Also mentioned was neighbors reporting neighbors for violations. Even some taking to doing their own inspections vigilante style.

2. Several residents of the communities originally built by Del Webb in CA and AZ felt the new homes built in their communities after Del Webb sold out to Pulte were not up the the same standards of quality.

The following comments were related to us from a third part.

3. One 50ish couple from Atlanta didn’t like the Hilton Head Active Adult Community they bought in, so decide to sell and move back to Atlanta. They feel the residents were too old for them. One article we read said: Be sure to find out the average age in the community. Older developments tend to have older residents, which, for many youth-seeking boomers, might just be a deal breaker.

4. A couple of people did not like The Villages in Central Florida. It may be been too large for them.

There is always the stories of people moving across the country to live in a new community but later deciding they wanted to move back to be close to their long time friends and relatives.  I don’t think that is a negative of the community itself.

Some people that have never lived in an Active Adult Community say they would not live in this type community because all the residents would be older and they like the diversity.  I don’t take that as a negative of the community, just one person’s view. The next person may think it is wonderful opportunity to meet new friends and socialize during the day with people who don’t have to be at work.

I would like to know if you have negatives about Active Adult Communities. If so please click on the title to this post and reply with your comments.



Seniors On Cruises

 Just returned from a 15 day cruise to Hawaii out of LA and met the most wonderful people on the ship.  No better place to talk with seniors about where they live, especially the ones living in the active adult communities.  My wife and I spoke in detail with five or six different couples.

On delightful couple was living in one of the original Del Webb communities in Phoenix.(Interestingly, another couple from CA said they were living in the original Del Webb community. I don’t know which one was correct.) 

Anyway we spend three and a half hours at the dinner table listening to them and asking questions about how they liked living in their Del Webb active adult community in Phoenix. They just loved it. They were very social able people and loved life. She took tap dancing classes and they both went on about all the activities they participated in at the community.  They told us about a new game like tennis but played in half the court with paddles. I wish I could remember the name of it but it started in Washington state and now it is very popular in their community in Arizona. They did not know that I work with Retirement Media Inc. They just knew we were 59 years old and looking at options. They could not have been more positive.

It is interesting to know that they really like living in their active adult community.  I have been to several model park and community openings this year and felt the excitement created by a new community, but wondered what it would be like when the community was settled in and the marketing people had moved on to another opening. It was not only this couple living in Phoenix but two other couples living in California adult communities, that were so positive about their experiences.

However these couples living in what they considered to be the original Del Webb communities before Pulte, all said there communities were better than the ones being build today. When I told them about the new Del Webb / Pulte communities we had visited, they were surprised at the amenities and the features of the new homes.  According to them the new homes being built in their existing communities did not measure up in quality to the original homes.

But almost all positives from the people we spoke with about their experiences living in over 55 active adult communities, mostly Del Webb communities. At the end I asked each one but what about the negatives of active adult communities. They had to think hard to even come up with anything, but next post, I will comment on the negatives of active adult communities. 

It was also nice to talk with such positive engaging people, some in to their eighties. We can only be so lucky to be doing as good at that age.  

Robert

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