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Re: Life Stages & Lifestyles

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Message 31 of 35

@Prosecco6247 - There are 2 major hurdles for me, as far as moving into a beautiful, new single-story stand-alone home in a 55+ development, besides my basic dislike of general rules. One is that I feed the wildlife, and that would probably be verboten either by the Association, or complained about by timid neighbors. The second sticking point is that most developments are built where land is cheaper, which tends to correlate to where there’s no other development yet .. stores, professional services, etc. Many of these developments don’t have their own mini-buses to transport residents to existing shopping centers .. so you’re still car-dependent.

I know of only 2 smallish developments in my county, that are right in a nice downtown area; one is pretty old & would require significant remodeling. But both only have multi-story townhouses, and the older place has long rows of attached units, so end-units are like hens’ teeth!

 


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Re: Life Stages & Lifestyles

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Message 32 of 35

@ASTRAEA, I understand and share some of your concerns.  I never thought I would live in a condo!  I live on an end unit which gives me quite a bit of a side yard and the element of partial privacy, but the backyard is landscaped and contains 4 privacy screens, so it's fine for some outdoor activities...not perfection, but not bad.  I dislike regimentation in design as well as condo regulations, so that took a bit of getting accustomed to, but the association rules are not overly onerous.  We had a Homeowner's Association in my previous neighborhood.  The fees were high and I found the regulations somewhat taxing but I accepted it as a trade-off for the amenities...which were many.  My solution was to become an officer of the HOA.

 

I notice, in this development, that new homeowners "gut" their purchases and remodel before moving in.  There's usually a 3-4 month lag between closing and move-in.  There are some nice remodels.  My buyers wanted to move in sooner rather than later and I didn't have that luxury.  Next time, I would do things differently.  Not that there will actually be a next time.  I'm getting too old and impatient to put up with that much disruption in my life!  It's not that I can't handle it, I just don't want to!

 

On balance, the acceptable outweighs the unaceptable.  I'm happy with where I am and I've adjusted to the condo lifestyle.  Having multiple experiences with both, I've found that new construction is not without it's problems and sometimes it can be more of a headache than a remodel but I'll grant you, it looks sooooo nice when you move in!  ;o)

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." ~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Re: Life Stages & Lifestyles

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Message 33 of 35

@Prosecco6247 - When I first moved out on my own, I bought a spacious condo in a hi-rise building. It was a beautiful apartment with large rooms, but it didn’t take me long to decide I didn’t like high density living, or being constrained by association rules. Within 3 years, I put the place on the market & began hunting for a single family home! To me, that space between houses isn’t so much for outdoor use, but as a buffer from neighbors. Smiley Happy I swapped an acre of land in north Jersey with a simple front lawn to mow, for a ½ acre of hilly land on the shore, with lots of plantings, and tough terrain .. I have a landscaper do it.

 

I don’t entertain as much as I anticipated, so the 25’ x 25’ great room is beautiful .. but underutilized. The finished basement rec room has a corner dedicated to the treadmill, 2 overflow bookcases & a flatscreen in another corner, so that too is underutilized, as is another finished room in the basement that’s become the sewing/storage room. 

It’s funny that I’d be happy going back to the 25’ x 100’ lots you see in the NYC boroughs, where there’s a small front yard & larger one in the back, and separation between houses, without them being part of a regulated development .. and there was shopping only a block away! But houses in downtown areas now are either very, very old & needing total renovation (who wants to do that in their 70s?), or already rebuilt as multi-story houses, for prohibitive prices.

Even in 55+ communities, many still have very large multi-level homes; it's not downsizing if you still have 4 BRs & 3 Ba's!

 


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Re: Life Stages & Lifestyles

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Message 34 of 35

I've been living in my current home 3.5 years, a 35 y.o. 3BR, 3BA townhouse condo.  I moved here after "downsizing."

 

My former home was a 5BR, 4BA transitional.  I lived there for 10 years and moved because all our children were grown & living in far-flung states with their own families and the house was too much for me & 2 little doggies.  I was widowed, my husband having passed away suddenly 11 months after moving there. It was supposed to be our retirement home.  We expected to live there well into our older years...possibly giving it up only if we required assisted living.  It was designed with 2 masters (one downstairs) and was completely handicap-accessible on the first floor.  It was designed to incorporate accessibilty without appearing "clinical."  How I hated to leave there but it was a waste of money and space.  It was a good decision but emotionally heart-wrenching.

 

My home before that was essentially the same size but on a ranch footprint.  The only stairs led to an office over the garage.  It was a custom home as well and over the years, we made changes in anticipation of growing older and infirm.  We were in complete agreement with the "aging in place" concept and modified a variety of things, such as levers instead of doorknobs in order to accommodate arthritic hands & fingers and a bathroom makeover/enlargement to allow easier ingress/egress, greater open space and more safety features, eliminating the bathtub, enlarging the shower footprint, installing a light in the shower, brighter room lights/a "warming" light, grab bars in the shower, etc.

 

I'd lived there most of my adult life...from the age of about 28 or so.  We wouldn't have moved except for the fact that we were in a secluded suburban area with a lot of undeveloped land around us...old farms, fallow fields, etc.  When the land began selling off, new developments took it's place and with it, an increase in traffic and petty crime, usually committed by bored juveniles.  When we'd had enough, we made plans to build another home.

 

My current place has a BR/BA on the first floor, so I can live all on one level.  I haven't modified everything I need to but I'm making a dent in it.  I still have decorating issues as well as a need to clear out a lot of items collected over a lifetime.  I am gradually making peace with my new digs and find it adequate for my needs.  I don't get overly involved in household chores and cooking any more.  I meet friends for many activities and eat out a lot, so my need to cook has diminished.  

 

Keeping a well-stocked pantry & freezer isn't a priority nor a necessity any more.  I hate to throw away uneaten food and many of my single friends feel the same way, so I generally shop for a few days at a time.  I do break out the pots & pans for holiday meals but I send most of the leftovers home with guests, saving only enough for one meal for myself and possibly a "treat" for the dogs.

 

My lifestyle has definitely changed.  I have time to indulge in all the things that interest me.  It's easier in most ways and less expensive.  Since we have a condo association, I don't have to worry about the grass being cut, the shrubs being trimmed, snow removal, etc.  I paid for those services at my prior home...large yard and garden...since my physically fit hubby was no longer there to do it and I couldn't do it by myself.  It adds up.  I'd like to leave a few charitable bequests when I'm gone as well as a little something for my children/grandchildren so the savings is welcome.

 

I love the state and region where I live.  The climate is moderate, all four seasons are represented.  A change of scenery...beach to mountains, say...is only a short road trip away.  An international airport is nearby. I do love to travel.  There is abundant wildlife around me, a major river 200 yards away and picturesque wetlands nearby.  Culturally, there are activities for any taste or interests and there are a wealth of opportunities in nearby colleges for auditing classes or participating in "lifelong learning" activities.  Excellent medical care is available and there is a medical school nearby.

 

All in all, I can't complain about much these days apart from the usual personal/family issues all of us have from time to time in the course of living a full & active life.  We can't plan for sudden surprises, occasional infirmities, vagaries in the weather, political upheaval, a drop in the Dow...I don't know...take your pick.  We can smile, stay positive and move on.

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness." ~ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Life Stages & Lifestyles

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Message 35 of 35

How long have you been living in your current home? Is it appropriate for your current single lifestyle? Would it be as convenient as you become an older retiree, as far as location, space requirements & layout?

 

 

After a 30 year career & 3 years as a caregiver, by the mid-2000's I wanted to move to a more laid-back area on the shore. By that point, it was already more difficult finding ranch style homes, compared to when I house hunted the first time in the mid-1980s! I was an active 57 when I bought my current home, and loved the spacious open design & large windows. I love that it's on a quiet cul-de-sac, but hate that to get large rooms on a small lot, the garage had to be below the house, so there's a full flight of stairs inside .. and one outside that needs to be shoveled when it snows. Although I'm in a small town, there's no walkable shopping.

 

So looking towards my 70s (maybe it's a "20-year itch"?), I'd like to be near a walkable downtown, and really all on one level. If they can build such efficient "tiny houses" in 500 sq ft, surely in another 10 years developers will be able to design efficient small houses in 1,000 sq ft, where people don't have to move into a mega & remote retirement developments!


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