Last year my wife and I were house hunting and we had a funny experience when looking at 55 communities. We had just recently had our second child and our current 3 bedroom townhouse just wasn’t cutting it any more. We were looking for the best place to live in a single family home, with four or more bedrooms, with a nice sized yard (something we missed dearly living in a townhouse for five years). Another very important factor to us was the school district and the general community statistics, crime rate, median household income, and cost of living.
We hired a realtor to show us the newest houses on the market, and independently swung into every open house we passed as we ran our daily errands. For anyone who hasn’t done that, you don’t know what you’re missing! Aside from seeing a mind blowing variety of homes, grand opening showings within a housing community usually have a full spread, or-devours and drinks to relax you and get you into the buying mood. One was so extravagant and expensive that a retirement calculator on the web told me I needed to work until I’m 94 to afford them!
On one particular Saturday afternoon, my wife and I were coming home from grocery shopping, when we decided to take a different route home. As we drove, a set of brightly colored balloons caught our attention on the right side of the road. They were floating above a gated entry way to the Sleepy Pines Luxury Suites. (Of course I never read the fine print on the sign which mentioned that this community was voted among the best of the 55 communities in the region). I don’t know about you, but when I see a gated entry way, I NEED to see whats inside. So we pulled into the community, and drove about 200 yards, flanked on both side by a beautiful canals and evenly spaced, manicured pine trees. We thought we were in heaven!
Assisted living facilities may be necessary for higher care individuals
When we finally reached the main building, we went inside and were greeted by a beautiful woman who quickly invited us in and offered us food and beverages, but failed to mention their lofty ranking among the 55 communities in the area. We were in one of the sample units, and as we walked around we were astounded. The place was magnificent, and spacious, with meticulous detail. It sat on a quarter acre which was more than enough for us. We had taken a quick look at the specs of the unit on a handout, and saw the price and it was right within our budget. The neighborhood was top notch and so was the school district. We were ready to get serious about this unit, so we approached one of the realtors to get more details. Upon looking at us, he immediately asked us if our parents were with us.
We were too young for the 55 communities!
As you can imagine, I was completely insulted that he insinuated that we couldn’t possibly afford this unit and needed our parents to help pay. I couldn’t hold my tongue and told him exactly how insulted I was. His face turned bright red and he apologized saying we misunderstood him. He went on to tell us that this was a 55 community and, unless we aged really, really well, we were way too young and should not be looking in 55 communities. This was my first experience with age discrimination!
Either way, my wife’s parents had been researching 55 communities to live in. They are both very active, and chose a community which matched their active lifestyle. We do tease them about their age from time to time, threatening to start looking for assisted living facilities for them. Either way, their community has tennis and golf on the grounds, an Olympic sized pool plus a clubhouse which has weekly events such as ballroom dancing, bingo, and do-wop night.
Any outside maintenance is done by the 55 community association, so my in-laws do not have to do any yard work if they choose not too. Although their house was a little pricey, they had done their homework, using a retirement calculator and were aware of the cost of living in this area. They also spent a good amount of time researching 55 communities, which really paid off as they fell that they chose the best place to live, and plan to spend the rest of their lives there.