While any spot in The Villages® community is an ideal place to retire, there are a few things potential residents need to consider before buying a home here and moving to “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown”. Inside the Bubble has published a very in-depth article called “50 Things to Think About Before Buying a Home in The Villages® community” which includes various aspects to consider before moving to The Villages® community, and brings up excellent points if you’re up for some heavy reading.
Here, we’ve borrowed 5 of the list of 50 to give you a quick rundown of how to score your dream home in The Villages® community
- Noise, light, and odor “pollution” - Depending on the level of “hustle and bustle” in the city you’re used to, the noise, light and odor “pollution” factor is one that will make a real difference right away. Don’t get caught neglecting this potential impact on home enjoyment and then either have to live with the consequences for years to come, or move. Everyone can understand the traffic noise if you decide to buy next to a busy road (don’t forget the substantial traffic pick-up during the peak winter months). Some roadways are busier than others. The multi-modal paths are major golf cart arteries. County roads carry truck traffic in addition to cars. Now, some allowances can be made for the construction traffic during new neighborhood construction, as most of this should go away or move to a maintenance-only mode in the future. Be sure to pay attention to the “feel” of an area at various times of day before you choose your home.
- Type and size of home? - You’ve probably heard people say that the average home buyer moves three times during their tenure here. This isn’t necessarily a documented fact, but most people that have been here awhile feel the number is reasonable.t would be worthwhile to get out a piece of paper and create a list sorted into must-have and nice-to-have columns. Also list the constraints and issues preventing you from satisfying all of the musts and wants. It may be more than just money or first cost. If you buy something that is more affordable now but then later you spend lots of money trying to alter it to suit your true needs and wants; or if you have to suffer through a sale/move so you can undo your past mistake; then ultimately the lack of thoughtful decision making may cost you more than you saved initially. The pencil and paper exercise needs to have more than just three things listed — a full page of factors shouldn’t be considered unusual. Those that are so inclined can use a spreadsheet and actually use a weighted number decision-making approach. If this approach doesn’t fit with your personality type or abilities, think about soliciting the help of a family member or close friend to facilitate the exercise. Don’t be too proud and not ask for help — the decision-making process is just too important.
- Be sure to think about accessibility to town squares, shopping, major thoroughfares and roads, etc. When choosing your home location be sure to think about how easy it will be to travel via car or golf cart to your destinations of interest. Even though all neighborhoods may have conveniently located recreation centers, pools, and mail stations, you may find it quite a trek to drive your golf cart to the grocery store, drugstore, favorite town square, restaurant, etc. Some locations are somewhat remote to major artery streets so it may be quite a little journey just to get out of the neighborhood. Of course if your home is too close to a major thoroughfare you may be substituting convenience for privacy, noise and distractions. It’s something to think about.
- Covenants and Restrictions – Love ‘em or hate ‘em - There appear to be two schools of thought relative to the covenants and restrictions in The Villages® community. Some folks prefer strict rules and strict enforcement so as to keep uniform standards of appearance, order, cleanliness, and maintenance. Others just can’t understand what the big deal is with storage buildings, lawn ornaments, house paint colors, etc. It seems to infringe on their free will. The simple fact is you are choosing to buy a home in a development with strict covenants and restrictions. They are actually much looser than many communities, so they shouldn’t be too overbearing. North side areas don’t have exactly the same rules as the newer neighborhoods because the Developer learned along the way that a tightening of the rules was needed. Note that enforcement has been spotty until recently when new procedures were developed to levy fines on chronic offenders. There’s also a tip line to let folks “tattle on their neighbors”.
- Home orientation: face north, south, east, or west? - Many people fail to consider the orientation of their homes relative to how they intend to use the outdoor areas. Do you plan to spend a lot of time on the Lanai, or birdcage area? Some seasonal residents prefer to have the back of their house facing south, or maybe west, so they can use their outdoor areas to a greater extent during the cooler winter months. Other full time residents may want their primary use outdoor areas facing north, or possibly east, so they are able to find some shade during the heat of the day and/or primarily enjoy the morning sun. Or, they may want to bias to the west to enjoy the sunsets even though the hot afternoon sun can be a challenge. Be sure to think about the arc of the sun both in summer and winter. You’ll note that in many cases awnings, shades, or enclosed Lanais using heavily tinted windows will need to be used later to address sun/shade/usage patterns not initially considered during the initial home purchase.