After over a year of searching, my wife and I found the perfect 55-plus community.
Location, Location, Location
Our new home is on the edge of the metro area, about 40 miles from downtown, but only 18 minutes from a major regional mall (and plenty more shopping). Nearby, there’s a winery with a hotel and SIX restaurants! Not to mention, it’s only another 15 minutes from an outlet mall and some quaint places to grab lunch.
I would describe our new 55-plus community as “far enough, but not too far.” We’re still close enough to the suburbs that we can meet our friends for lunch every month! The move isn’t a major relocation for us – but, it will definitely change our way of living!
Our Search For A 55-Plus Community Home
About 40 % of the people living in Village at Deaton Creek still work. This means, at age 62, some will be our age or even younger. For my wife and me, the age balance is just right! We immediately knew the community itself would be a great fit for us.
But, then came searching for a home…
We are moving here from a 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath two-story with a full basement. Our home doubled as an office (complete with one employee), so it needed to be larger. Well, that’s no longer the case. But, even though we don’t need quite as much space now, it still took us a little while to decide on the perfect home.
My wife and I still wanted office space. So, we thought the perfect retirement home for us would be a “ranch with a basement”. Well, let me tell you – basements, we found out, are a little pricey! A basement runs $50,000 and then $30,000 to be finished. That’s $80,000 extra for a finished basement!
OK, no ranch with a basement.
Shortly after our expensive basement revelation, we found that Del Webb (the company that owns our 55-plus community) has a much less expensive option – a loft. A finished loft runs $23,000 to $25,000 more but adds a large room, a bedroom, and a full bath upstairs. So, my wife and I thought about it. I could have my office in the loft and my wife could have her office on the main level. Perfect!
So, a 2-bedroom with a loft. We began searching. But, when touring the available homes, there were, of course, no lofts available. And, if we wanted one built, it would take 5 to 6 months! Huh.
Next, we decided to check out resales. We went through the brochures we picked up while riding around in our golf cart during our two-night vacation stay in the community. I asked about any listings with a loft and, alas, none were available (the loft is a relatively new option, so not much in the way of resales yet).
The agent we were working with told me about another listing – a large ranch in the Overlook section. It’s all on one level and has a large corner office and 3 bedrooms (one could be our second office). We liked the floor plan too. In addition, this resale had a large screened-in porch and a nice kitchen (and many extras!). The price was only $15,000 more that the two-bedroom with a loft. We thought, ‘wow, this is maybe the one for us!’
Working With The Resale Agent
The resale agent was very helpful! She could come to our current home and let us know the market price and what we could expect to get.
We began asking questions:
How would this all work? Would we contract to buy the resale and immediately list our current home for sale? Do we sell our current home first to reduce the risk and then find a home to move to? The agent had told us she listed a woman’s home for sale, then put in a contract for Del Webb to build a house, only to have her current home sell within 2 months (remember, Del Webb said up to 6 months for construction!). I asked, “well, what did she do if her home sold and her new house wasn’t ready?”
The agent simply replied, “she traveled.”
Being the cautious planner that I am (and not yet fully retired), none of these options sounded that great. Sure, we could cash in a CD and buy the resale while also listing our current home for sale. Both homes are similar in price so we may almost break even. We could take the sales proceeds and buy back the CD. There’s a 3-month interest penalty, but, eh! Not a big hit. However, the bigger risk was selling our current home. We have heard story after story about the negatives of selling in this market. Our home is in great condition, with many improvements, and it’s in a good location.
Another option would be to sell our current home and then find our new home. But that means maybe moving to a temporary residence if we couldn’t find a home to move into right away. I don’t like moving that much!
Right about now, I’m asking myself, ‘why are we moving?’
Oh yes, the new lifestyle, new friends, activities, slower pace, nature walks around the pond, fun…Yes, we are sold on the 55-plus community. There’s the perfect floor plan we think will work for us. We want to move. We just don’t know how to do it!
Related: Advantages Of Retiring In An Active Adult Community
So thinking about this, my wife and I decided we didn’t want to put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation right away. Our house was paid off, and we were retired, so why complicate matters?
A short time later, we finally decided it was the right time, and we moved to that active adult community owned by Del Webb.
And you know what? Now, we’re happy that we made the decision!