Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Very Veggie New Year's Resolution

times squareToday the natural tendency is to look back over the past year to see what happened and what changes took place. For me, this year was mild compared to some years, but there was one big change--I became a vegetarian and in the process lost 25 lbs.

I became vegetarian mainly for health reasons. No health problems--just wanted to avoid them. Relatives all had heart diseases so I decided it was time to take a serious look at where I was health-wise. So I bought a tape measure.

I read up on how to determine if I was overweight. I took measurements and the middle section was a problem to say the least. Checking my blood tests was next. Cholesterol, blood sugar, LDL, HDL, triglycerides and homocysteine levels were looked at. Needed improvement there also. One of my daughters is a vegan and I'll admit she had a lot to do with my success because it's not an easy transition, especially when you love meat as much as I do. Everyone knows about Bill Clinton becoming vegan and also cutting out oil. Well, that is the same regimen I am on. No meat plus no oil. And lately, no dairy.

With each subtraction from my diet, I would drop down 5 pounds more. Yes I had a goal--a dream number to get to. I reached that number and then set one lower and I am now a few pounds from that. So now I know what my new resolution for next year will be. I have much more energy and feel better. When I take a walk, it is much more pleasurable because I am not out of breath anymore. My only exercise was light walking. It was all about the food I was eating.

I'll admit there is a lot of sacrificing going on since I still love meat, but it's well worth it when I see improved blood test results. Once again I look good in more stylish clothes--and people notice. I feel like those TV commercials some days. I proved to myself with determination it can be done.

A vegetarian diet isn't for everyone, of course, but If you are looking to try a vegan or vegetarian diet, these things helped me: Dr. Esselystyn's "How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease," Pritikin Online Membership, and the 3-month online program from DASH Diet. They are very reasonably priced and well worth it. For continued superb motivation, I enjoy a free website: Will this be your year to make your dreams come true for retirement and for health. Happy New Year 2012--and thank you for visiting.

Before beginning any new diets or health programs, it is important to consult with your physician. We do not make recommendations or give advice. The above is for your information only. Make your own decisions about diets or health programs and in consult with your doctor or other health professionals.

Smaller Homes: A New Trend in Active Adult Communities

A fairly new trend in our active adult communities is toward building smaller homes.  I had many people complaining to me a few years ago that there were no small homes -- indeed building large homes was the trend -- then.

How quickly things can change in real estate -- today builders are building more smaller homes.

If you have a favorite builder or community, and haven't checked it recently, it is possible they have added on to their model lineup a new smaller one.  This satisfies buyers desires for smaller homes today and also is a lower price offering for today's real estate climate.  This isn't always the case, but it is happening often enough that we thought we should point it out. 

New communities particularly have at least one smaller square footage plan.

Starting prices shown in our communities may be lower due to price reductions but also due to the community having added on a lower priced smaller square footage plan to their lineup.

We have been keeping up with all the rapidly-occurring changes in our communities during the last two years, however, we'd like to remind you that checking the builder's website will give you   up-to-the-minute information and prices.

If you are looking to downsize your living space, you may want to browse senior apartments on the Best-Guide Retirement Communities website!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WalkFriendly's Most Walkable Cities Awards list!

Some cities are designed to be walking communities. I have discovered that I will get out and walk more if there are interesting sights along the way and walking is encouraged. Now cities seem to be catching on and realizing that people will walk their streets (patronize their stores, too) if they can be more walk friendly. There is even an organization that is awarding certain communities that meet their stringent requirements.

The awards are Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honorable Mention. My last two posts were from a walk friendly city which was given the Gold award. One of Arlington's innovative programs is "Walk Arlington," which may have been one thing that helped them receive the award. I have been doing the walks designed by them and find it is great exercise and also enjoyable.

As seniors, we know we need to walk more so check out these cities that were given awards (some cities have not applied yet so that does not mean it is not walkable.) A city needs to have a focus on being more walkable to win these awards.

Platinum Award (the highest):
Seattle, WA
Chapel Hill, NC Gold Award: Ann Arbor, MI
Arlington, VA
Chicago, Ill.
Hoboken, NJ
Minneapolis, MN
San Francisco, CA
Santa Barbara

Silver Award: Alexandria, VA
Charlottesville, VA
Decatur, GA
Philadelphia, PA
Santa Monica, CA

Bronze Award: Austin, TX
Cary, NC
Charlotte, NC
Corvallis, OR
Davidson, NC
Flagstaff, AZ
Lee's Summit, MO
Wilsonville, OR

There is also an Honorable Mention category: Cedarburg WI; Coeur d'Alene; Concord NH; Dayton; Franklin, TN; Juneau, AK; Louisville; Omaha; Rancho Cordova; Sparks and Temple Terrace, Fl.

To read more about Walk Friendly: Complete Communities list at Walk Friendly Because one of my criteria for a best place to retire is that there are opportunities to exercise, and walking being one of the best and easiest exercises, these cities would probably make list.

Latest Best Guide Updates!

After years of mingling old and new content, we realize how misguided our thinking was.  We realize now that people are looking for fresh, new, updated and current information.  Too often this is not found on the "web."

Too much on the internet is out of date.  Therefore, we have changed our philosophy of leaving well enough alone to current, current, current information only.

We will still list old (resale) communities as well as new, but the information will be kept up to date.

We will be updating every page on our site regularly  so that you won't have to wonder if a community listed has years old information.

Keep in mind that information, especially prices, can change without notice so you still have to check with the builder's website for the most accurate information or at the community itself.   We cannot be responsible for up-to-the minute changes.

To loyal visitors, we thank you for your continued support and for putting up with our foibles in building websites.

To new visitors, we hope you will become a loyal visitor by finding the best  over 55 and active adult communities on the web.

We are still in the process of updating our information and new look but we hope to be finished soon so that we can add new content and new stories in the New Year.

Happy New Year 2012
(Looking at this photo of a warm fireplace in the clubhouse at Leisure World Retirement Community always warms me up in winter. I hope you enjoy it.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Excursion to North Carolina and Virginia Beach

The last few days I was in Virginia and North Carolina. I attended a seminar in NC. The trip down was an easy 4 hours with little traffic; we arrived at 3 PM. I have to put a plug in for the Marriott Courtyard Raleigh, because it was a fantastic experience that one doesn't often have for a short stay. The customer service was outstanding from the housekeeper to the very friendly professional demeanor of Stephanie at the front desk.

Everyone we encountered from the bartender, dining room personnel to even the taxi cab driver they arranged went beyond expectations. If you have a business, they are a fine example in customer service to observe. They recently remodeled their lobby; these new innovations were clever: bistro with TV screens, computer access and beautiful lighting within these private cubicles.

Many other features including a fireplace and lounge area.

The next night we stayed at a different hotel in VA Beach; the customer service was good but average. I must say the bartender was the exception. He made us laugh and was very helpful in selection of our cocktail and dinner.

Good customer service is important to your experience when visiting retirement communities also. You can tell if you are being treated in a very personal, professional, warm and welcoming manner. If so, you will most likely be back. When visiting retirement communities, leave plenty of time. Our trip was only 3 days and we kept arriving at communities too late. I wanted to see 4 Seasons' new community in New Kent, but the office was closed. I drove by to view the country ambiance.

And since I started back late, I encountered busy commute traffic and I will be careful not to do that again. One sight I did want to see was the Edgar Cayce Library in Virginia Beach. This was an inspirational experience and an attraction I would like to revisit. The massage at the spa was also excellent.

It was a fun trip. At times we were frustrated and tired, but overall very interesting hunting down retirement communities and taking in the sights as well. We are not affiliated with the Marriott. This is an information only website. We do not make recommendations. Please do your own thorough investigations of information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Architectural Homes Walk

Yesterday we enjoyed an architectural walk through an older neighborhood of homes built at the turn of the century. We thought it was a treat for the eyes and hope you enjoy it. Queen Anne style, built 1911:
Queen Anne Style home

My favorite was this Bungalow Style, built 1925:
bungalow style home

and it's sweet side garden:
home and garden

Colonial Revival
home built by C. Walton Fitch 1920 colonial revival style home

American Foursquare
style 1905:
American four square home

There were many old flowering trees:
flowering magnolia in neighborhood

We liked this wavy fence:
wavy fence

We hope you enjoyed our walking tour of historic homes (route planned by "Walk Arlington.")

Friday, November 23, 2012

Did Hurricane Irene Change Your Mind?

What a weekend it was with Hurricane Irene.

I hope everyone is well and got out of harm's way.

Worry over what the hurricane Irene would bring started for us right before the weekend and accelerated from there, but, fortunately, just as quickly the stress went away when the storm did.

Despite the hype, It was only a tropical storm by the time it got to NYC.  Lucky it wasn't worse but for a time there we thought it would be and that created a lot of anxiousness.

I think some news networks displayed too much hype.   I've decided it's best to listen to the authorities and state Governors and avoid any drama on TV.

  It's important to have good information from trusted individuals so you can make decisions about what to do for your personal safety.

So many situations going on this past weekend. .

and I wonder how many people have changed their minds about their retirement plans and places they want to move to.

I am wondering if Irene made a difference in their thinking.

But I decided nothing had changed for me.  Some places we thought would get it bad didn't, and places we thought were immune had bigger problems like the flooding in upstate New York.   So you just don't know where Mother Nature will strike.

When buying a retirement home, however, recent big weather events remind us it is best to have all inspection reports done, and review all disclosures including <i> but not limited to</i> flood zones and geologic (numerous) and other hazards before finalizing any contracts.

You have to also rely on your instincts and judgment more than ever  when deciding where to live.

Meanwhile, today I am back to writing about fabulous places to retire.

Update:  Surveying the Damage Links (Generally damage was much less than anticipation)
North Carolina New Jersey Delaware Rising Sea Levels in Delaware

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 2011
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our site this year and especially our loyal returnees. Thank you all so much. We hope you find here what you are looking for. If not, let us know.

This year I am in Virginia:
autumn tree

One daughter is in Los Angeles:
Los Angeles beach a

And the other daughter is in Long Island:
Long Island harbor

These are all beautiful places and good for retirement too. Is your family like us with family all over the country. I wish my family could be closer and I do envy those who live close together at holiday time. But with communications better today than ever before, I am "staying connected," and finding it isn't too bad (except at holiday time.) So wherever you happen to be this Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you and yours much happiness and we hope you find the retirement community of your dreams. Carol
Bestguide-RetirementCommunities p.s. I hope you like the new look to our website--more changes to come.

Wellness Lessons from Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart is 70 years old and she says she has time during her workday for yoga, exercise and naps.   She sets a fine example on what can be done in your down time.  See the video. 

She says the secret is to be organized.  When asked to take a walk, I know I often shake my head and say "I don't have time."  But this video makes me realize anyone can find the time if well-known business tycoon Martha can. 

I always say whether you are still working or full-time retired, you can still have your cake and eat it too--work and play.  Just include the things retirees do in your work day--exercise, yoga, eating healthy--all good things to do in retirement.

And, of course, at a retirement community you will have time for these things and more with the abundance of activities available and someone else doing your yard work.

Martha's down time video:

Sounds fo Nature at Retirement Communities

oak tree This autumn morning I woke up at my usual 6:30am -- it's still dark out and I am hearing a soothing sound.   It sounds like rain but I look out and I realize it is the rustling of leaves on the tall old oak tree outside my window.  At this time of year the leaves start to turn brown and when there is a breeze the edges are knocking together and making this wonderful rustling sound.  Quiet, mysterious and pleasant to the ear.

I begin to think of other sounds of nature I have enjoyed.  Some of my favorite ones are:

..raindrops and wind howling against the window
..roaring ocean surf 
..rippling streams in the mountains as the snow melts in spring
..seagulls wings flapping in flight overhead
..pockets of silence from canyons, oceans, deserts
..wind chimes in a breeze

The cool autumn air inspired me to take a walk before sunrise to discover that all the majestic trees were making the same rustling sound as I walked on the trail through my retirement community.

 I saw a family of deer feeding on the dewy grasses--silent and serene. 

I'm sure you have your favorite sounds of nature too.  I think retirees look for sounds like these in retirement.  Next time you visit a retirement community you have been thinking about, listen as well as look.  Listen for the sounds of nature at retirement communities.

Retirement Community Home Prices

Updated my Retirement Community Home Prices page -- so surprised at how many fundamental changes have occurred and are occurring in the retirement community real estate market. This page was originally written 3 years ago and needed updating. It is only in the last 2 years that things for our retirement communities have really changed. I kept the same text, just added "Update" where changes were made. Summary of Updates added:
  • More incentives being offered
  • More communities being built in rural and suburban areas along commute routes and hubs into cities where jobs are. (These sell fastest.)
  • Builders are building smaller square footage homes--and adding a small square footage plan to existing inventories.
  • Fewer over 55 communities are being built due to homeowners finding it difficult to sell their long-term homes and lowering demand for them.
  • More renters because of buyer's uncertainty of the future of home ownership and economy.
  • Home prices and interest rates are lower and predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future. Very strong buyer's market. But check with local Realtors.
  • High end homes are selling well, however, there are fewer luxury options due to decreased demand.
  • Into the future:
  • Extreme differences in how market areas are doing--some better than others.
  • The economy is further affecting the home sales market and there is talk of a double recession. Real estate sales has always been a domino effect. If the economy in cities is doing well, then the surrounding areas will do well.
  • People are looking closer to home.
  • The southeast and southwest continue strong due to lower home prices generally.
  • More consumer interest in energy efficiency.
It will be interesting to see where we are two years from now. Will there be more significant changes. If so, we will report them here. Retirement communities offer seniors and retirees so many benefits, and with more baby boomers retiring, they will continue to be a desirable component of the real estate industry. See our article Retirement Community Home Prices Also see our article Retirement Condo Community Please check with your local Realtor and verify all information for Retirement Communities Home Prices and More. Take advice from real estate experts and financial planners as this is an information only website and we give no advice or recommendations.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A life Lesson from Anthony Bourdain

senior couple Anthony Bourdain travels the world--with bluejeans, rolled up sleeves on clothes that look like they lay for days at the bottom of the laundry pile. Yet he is revered because he has something to say.

You can see it in his swagger--a confident man. I'm sure everyone knows who he is and has watched on TV at least some of his fascinating culinary adventures around the world and reveled in his way with words. Of course, he has a first-class crew behind him--photographers, stylists, script writers, the works.

I envy him but don't know if I could be him even with all that. You see, the man has more than talent. He has the courage to pull it off. What makes his talent. A confidence in what he says. He's not afraid to be Anthony Bourdain. He speaks out, poetically and gifted true, but there are many who have the gift of writing and speaking, but not many who can take the heat in the kitchen.

This comes from having the courage to bring a talent out from under the bushel. If you are in a retirement community, does your talent remain under the bushel.

So many are bringing their talents out in retirement. There are clubs for photography, writing, art, gardening, charitable activities, drama and so much more.

Seniors are enjoying developing their talents in the many activities and clubs. They may not be Anthony Bourdains, but they are enjoying discovering who they are at this time of life. They are letting their talents, once suppressed, shine. Seniors everywhere are taking what may be the first step to liberating their gifts and their myriad curiosities at our retirement communities.

The silent generation has found a new voice.

Travel the USA in a flash by browsing retirement communities from all over America.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Walk Arlington's Homes Tour

Today we continued our tour of architectural homes. As it turned out we had a wonderful treat in store: Ahead was this magnificient pale lemon yellow magnolia at the peak of Spring perfection. Lemon yellow magnolia: yellow magnolia

The first home we saw as we continued our walk from yesterday (see previous blog entry) was this

Dutch Colonial built l926: dutch colonial style home

Then this adorable Cape Cod style with the sun hitting the distinctive shape. Cape Cod style home

And the front view:
Cape Cod style home

To complete the tour was this lovely Tudor circa 1937. Tudor home

Thanks to Walk Arlington for designing this educational walk. We enjoyed it and hope you did too.

Check out virginia retirement communities here!

Thermador Luxury Kitchen

This luxury kitchen by the Thermador company shows a fresh new look in kitchen design. Whether you are a gourmet cook or not, if you desire luxury, appliances by Thermador deliver.

Photos by K Patalsky

Kitchens...very open...

Lots of counter space….

Exotic hardwoods or light look in cabinetry...

Kitchens showing more open shelving -- easier to get to your best cookware -- love that

Contemporary kitchens are simply sleek with stainless steel...

Use of marble in countertops as well as granite and Corian

..Thermador Range and Oven

..Thermador Dishwasher

See more kitchen designs from Thermador

Also more luxury kitchens can be seen on Jenn-Air.

We are not associated with Thermador or Jenn-Air. This article is for information only. We do not recommend or give opinion on products.

dishwasher photo credit: Thermador

Did you know that Thermador headquarters are in Arizona? Check out some retirement communities in the Southwest!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is This Home Builder Going Bankrupt?

Recently I drove into a new community that had no models open, no amenities built, and no open house hours. There was a lawn sign half leaning over that said "model homes" with an arrow pointing but I could find no model.

This is a reminder that there are home builders that are still seeing bankruptcy. I then came across a homeowner who said the builder may be going into Chapter 11 and that the homeowners were "keeping an eye on it." Some of the signs to watch for:
  • no agent on the property,
  • no security guard, no models, no amenities,
  • maintenance not kept up
  • more obvious things like construction stopped, employees laid off, no workers showing up
  • home warranties not honored.
This community seemed had those signs. I don't think the builder is bad or scamming. They may be caught in today's poor economy. A builder can do their best to keep promises but if their homes aren't selling and they can't get loans, they can go broke. Be very observant.

Reminder: if there are amenities promised that you really want and they aren't built yet, you may wish to wait until they are. Some people have opted to wait until amenities are completely finished. Look for positive signs also. Today's builders advertise heavily when the amenities are built.

They aren't bragging; they just know it will be a good sign to buyers that the project is moving along as promised. (This is not a 100% guarantee either.) So "snoop" around. Sometimes the current homeowners are the best ones to ask. While a bankruptcy can have disastrous consequences, keep in mind that some communities have gone through this and survived.

The National Association of Home Builders market index hit 40 in September, a high this year and the most since 2006, but still has not gone to 50 which signals a good rating. This ranking shows the confidence of home builders in the market. We do not make recommendations of communities. Always do your own research.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Lesson From "Love Story" the Movie..

These words were spoken by Ryan O'Neal in the movie "Love Story." I watched it on TV the other night.  Did you see it.   I think it is the best line in the movie.  I don't know if it is in the book. 

Ordinarily, we might think these words are disrespectful to say to a father.  On the surface they are.  But the father deserved them.  He was fabulously wealthy, owned a mansion and a building on the Harvard Univ campus.  That is a lot to be arrogant about.  However, he looked down on the girl his son considered the love of his life.

The father was so consumed with his money, prestige, appearances and wealth that in Ryan's words "You don't know the time of day."  The father did not have time for "the little people."

There are a lot of people like that.   The ones that look down their noses at others not like them.  But do they know the time of day.  

When we retire, we have time to be something than what we have been most of our lives.  If we are of a high status, we might wish to be a little more laid back--find a retirement home by the ocean or countryside.  If we are broke at retirement, we may decide to look at a retirement mobile home park in a nice climate and affordable lifestyles.  This, even if we have been prosperous and enjoyed a large home in a nice neighborhood.  We are just desperate to change our lifestyle and get off the treadmill.

There are many lifestyle changes going on in retirement.  You feel you can finally dust off the trappings of society and be yourself.   That is the fun of retirement.

You've heard it said that older people no longer care what people think.  And that is true.   So have fun and explore in retirement what you can or cannot afford.   Just be yourself. And for some, easier said than done.  That is what retirement is for and that is the time of day.

Explore retirement communities today and get excited about your future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Suze Orman's Financial Tips for planning for Retirement

Suze Orman has some excellent financial tips for retirement.

Americans seem to be tightening up the ship and preparing for the worse--a worse we hope doesn't come.  But it's good to be prepared--your retirement future may depend on it.

Our biggest expenses stem from a mortgage, energy bills, car costs and food.   Seniors are tightening up.   Downsizing in a word.

Small homes, energy efficient homes, living beneath our means to save more--that's what you're hearing.  

I'm not a follower of Suze Orman, but she did give a great talk on public tv the other night.  Her main points hit at future retirement for seniors: living beneath our means and saving.  She said to know where you are today and where you want to be. Own your home, own your car and no credit card debt.

How does that figure with our retirement communities.  They offer more small home options, more energy saving features, more commute communities.   The larger the home, the more important the energy savings features are.  Our communities are responding to our needs.  And going forward, the newer communities have the advantage now.

America is changing and active adult developers are listening. 

Retirement communities have always offered good value and I believe now and in the future they will offer even more value in helping you save for retirement and your senior years by helping you save money with lower energy bills, closer commutes, and smaller but more efficient homes.

Looking for a cost-effective way to retire? Try a mobile home! Check out some fabulous mobile home parks for retirement.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tom Brokaw's Inspiring Commencement Address

Finding a good TV journalist like Tom Brokaw today is getting harder and harder.   Why did he retire anyway.  Well, I assume like most of us, he wanted to enjoy life a little while he could.

(Although Tom Brokaw continues to do occasional special reports for NBC and has authored the book "The Greatest Generation.")

I always enjoyed Tom Brokaw (and still do.)   His journalism focuses on the subject not the distractions.  He is clear, concise and gives us an excellence in journalism and news reporting we thirst for today.  I just wish he were around more often.

Today I read a commencement address he gave recently at St. Lawrence University and I found it inspiring for the current generations.   He also flattered our generations and ones before us so much I realized how accomplished we were. 

And now, we enjoy life a little.

But though the future is in the hands of our young, we can still learn a thing or two.  Because as Tom  Brokaw said having less is more, a cliche at most, but, more importantly, he reminded us that finding ways to be productive produces its own rich rewards.

If you have a minute you might enjoy this address, then pass it onto your kids. Tom Brokaw Commencement Address 5/23/11

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You May Want a Large Shower in Your Retirement Home: 5 Reasons!

Seat in large separate shower
If you had your choice in your retirement home, would you choose a large shower or a small shower stall. Most people might say a smaller one not really giving it much consideration. When reviewing retirement communities, I see many very large separate showers, some with 2 seats. Liking smaller, cozier things in general I would wonder if I needed such a large shower (and more to clean). Some even had 2 seats in them--why would I need that.

Large separate shower

Well, now I know.   As you age, as I have said many times, things change.  Your preferences change, too.   Sitting around too much?  Have high blood pressure? Circulation impaired?  Need to help your spouse shower?   Wanting your shower to be your spa?   All of these things may influence your choice of shower. 

Here are some reasons you may not have thought of for choosing a large shower in your retirement home (and maybe a separate one with 2 seats, too).

1) Spending time in the shower --  you may be needing more than one shower for your active retirement lifestyle swimming, sunbathing, playing golf or tennis and you are finding the shower is more important. 

2) Helping spouse in the shower -- sometimes one person in a couple requires assistance in the shower -- a larger separate shower makes it easier to get into and maybe one with one or two seats.

3) Have additional spa-like gadgets in the shower -- a hand-held shower preferably with a massage feature can be enjoyed better in a large shower.

4) Improving circulation with hand-held shower head -- As we age, circulation becomes more important -- and a hand-held shower head is an inexpensive way to improve circulation -- a seat in the shower is helpful too when massaging the legs and feet.

5) Therapeutic uses such as cooling off in the shower or frequent showers may require a larger shower -- using the shower to cool down on a hot day is a pleasant way to relax or a hot shower to soothe aching muscles.

Yes, a large shower could be desirable for more reasons than pure aesthetic enjoyment--it may be a practical consideration.  Take this into consideration when you are looking for your retirement home.

Check out Best Guide Retirement Communities listings to find your perfect new home!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pro's and Con's of Landscaped Retirement Communities

Landscaped retirement communities are beautiful but can require upkeep.  Just like your home needs grass cutting, tree pruning, flower beds watered and much more, so does the property of a retirement community. 

It's a nice rainy morning on the East Coast; one of those mornings perfect for napping, sleeping in and half dozing.  Unfortunately, the landscapers chose this morning to do a complete renovation of the lawns.   Not really, but it feels like it.  All morning I have been listening to trimmers, lawnmowers and edgers and not the soft sprinkling of the rain.     But when it's finished, it will be beautiful.  They sure do keep up the landscaping here.  But there are pros and cons.

The location of my home looks over a park--another thing to consider--location of your home.  Golf courses, for instance, while providing beautiful views, require a lot of upkeep so you may have to put up with sprinkling and fertilizing more often.  Along walk pathways also require more upkeep.  Generally anywhere that shows off to the public appearance may get more attention from gardeners and a chance of showering you with dust and noise on a regular basis.

The trees on the property can tell you a lot about the community.  Are the trees tended to.  If not, maybe they don't have much money.    Are they cutting down too many mature trees or just enough to keep the property safe.   What is the philosophy of the landscaping department.  Are they considerate of the property owner who has a gorgeous cherry tree blooming outside their window and would be upset if it were suddenly cut down. 

There may be people who would like to see that happen so you can't depend on that tree being there forever.  If it's important to you when you are choosing your retirement home, ask the head landscaper about it.

It's interesting about landscaping, there are so many varied opinions.  Some people love when the grass is kept low for that nice clean look.  Some people want a more natural look.  So this is something to consider when you are looking at retirement communities--the kind of appearance and how much upkeep you can tolerate. 

I think overall, since my community chose wisely, the landscapers here don't overdo it.  They don't spray with toxins that might hurt wildlife or people, they don't stay so busy that they are in your way, they stop their work if you walk by and they are courteous about it.  This is the way it should be at a retirement community.  The result is harmony.

But please investigate this aspect of the community to make sure there aren't more cons than pros.

Interested in seeing some great retirement communities? Check out my list of the Top Retirement Communities!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Why a Full Community Brochure is Helpful to You!

A Full Community Brochure is Filled with Information You Need. Be sure to ask for a full community brochure if not offered.

There is a sheet in the full brochure listing items included in your home purchase. This list is titled something like: "Outstanding Features of your new home." It is a list of included features and benefits. This is the list you want to see.

Go through the list and check off things you want that are on the list. The list will also remind you of things that are missing.
After checking off the things you want in what we'll call Community A, do the same for another community you have seen, Community B. Only compare items that are desirable for you to have as top priority. Here is an example of what I did:

Community A:
  • Cathedral ceilings … check
  • Eat in kitchen with Island and sunny in the morning … check (reminder: check lighting at location I choose)
  • Gas range … check
  • Wood floors…check
  • Walkin shower .. check
  • Fireplace …check
  • Gated entry … check
  • Outdoor Pool .. check
  • Energy Star .. check
  • Walk trail
  • Low Taxes
  • medical and fire 10 minutes
Missing from Community A:
  • Granite counters was an option
  • No indoor pool which meant I could only swim during the warm season
  • No whirlpool tub offered
  • No night patrol
  • No restaurant
  • Some traffic noise
  • No nearby shopping to walk to if it was necessary (was there a shuttle)
  • Ocean beaches 20 minutes
Community B: (I did not receive a full brochure at community B which made my information limited.)
  • 2 heated pools .. indoor and out.. check
  • Indoor spa .. check
  • Elegant clubhouse .. check
  • Ceramic floors standard .. check
  • Upgraded kitchen cabinets standard .. check
  • Granite countertops were included .. check
  • Fireplace .. check
  • 24 hour manned gated entry with night patrol .. check .. check
  • extra large water heater .. check
  • whirlpool tub offered as option . .. check
  • Gas range..check
  • Energy Star..check
  • Low taxes..check
  • miles of Walking path .. check
  • ocean beaches 5 minutes .. check..check
  • Quaint town
  • Location isolated but away from traffic noise
  • Shopping 10 minutes
  • Wood floors optional
  • No restaurant
  • Shopping 30 minutes
  • medical and fire 20 minutes
Both communities were in the same price and square footage range. The Community B offered more of what I was looking for and had more of the options I wanted included in the price. The definite plus was the 24 hour manned patrol at Community B and being near beaches.
So by comparing the items on the Feature list, I had a pretty good idea of which community I would prefer.
Instead of listing what I wanted, I checked off what the communities offered. This way I kept an open mind.
Doing these comparisons will help you define what is important to you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunrise/Sunset, Retire in Monterey, California

sunriseI changed my homepage photo to this sunrise/sunset in Monterey, California.  It is a Monterey Bay photo treat for you as well as for me.

My daughter, a photographer and writer,  is spending time there.   (She also has a website,   When I saw this photo she took, I had to have it on my home page.  I loved the other photo and I will bring it back in the future, but this one seems just right for now.  It also matches the theme of my website--the warm sun.  Hope you like it.  

There really is no where on earth quite like the Monterey Bay.  Pelicans, seagulls, the ocean teeming with sea life--sea otters floating on their backs joyfully as if they know they are in the happiest place.

You can climb on the rocks on the shore, investigate the abundant tide pools, touch real sea anemones as the sea air heals your body and soul.   Seaweed is thick and green as any forest.  The air is pure and sweet, crisp and cool; this photo shows a sunrise (I thought it was a sunset) from the hotel's balcony.

The great Monterey Bay Aquarium is a few blocks away as well as restaurants with views of the Bay:  Listen to the pat-pat sound of a tortilla being freshly made while you sip your marguerita beverage and await your meal at one of the Mexican restaurants overlooking the water, or a seafood dinner at the Sardine Factory.

Enjoy unbelievably scenic and pristine views of 17-mile drive and the famous Monterey Cypress. Fall in love with the sea. So much to enjoy in Northern California.

Check out Northern California Retirement Communities!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Upgrade Your Life by Buying a New Retirement Home

It's so exciting to purchase a new retirement community home--so much about it will change your life--hopefully, for the better. If you're happy where you are now, then there may be no need to change. But for most, a change will be for the better. So much about our lives in the first half is so different from our lives as seniors. What age do the most changes take place?

I think not until you are in your 60's and very much so in the latter 60's. So much has to do with health. In your fifties you may have planned on eating out every night when you retired, but in your sixties, you want to stay home and cook healthier.

It's very hard to find a restaurant that cooks the way you want to eat (or have to) in your senior years--lower salt, sugar and fat. If you cook at home, you can leave out the salt, saute in water instead of oil, and put in less sugar. Not so when you eat out.

So I find that this is a huge change when you turn 65 or become retired. If your current kitchen is less than inviting to cook in, please go to your nearest retirement community and see how great the new kitchens are--perhaps larger, more light, upscale features, kitchen islands, eating areas, blend with the great room and more. kitchenWhen a couple cooks together, 2 separate work spaces makes it more fun

Yes, a lot can change when you buy a new retirement community home and the looks and functionality of a kitchen for the senior years is not the least of those changes.

Good article about Kitchen functionality by a senior kitchen designer

Another article on Retirement, Happiness and Health

Friday, November 2, 2012

Trilogy at Vistancia--Popular Active Adult Community in Arizona

Congrats to Shea Homes for having 35% of the Arizona 2010 active adult community market share with their Trilogy at Vistancia community in the West Valley of Phoenix area (from builders sales reports). As I have often mentioned, some communities are "hot" and when you hear about them, you need to go and take a look to see what all the excitement is about.

Update for 2013:  The Best Year in 5 or 6 Years!

Trilogy at Vistancia is reporting phenomenal sales in 2012 and had some price increases; if the market continues strong,  they anticipate selling their remaining 100 lots by the end of 2013.   This year they discontinued 2 programs:  the Leaseback and the Vacation Homes which were at less price due to fewer upgrades.

Some communities sell faster than others--whether it is the price, location or amenities, or all three, you need to act fast.

Apparently this community has all three: location in the Sonoran Desert known for its scenery, exceptional resort amenities, and value price--a recipe for boomers looking for the perfect retirement. Shea also excels in energy efficient construction with their Shea Green Certified program. Appealing design is something else baby boomers are looking for and Shea is known for. Long time residents of California are clearly aware of the beautifully designed homes built by Shea Homes but new retirees to the area may not be.

Shea Homes is a premier builder in California and now Arizona and more recently Washington, Nevada and Florida.

Trilogy at Vistancia by Shea Homes is a gated resort community on 1000 acres and 2400 homes are planned ranging from lower $200's to mid $300's.  And to top it off, new premium home sites are now available.   But don't wait long since this community is very popular.

You can call 800-685-6494 or visit at 27980 North Trilogy Boulevard, Peoria, AZ
Open Daily 

See our complete list of senior communities in Phoenix, Arizona, area for more.

We are not associated with Shea Homes in any way and this is for information only. We do not recommend or give opinions of communities. Please do your own thorough investigations and verify all information.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great Resource for Real Estate News

We realize that most people visiting our site are primarily interested in knowing about where the retirement communities are.  However, with so much happening in the real estate news and news in general of late, we would like to refer you to a website with videos to help with some of the real estate market confusion that results from so many news stories and news events in general.

The National Association of Realtors has a page of video news updates  on the market that are very professionally done. 

We have our page "Real Estate Update" on our site following news and projections, however, we feel this site by the National Association of Realtors gives  more specific information with their frequent videos with their experts. 

So if you are interested in everything newsy about the real estate market, you will find this a good resource.  Many of the videos are for Realtor members but the News and Analysis video section or the Home & Design video Section would be of interest to everyone.   Enjoy!

Realtor TV Videos-- Go to the News and Analysis Category