moving to Florida

Old Sep 1st, 2016, 08:09 AM
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moving to Florida

We are senior citizens looking to move to a retirement community in Florida in about two years and want to know the places safest from floods and also best for health care. We are retired professionals on a limited fixed income wanting to buy a single story home.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 09:23 AM
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well, I'm not a Florida expert but two places with good health care that I don't think are highly prone to floods (or hurricanes as much as some other areas) are Jacksonville and Gainesville. Gainesville has an excellent hospital as part of U of FL plus a cancer and specialty hospital, and Jacksonville has a couple good ones, also, one a branch of Mayo CLinic.

I have a friend who lives in Gainesville and because it is inland, it isn't nearly as expensive as a lot of beach property cities for housing. SO if you don't care as much about the beach, that could work for you. I think she has a low-lying area near her house where rain can collect, but hurricanes are most common in the southern part of FLorida, it seems to me (SE or SW) or maybe the shore around Tampa/Sarasota. I don't know property costs in Jacksonville, but they have a good airport. Gainesville isn't too terribly far to Tampa airport. I know Gainesville also has areas prone to some flooding, but it is areas near the bodies of water (creeks and lakes).

A lot of FLorida has flood zones, however, as it is relatively flat, you have water all over, and it is also prone to hurricanes. But some parts are a lot worse.


that's my only ideas, I know lots of FL residents on here who can advise better, no doubt.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 09:31 AM
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It would be very helpful if you would tell us why you want to live in Florida and where you have visited that you liked.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 09:45 AM
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If you want to be in Palm Beach County I can recommend a few places. You can get a very nice 2-bedrorom plus den with water (not ocean) view and large balcony for the low $200,000. Included are many clubs, live theatre on site, and lots of sports facilities although not golf. Yearly taxes about $2,000. HOA about $500.

There are communities that market to professionals that a are quite nice although with no oceanfront. I went thru this myself not long ago and think I made a good choice although I am there only a few months a year. You do have to be willing to drive, though, although we have a few very good restaurants on a par with those in Manhattan.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 09:53 AM
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Gainesville is about two hours from Tampa, FYI.

Flooding in Florida is often caused by rivers and lakes, not only hurricanes, which is important to keep in mind.

But OP needs to give us a little bit more information. Do you need to be near a beach? Do you need it to be very warm all the time, or would you be OK with cooler weather in the winter? Florida is a very big state!
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 10:57 AM
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There are literally 100's, if not 1,000's of "single story home" retirement communities in Florida that have access to very good medical care and are in areas not prone to flooding. Some are on the east & west coasts others are in the interior of the state. Some are in the north and others are in the south. In short they are everywhere. Some, like The Villages (in central Florida) are large with over upwards of 30,000 residents (all senior citizens), several different golf courses, numerous tennis courts, multiple community swimming pools, on site shopping malls, dozens upon dozens of "clubs and activity groups" (if you have an interest or hobby they have a club for it).

Del Webb has multiple retirement communities throughout the state that while similar to The villages are on a smaller scale. You'll also find smaller communities built by smaller developers.

You need to let us know how large a home you are looking for and how much you are willing to spend on it. Also, what other amenities and activities are important to you. Do you want to be in an "over 55 community" or were you thinking of living in a non-retirement community?

You also mentioned you are on a "fixed income" but that could mean anything from say $50,000/yr to over $1,000,000/yr. It would help if you could give us some idea of what your income is. In other words, are you looking for a low end budget home or a higher end luxury home. There are communities for every budget.

My sister lives in one of the Del Webb communities in central Florida - she and her husband love it there.

Do a Google search using such topics as "Retiring in Florida, "Florida Retirement Communities", etc. and you'll find lots of links with helpful information.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 11:15 AM
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Do you want a retirement community with continuing care or do you want an adult community style. Big difference.
It sounds like you need to do a lot more investigating of styles.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 12:12 PM
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I live in Florida and my questions are

what age is "senior?"

define "retirement community" in terms of what it offers such as simply a bunch of people above a certain age or continuing care services on site

"safest from floods" can mean anything from "the highest ground possible" to somewhere NOT in Florida. You can be MILES away from the ocean or some lake and still be in a place which is prone to flooding from say, heavy rains

"best health care" are you talking about the availability of physicians willing to see Medicare patients or are you talking about being able to go to some "name" health care organization like Cleveland Clinic?

single story homes are everywhere down here as I am sure you know.

MY questions, with your self-described limited income: are you aware of how property taxes work down here? are you aware of the level of some condo maintenance fees? sales tax rates? utility costs? auto insurance rates?
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 12:49 PM
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All good points, and I wonder, too, have you ever been in Florida? I assume you have if you want to retire there, so what did you like and dislike about where you were?
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 12:53 PM
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More of the questions you need to consider:

What's your home-buying budget? As a general rule, homes inland will be cheaper than those nearer the coast.

What's your thinking about weather? Some people, for instance, move to the panhandle and then are disappointed to learn it gets chilly there in winter. Generally, as expected, the farther south you go, the warmer it is.

Flooding: Nothing's guaranteed, but once you get interested in a certain area, you'd need to do some research on 1. the historic incidence of flooding and 2, whether flood insurance is required. If no flood insurance is required, then generally the hazard of flooding is low.

Do you want city living? Beach? Golf?

In summary, I don't think you'll get a lot of help here until you focus more on some questions and describe your needs and wants more.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 01:16 PM
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I should have added in terms of home ownership: hazard insurance as well as wind insurance rates; wind mitigation features of any building you might wish to purchase.

And yes, as was pointed out, "the weather." "Cooler" up in the panhandle? try FREEZING on occasion.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 02:18 PM
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ugh, you really need to think about this. If you are serious look at New Smyrna Beach area. Spend a winter here first and see what you think. I have lived here since 87 and if I could convince my husband I would be moving to New York or Vermont. I think the summer just wears me out because it is so hot and unless you are in a pool or by the beach it is miserable for me. Hurricanes are not a big deal. The gulf gets it a lot worse than the east coast. I do think the cape protects us. I have only been hit by the ones that came into the gulf and across Fl. We have flood insurance but built our house up high. Viera, Fl has the nicest 55 plus developments but not cheap. Viera hospital is fair. On the plus side I do love December, January and Feb but never turned on heat last year. Very mild.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 03:07 PM
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I have never, ever turned on the heat; never had to. Being on the beach often means a cooling breeze but I can tell you from experience: 90 degrees and humid in Florida is pretty much like 90 degrees and humid elsewhere.

Hurricanes ARE a big deal WHEN they are headed toward your front door.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 04:45 PM
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Have you already spent full summers in FL? My moms B and SIL bought a beautiful house there not far from Gainesville after staying there for a couple of winters but after 2 full summers in FL they could';t take the heat/humidity any longer and moved back north where they could have 3 seasons.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 05:51 PM
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Ekscrunchy, I'd be interested in more information on the condos in Palm Beach County which you researched. We'll also be retired in a couple of years and plan to leave insanely-high-COL San Francisco. We'll be on a quite comfortable fixed income (which will be a lot more "comfortable" in Flirida than it would be in SF). We'd like to keep the price of a new home under $500K. If you prefer, you can email me at the same screen name at gmail.
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Old Sep 1st, 2016, 07:23 PM
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Wow!!! Lots of helpful responses and a lot to investigate. We have been looking on line at various retirement communities in the warmer climate states. We have spent many winters in Florida but never a summer. We are active seniors. I am 74 and my husband Wally is very healthy 81. We built a lovely log home on a beautiful lake in Minnesota where we kayak, sail and swim all summer. Wally is getting tired of the yard work and taking care of the docks and such and would like a simpler life. I have always lived near water and spend my summer days swimming and gardening. After we raised our family, we moved out here...we are quite far out in the country and I find it is getting a little lonely. Being active in church is about it for social life. When we sell our home we would like to buy a single level place outright so we will have little to no mortgage. At our age I suppose that's the only way we could do it. We do have pensions. I would say we are in moderate income level and are looking for a home priced about 160K. We have looked at Dell Webb. I like the looks of the Pulte homes. We are on Medicare with Medica insurance and have been fortunate to have excellent health care and dental care. I am a retired RN with my license still active and Wally is a retired engineer. We are looking for 2 bedroom/2 bath single story home and have looked in to some of these 55+ communities. There is so much out there that at times I just feel quite overwhelmed. That's why I came here seeking advice. We are tired of the ice storms and shoveling snow. We didn't want an area where water was coming short. We didn't think we would want to be in earthquake territory. We have been fortunate in not being flooded and I think that would be so devastating. We did experience straight line winds that took our roof one year...we had to gut the house and rebuild...made it hurricaine proof. Perfect for us would be on high ground by or on a lake. I love the sunsets we have out here .
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Old Sep 2nd, 2016, 04:22 AM
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Talk to someone knowledgeable about the advisability of making a major move to an unfamiliar place at ages 74 and 81.

In your price range and situation, look at The Villages, and be prepared to stay indoors most of the summer.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2016, 04:52 AM
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Thank you for your reply.

Personally, and from my own experience I rather doubt your "advanced" (give me a break, Vince) ages are going to be any sort of hindrance.

Earthquakes are unlikely down here; sinkholes? Given the porous limestone that underlies a lot of Florida, perhaps but don't stay away because of that.

Houses and other structures in Florida usually have to meet/exceed certain standards for decent insurance rates; there are particular requirements for how a roof is attached to a structure but that's one of the things you'll become an expert about.

In terms of places like The Villages, be very aware of the location in terms of winter temperatures (they'll be a LOT easier to deal with as opposed to what you are used to) in Central vs other parts of Florida.

It sounds as if you want something which includes grounds and other maintenance (fees can vary tremendously, believe me).

In terms of property taxes (remember, we have no state income tax and no inheritance taxes; sales taxes vary by county but figure 6% or more) here is a very general rule of thumb: figure you will probably pay approximately 2% of the purchase price in annual property taxes.

Unlike some places, real estate goes through a re-assessment whenever it is sold so all those ads about these fab houses in Florida on private islands and so forth and the property taxes of a few thousand dollars? Forget it. What the previous owner paid is not what YOU will pay.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2016, 05:40 AM
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My thoughts are based on my experience, and those of a number of friends with parents your age:

I would think twice about moving away from family. Your are independent right now, but that could change suddenly, and be difficult to deal with with family far away. Have you considered downsizing in your area to make it easier on you?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2016, 05:56 AM
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I'm not sure anyone can tell you which of the many adult communities is right for YOU. As I said earlier my sister lives in a Del (only one "l") Webb community in central Florida and she loves it. While it's a very nice community with some brand new and some fairly new houses and lot's of activities it's not someplace I'd like to live in (and I'm a retired senior citizen). Same with the Villages - it's a fine place but again not for me.

You really have to do first hand research to see if a specific community fits your lifestyle , needs and desires. What's right for me or other responders may not be right for you.

The thing is there are no RIGHT or WRONG places only different options. You have to choose the one YOU like not the ones other people like.
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