Living in a 55+ Community

When we decided to downsize and return to California, we had hoped to purchase a single family home when the housing market took a brief dip. But the dip didn’t last long enough and by time we were ready to make the move prices had already begun to escalate.

We searched out some of the houses on the multiple listing sheet we acquired from a broker. We drove around and looked at the exterior of numerous houses. And we quickly discovered that the houses we could (barely) afford, were not houses we wanted to live in.

So….on to Plan B. Plan B was to look at manufactured housing options in 55+ mobile home communities. In my mind there has always been some kind of negative stigma about living in this kind of community, but in the city where we wanted to live, the mobile home parks were quite nice…clean, quiet, and well maintained.

We settled on a nice park that had an empty lot and only 3 miles from the beach. Perfect! We took a tour of the plant where they manufacture the homes and we were sold. These homes are built better than stick built homes and we could even get home that resembled a Craftsman-style house. What could be better?

It took much longer than expected to work out all the details on the home and for it to be built. But the day finally came when our new home arrived to our lot. It came in two parts and had to be put together. It caused quite a stir in the community here, with lots of onlookers watching as it was delivered and set into place. I guess there’s not a lot of excitement around here, so watching the home being delivered was cause for celebration!

Now that we are finally living in our new home, I have to say that for the most part I love it. Our previous home in Pennsylvania was a 4 bedroom colonial with a full basement on .75 acres. We now have a three bedroom home that is all on one floor. There is no yard to speak of. The main regret for me is that there is no garage, but only a driveway wide enough for a single car. So we have to park the cars one behind the other and that means a lot of juggling the cars back and forth.

Overall, yes its nice here and its very quiet. I think some of the more elderly folks who live here are very set in their ways. We haven’t met too many of them yet. They have a tendency to stay inside their homes.

We went to a couple of holiday dinners in the clubhouse. We discovered that most of the folks are rather cliquish and don’t seem to be too welcoming to new faces. So we may forgo any more of those social events unless we know some of our more friendly neighbors are going to be attending too.

Overall, I would recommend living in this type of community if you want to downsize and simplify. But unlike living in a single family home, there are lots of rules to follow and it is very high density. There are plenty of friendly folks around, but you have to be assertive to find them and get involved. Otherwise, it could be a lonely place.

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