Thursday, March 9, 2017

Retirement Community News for March 2017

March will celebrate St. Patrick's Day and mid-March the beginning of spring.

Spring on the East Coast

 What to Look for at Retirement Communities

It is my opinion that as we age, the rooms we live in become more important than at any other times of our lives.  It used to be the living room, the family room, the den or computer room.  But things change as we age.  I realize everyone has a different opinion on this but these rooms are now the most important to me:  
  • the kitchen
  • the bathroom
  • the bedroom
  • the entry and security features
  • the den/office
  • the sunroom
I'd like to continue our chatting about the rooms in retirement communities.  There are so many improvements in home design and floor plans that I feel I need to bring them to your attention.  The last couple months we focused on the kitchen and even talked about food.

This month I'd like to switch to the bathroom. 

The Bathroom

You may think the bathroom is not important but I think it can be the next most important room in your new home after the kitchen.    Why?
  • As we age, bathing, personal appearance and comfort take center stage. We find we have more time for these things and also tending to them makes us feel better.
  • Aging can be a difficult time.  Our bones ache, our skin is wrinkling, our middles are getting wider, our memories dimming, and our spirits may need uplifting.
  • The bathroom can be a place to compose ourselves and do the things that will make us feel better.  It truly can be a sanctuary.

Features of a Comforting Bathroom for retirement

  • Separate Shower from tub with seat
  • Soaking Tub
  • Lots of Storage
  • Products
  • Lighting 
  • Seating
  • Double sinks and lots of room around them for soaps, candles and accessories
  • Elegant accessories that remind us of luxury
  • Tiles that create an atmosphere
  • Fragrance, oils, creams, sprays, bath salts
  • Space and airiness 
  • A window 
  • Ventilation, heating
First of all, what makes a great bathroom.  For that I went to some top builders to see what they are doing with their bathrooms.    Most builders will agree that function is inherent but you want to go to the next level and create something beautiful and luxurious. 

There are many elements to use to do this.  If you don't have a knack for color or design, don't worry.  When you purchase your new home, your best "friend" is the builders' design centers.  The professionals there can help you put it all together.   Here is a video from Toll Brothers Design Studio:

Think of what mood you would like to create.  This is a smaller room so it is easier to furnish.   Since it is a small room, think spacious.    Make sure you have shelf space, an airy feeling, a large bathing area, and storage areas for products, towels, etc.

I personally find a white shower curtain brightens the space.    

After my yoga class, I get into the soaking tub at home.  I have a few favorite fragrances that I choose from and put in the tub as it fills.  One is a "restorative" oil that smells good and moisturizes the skin.  It is composed of sweet orange, lavender and rose geranium oils.   It is best for a cold day when ones skin feels extra dry.  

The other is a product I purchase regularly at a farmers' market.  It is layered with bath salts, epsom salts, goat milk powder and dried calendula and rose petal flowers.  It smells really good and it's very relaxing.   Muscles can be sore after exercising and tub soaking after exercise is a routine I really enjoy.  It also helps me to sleep.  Find a natural product to add to the bath and you may find, like me, that a good soaking tub is something you don't want to be without. 

Look at photos in magazines and Pinterest for ideas to make your bath an elegant and soothing place to be any time you want to renew your spirit. 

If you are putting your home up for sale, an inexpensive improvement to the bathroom might be a fresh white shower curtain (the Pottery Barn has a white waffle one) or a new shiny sink faucet.  Costing more would be to add granite counter tops.   

Builders Improvements from Querying Customers

Del Webb lists the following new improvements to select homes:

  • Raised dishwashers
  • Lowered microwaves
  • Flex rooms
  • Spa-like Owners Baths
Builders are doing a lot of research to find out what buyers want.  Taylor Morrison NextAdventure communities asked:

1) Where to live
2) What the home offers

"Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation" Summary:

Top community features:

  • Prefer suburbs over city
  • Near retail
  • Near park or walking and jogger spaces
  • Has a lake
  • Maintenance
  • Pool
  • Exercise Room

My View of What to Look For:

When I look at communities, I want to find something new, edgy, imaginative, the next big thing.

Which builders will thrill us to where we say: "I want that," and that something goes to the top of the list of things people want.  

I remember when granite counters first appeared in model homes and how much excitement they created.   That's what I mean. 

Two coming communities of special interest:

  • Coming:  Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach, Florida is creating excitement.  The sales office is planned to open later in 2017 and homes not ready until 2018, but already 10,000 people have registered as being interested. 

It will be a large community fashioned after the popular The Villages in central Florida, with a twist.    The Minto Group is the  builder and is partnering with the Margaritaville brand.  This will be their first retirement community together with plans for more.

This may be the start of a brand new kind of retirement community.  I will know more after I visit, but it sounds like a creative idea, and maybe offering something many boomers are looking for:  a lot to keep them busy and having fun in their retirement years. 

  • Coming:  Del Webb at Rancho Mirage in California - Somehow the image of Del Webb at a very high-end community like Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs, is another concept that peaks my interest.   
Prices aren't out yet.  That will be one to watch since Del Webb usually is in the medium price range.  Although I have noticed a trend to a more upscale profile with their communities in California. 

More interesting communities to watch:

  • Florida

  • Coming:  La Morada by WCI - WCI is now part of the Lennar family of homes.  This new community is coming to Naples.  I always thought WCI had beautiful communities and building one in upscale Naples is an exciting combination for me.   I can't wait to see what they do. 
Discovery Days Deal in Florida:  Solivita in Kissimmee, Central Florida:  3 days and 2 nights for $129.  This is another popular Florida community.

  • California

  • Heritage Vineyard Creek in Sacramento by Lennar.  They have a plan with casita and their Grand Opening was March 4th.  Homes priced in $300's and $400's.

  • Maryland: 

  •  Much anticipated, Bay Bridge Cove on the Eastern Shore, and just over the Bay Bridge,  has a Grand Opening March 25th.  Villa homes priced in the $300's.   Please call to verify Opening by calling 215-600-4871.  Closed Wednesdays.  

  • New Jersey:

  •  Three new communities coming to Ocean County, New Jersey:  Venue at Lighthouse Station and Seacrest Pines in Barnegat, and Lennar at Lake Ridge in The Pines, now open.


New Sponsor:  We are happy to announce that we have a 2nd sponsor of our website.  In addition to Indian River Colony Club in Viera, Florida, we now have Kolter Homes Cresswind Active Adult Communities.

Cresswind community homes are gorgeous, very popular and located in all our favorite retirement states:   Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.  Wherever you see a Cresswind community, you'll do yourself a favor to check it out.  

There are many more new and coming up 55 plus communities.  See them all on the website:


World of Retirement Communities: News and Events

Stay informed about exciting happenings in the world of retirement communities.  

This feature will be updated monthly.  

Festivities, parties, guest speakers, guest performances and more are frequent events at 55+ and active adult communities.  Many are open to the public and free.  They advertise the community to guests or they are regular community activities that happen to be open to the public.

Please verify all information before going to communities.  Visit their websites for up-to-the-minute information.

March 2017:

The March Newsletter is out.  March is the beginning of Spring and things start to get going in real estate.   I am so happy to see so many new and exciting 55+ communities.  This could be the best year yet!  Read the March newsletter to find out where they are.

February 2017:

Go here to read the Monthly Retirement Community News for February.   💕💕💕💕

Happy Valentine's Day!  Celebrate Valentine's Day and other events.  Want inspiration:  Read our new feature article we link to and other informative notes for this mid-winter month.


January 2017:


Happy New Year!  🌅

New communities are popping out like flowers after a spring rain.  There is a shortage of 55+ housing, so builders are interested in building for this segment of the home buying public.

We look forward to another great year for buyers and sellers.  There are more communities than ever!  More seniors retiring (or not) and not enough communities for 55+.   They are so popular!  We have been busy listing all the new communities on our website.

Communities in the South are more popular than ever!

Winter is the time of year when seniors visit warmer states in the South.  Traffic on our website to the following states picks up considerably:  All parts of  Florida,  California, Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, and north carolina. 

Read our new blog article about communities coming soon in 2017 to mild-climate states.  

 Low Income Communities

Interest in low-income apartments has increased lately as prices of homes and rentals continue to rise.  While luxury apartments for the boomers is the main focus of our site,  we have 7 pages of low-income 55+ communities for people who meet the income requirements. 

Topic:  Cooking Again

If you don't want to eat restaurant food on a daily basis (which has more salt and sugar you don't want), then you must learn some cooking tips. 

1)  I recently came across this one:   Microwave Mug Muffin

Have you heard about that?  I recently saw a video about how to do this.  Having tried it, I love it!  Making one muffin is so fast and easy!  Using a basic recipe, I have made chocolate, chocolate chip; ginger blueberry; eggnog; apple and more.  You can use your imagination on this.  But the chocolate one is the best, I think.   Here is the video of Dr. Gundry demonstrating.  I think you would love it (and he also has a great book called Diet Evolution.)

2)  Also Shea Homes has terrific videos from its Trilogy Top Chefs.  Trilogy is the name of their communities for 55+.

Incentives to Buy

The year-end savings events have ended.  You need to ask as some have been continued.  You need to ask communities about incentives as they are not always advertised on their websites.

Visitor Stay prices are usually lower in winter except for states like Florida.  Check it out.  


December 2016:

This is the month to look for year-end incentives.  Builders are anxious to sell their inventory before year-end.  Some great deals are being offered on move-in ready homes. 

Also, this month look for Christmas and Holiday Festivals.  Communities may be closed on Christmas Day so call first.  Check your favorite community to see what is happening. 

Many model homes will feature Christmas decorations. 



I spent Thanksgiving with my oldest daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandchildren.  Guests were my son-in-law's brother, wife and child.  My youngest daughter lives in California and couldn't be there.  But both girls have outstanding cooking abilities and interest.   In addition my son-in-law does too.  

The kitchen was swirling with happy sounds, delectable fragrance and joyful curiosities.  My daughter and her husband do not cook turkey for Thanksgiving every year.  This year they decided to have a menu of enticing Indian food.  The following were cooked to perfection:

  • Dal Makhani
  • Chana Punjabi
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Curried cauliflower and sweet potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Naan
  • Basmati rice pilaf
  • Raita
  • Pecan and berry pies with whipped cream or ice-cream

It was delicious.  Next year they are thinking of cooking Italian.  I forgot to take a photo of my dinner plate but I did get this one with leftovers the next day:
Indian Food Leftovers after Thanksgiving

My daughter cooks a truly great pie!
Cooking is truly a great passion in their house and their kitchen is so organized!  This made me think to add the following:

What Makes A Great Gourmet Kitchen 

You often see communities in their marketing saying a home feature is a gourmet kitchen.  But what do they mean by that.  Maybe their kitchens have some or all of the following that makes it gourmet.

  • It flows - you feel good cooking in there
  • It has room to store appliances, bowls, pots and pans
  • It may have a kitchen island for extra countertop space
  • It should have granite or quartz countertops
  • It has stainless steel appliances -- preferably energy-saving
  • Lots of storage, maybe a pantry (room for salad spinner, tools, pots and pans)
  • A gas stove, overhead fan, modern dishwasher (there are some pretty fancy new models)
  • Large sink including faucet with pullout sprayer  
  • Customized drawers with sliding shelves, lazy susans etc.
  • Spacious for people to move around easily
  • Microwave, blender, mixer, electric toaster, coffee making station
  • Plenty of outlets for devices and area for charging phones, computers

Their kitchen has all of the above and more.  Again, I forgot to take photos.  But their kitchen is truly gourmet and a pleasure to work in.  Can you add anything to the list.  Let me know and we'll discuss further next time. 

New on the website:  

Mobile Phones:  Check out our site on mobile phones.  We think we have one of the best sites for retirement communities to navigate on mobile phones.  You can move up and down the page easily by clicking Navigation and Return to the Top of page.  Our Table of Contents and Map are at the top along with our new feature Newest Communities Chart.  Our Most Popular Communities feature is at the bottom of the page.  And if you want to see all categories for that state page, go to Navigation where its located at the bottom of the page.  And thank you for visiting us.

What features would you like us to have to make your use of mobile phones more efficient for looking for retirement communities.  Please let us know if there is something that would improve your experience on mobile phones. 

Lower-Priced Floor plans

One thing I have observed lately is that many communities are adding a small square footage plan to their floorplans.  This is very welcome. 

As prices are increasing, many buyers are being priced out of the market--a very sad thing.   H
appily, many builders are offering a new floor plan priced under $250,000 or under $200,000.   So keep checking for new floorplans, if this is your concern. 


This has been a solid trend all year.   Incentives aren't always advertised or there may be additional ones to the advertised ones.   Sign up on community websites for updates and you may get the information in an email.  I have found the updates very helpful. 

Incentives are most strong during December in order to reduce the builder's inventory before year-end.  Check it out!   

    RV Information:

    Keep up with trends.  John Burns Real Estate Consulting offers a great article for RV enthusiasts.  

    Also, see their article about 55+ apartments.

    Getaways with Visitor Stays:

    Winter is a good time to take a few days  and view communities with Visitor Stays.   Check the individual communities to see if they have offers to visit.  If the community is closing out usually these offers are withdrawn. 

    Del Webb has frequent "Explore Del Webb" stays.  There is a list here of Del Webb communities with visitor stays.  Try stringing a few together.

    For those considering a Shea Trilogy community, they have released a list of Trilogy communities with "Taste the Good Life"  overnight stays, a good way to explore.  They are:
    • Vistancia - Arizona
    • Encanterra - Arizona
    • Ardiente - Nevada
    • Monarch Dunes - California
    • Polo Club - California
    • Ocala Preserve - Florida
    • Orlando - Florida
    • Lake Norman - NC
    • Lake Frederick - Virginia

    Florida Short-Term Seasonal Rentals:  

    Snowbird Tip:  If you missed out on traditional apartment-type seasonal rentals, consider RV communities.  Many have units to rent for the season (Nov. thru April).  Units can be park models or cottages.  You can rent by week, month or season.  These communities have luxury amenities and are in great locations.  You can find lists of 55+ RV Communities and RV-Florida communities on my website.

    California and Arizona also have seasonal RV rentals.


    As rents continue to rise, we have noticed increased interest in Low Income Housing on our website. 

    Builder Websites: 6 Reasons to Visit the Community or Company Website

    • Showing incentives and special offers
    • RSVP for events offered to the public  
    • Registering to be updated on communities
    • New communities Coming
    • Blog Articles
    • Events Pages

    New Communities Coming in the New Year:

    Regatta Landing in Windstar on Naples Bay on the West Coast of Florida.  Starting low $500's. 2399-231-4381

    Bridgewater at Viera by WCI in Melbourne, Florida.

    Oasis Daytona in Daytona, Florida

    Venue at Princeton - New Jersey

    Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes - St. Augustine, Fl. - From $200's.

    Valencia Bay in Palm Beach County, Fl. by Minto.  From upper $400's.

    Four Seasons at Parklands in Florida - Grand Opening Model Event Nov. 5th. - By K Hovnanian - From low $300's.

    Bay Bridge Cove - Maryland's Eastern Shore by McKee Homes

    Cresswind Charlotte opening in 2017 by Kolter

    Regency at Palisades by Toll also in Charlotte, NC

    Regency at White Oak Creek by Toll in Apex, NC

    What's Happening at Communities:


    Trilogy at Verde River:

    Homes starting price in upper $400's.   Only new golf community in North Scottsdale.  Model homes now open.  Appointments recommended.  Open Daily - times vary - New golf improvements open Nov. 5th to the public.
    17427 East Desert Vista Trail, Rio Verde (near Scottsdale)  

    Available:  Designer quick-movein homes - options hand-picked by design team.

    Verify all events before going 800-685-6494. (Note: I have found Shea Homes readily answers their Trilogy customer service phone number.)

    Trilogy at Vistancia in Peoria:

    Homes are priced from low $200's.  Try Before You Buy Program for $399 3 nights and 4 days (see rules).  Just released second round of homesites.  New Focus Collection features a sliding glass wall.

    • FYI Vistancia has a very active bicycle club and features expert knowledge of the surrounding trails.
    • Named the best 55+ community by "Best in American Living" awards. 
    • This community has the Alvea Spa.
    • Move-in ready homes are available with designer touches.

    Victory at Verrado at Buckeye:  

    Now Open - from upper $300's.

    They have had their first grape crushing event at their working vineyard.  Will do it again in 2017 if you missed it.

    They have a calendar listing public events.   They also feature monthly wellness talks.   Call 623-399-9001 for questions about upcoming events..  

    The Victory community is on the list of "Ten Hottest Neighborhoods," recently published by Phoenix Magazine.  

    Arizona Travel Feature:  If you'll be in Arizona, Maracay Homes has an excellent calendar of events for major communities around Arizona.   Maracay Homes has a new 55+ community in Victory at Verrado - From $370's.

      Sun City Festival:

      Del Webb's 55+ community in Buckeye - You can experience the lifestyle for only $59+/night  (see rules--rate subject to change).   Day pass or overnight passes.   Starts from very low $200's.

      Good offer:  3 night stays for $59 a night plus tax (verify).  (First-time visitors only.) Offer good until end of year.   Price range for homes start $200's.

      Del Webb still has their incredible offer to save $20,000 on move-in ready homes in Arizona (Phoenix and Tucson areas) if closes by Dec. 31. (Please verify information for this offer.)  

      Phoenix Magazine has an article listing its "Top Ten Hottest Neighborhoods for 2020"  

      There are two 55+ Communities on their list:  Encore at Eastmark by AV Homes and Victory at Verrado.

      Also interesting to note:  they reveal that there will be a new Apple Headquarters coming to the Mesa area in 2016-2017.


      Good article on Tucson 2015 market trends.  The economy, prices of homes, employment and more.


      Trilogy at Vineyards - Northern California (East Bay):
      By Shea Homes   Priced from low $500's.

      For events at your favorite Trilogy communities read their Events Blog.

      Trilogy at Rio Vista - Northern California - less than an hour to San Francisco

      Saturday, Dec 3rd - 11-2 - Winter Celebration - festive food and drink at The Tour Center.  They are in their final phase.  See quick move-in homes.  RSVP online for this community in a great location with San Francisco less than an hour.

      Saturday, Dec. 17th - 11-2 - Santa Claus visits - Holiday treats, arts and crafts and visit Santa.  RSVP Online - Prices from high $200's.


      Florida has the best prices.  Can't complain about these prices at communities in Florida:

      Del Webb under $200,000:

      Del Webb Stone Creek - $159,990
      Del Webb Orlando - $170's
      Cypress  Falls at the Woodlands - $170's
      Del Webb Naples - $190's

      Many more builders have communities less than $200,000.  See all 12 of Best Guide's Florida pages starting here at East Coast Florida.

      Trilogy Orlando by Shea Homes

      Many outstanding events occur at this community.  Call to see which ones are open to future residents.  Homes from upper $100's.

      Quick Move-In Homes:     Every Saturday 1-4 Live music on the patio.   Verify from sales consultant.

      Note:  Lake Nona - Coming a world class tennis center (USTA) with 100 tennis courts to Orlando area.  For more information contact USTA.

      Tradition community in Port St. Lucie - Will build a new VA Nursing home in Florida.  This will be the seventh in Florida.

      Interesting to Note:  Del Webb has listed their states and communities that have a loft feature.  Lofts are great if you often have out-of-town guests to give them a private space.  They are also handy for having an extra space for an office or even storage.  Lots of uses.  The following states have communities with loft plans in a Del Webb home:  Connecticut, Florida, Georgia,  Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North and South Carolina,  and Texas.

      Del Webb Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota area 

      Model Homes and Sales Center now open - Designated a Top 50 master community -  Homes priced from $220's. 

      Del Webb Stone Creek in Ocala

      A new phase called Sandalwood with golf, pool, spa and recreation.  Stone Creek starts as low as mid-$100's and is one of the largest active adult communities.  This gated community's fishing pier and softball are now open.  

      New:  Grand Opening of their RV Park and Boat Storage.  See their website for limited time offer on receiving Flex Cash on Stone Creek homes.

      Also, they have a visit tour.

      Del Webb has a new community coming soon in St. Augustine.

      Indian River Colony Club - Melbourne - (predominantly members of the military)

      IRCC has a great golf getaway package for 3 days/2 nights -  Call for details - Did you know this community is on 453 acres with 28 lakes featuring wildlife and gorgeous sunrises. Visit now!  1936 Freedom Dr., Viera - 877-509-9532

      New or Coming Florida communities:

      • K Hovnanian Four Seasons at Orlando - coming soon to Kissimmee - Join the Interest List now for updates.
      • Regatta Landing in Windstar on Naples Bay on the West Coast of Florida.  Starting low $500's. 2399-231-4381
      • Bridgewater at Viera by WCI in Melbourne, Florida.
      • Oasis Daytona in Daytona, Florida
      • Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes - St. Augustine, Fl. - From $200's.
      • Valencia Bay in Palm Beach County, Fl. by Minto.  From upper $400's.


      Del Webb at Lake Oconee - Greensboro
      Direct access to lake with boat ramp.  Call or visit the sales office 1001 Muscogee Way, Greensboro. 866-433-5932 

      Windsong Homes
      Newest community is called Serenade.  Only 41 ranch homes in this ideal location priced from mid $300's.   


      Kent Island:  A new 55+ community coming soon to Kent Island in Maryland's Eastern Shore.  Bay Bridge Cove By McKee Homes.  From low $300's. (verify all information)

      New Jersey

      Good value in a new phase of "Liberty Square at Wesmont Station" in Wood-Ridge, NJ.  Townhomes for a commute to NYC starting from $370's. 

      New York Long Island

      Some great new communities selling fast on Long Island.  See the Long Island 55+ communities page on our website.   We also have pages for apartments and low income housing on LI.

      A great deal on Long Island if you qualify for income-restricted properties:   The Villas at Meadowbrook Pointe - Start price $289,000!  Townhouse start at $327,000. 

      We reviewed an apartment community recently called Westbrook Village.  It is located on Long Island, NY.  Read our review of this 55+ apartment community.

      New Mexico

      Mirehaven by Del Webb:
      See the model homes and learn about the special features of the  lifestyle of the new Sandia Amenity Center.  Unique desert architectural design.  Homes priced from $230's.    9205 Del Webb Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM  

      North Carolina

      Trilogy Lake Norman - Denver, NC - homesites selling quickly -  7505 Highway 73, Denver NC

      Recurring Events:  Wine Down Wednesday - 2nd Wednesday of the month - RSVP 704-812-9000 

      They have a new tour center at 6844 Shoal Creek Dr., Denver NC

      New Floorplan under $250,000  (Community Pricing from $239,000 to upper $300's.) - yay!  Probably won't last long.

      December Hard Hat Tours:  For a short time when you tour their new Trail Collection, you can receive a lunch on them.  Call to schedule your tour at 800-685-6494. 

      December 10th:  Be entertained at the Model Home by H C Oakes Duo - acoustic guitar music - Mini desserts and more - no RSVP necessary. 

      Main tourist attraction in area:  The Biltmore.


      Regency at Hilltown by Toll Brothers - Bucks County

      This new community of 268 carriage homes is now open daily.  This is in a rare location for 55+ communities.  By Toll Brothers.  Price from upper $300's.  In Perkasie.  See the news article.


      Sun River St. George Resort-style community: 

      Offers a 2-night, 3 days Discovery Tour in a designer villa for $99! (verify) 877-322-0903.
      On-going special events.

      See their blog for many events.


      Trilogy Lake Frederick (120-acre lake in Northern Virginia)

      This is a sleeper!  I enjoyed my visit to this community so much!  See my review.   A good way to visit is at one of their events.  They always have a full calendar of events.  Call the rep for details and the best one to attend at 540-508-2020.

      Trilogy Lake Frederick now has the 360 degree interactive tour on their website (


      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone. 

      Thank you for visiting us this year.  We look forward to another outstanding year for 55+ communities in 2017.  Read all about them on our website,

      Go to our website for all the new communities!