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. Many people fail to consider the orientation of their homes relative to how they intend to use the outdoor areas.
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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. Or, they may want to bias to the west to enjoy the sunsets even though the hot afternoon sun can be a challenge.
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Be sure to think about the arc of the sun both in summer and winter. Have you lived on a golf course before? If so you may already know a lot of the following considerations. The view is what generally attracts people to golf course lots. In addition to the view you also can gain a measure of privacy that is scarce in the concentrated, dense layout of The Villages.
Here are some things to think about:. Talk about lively conversation, it can sometimes be quite colorful. You might even want to think about the fact that the grounds keepers may chose to cut the grass in the order the golfers will start teeing off in the morning. The noise can start quite early. This is where the balls from the right-handed slicers go.
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But, with our senior golfers in The Villages this could be really anywhere from yards on, and either side pulls and hooks go left for the righties. If you back directly up to a cart path the traffic can be noisy and privacy invasive. These can turn out to be odor sources and traffic distractions. On a lot of our courses there are buffer areas that are actually non-golf course property. These adjacent areas are maintained to different standards than the golf course fairway and rough areas.
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Just realize that for every perfect lot there are many others that are compromised in one way or the other, so chose carefully. Surely we can get some minor changes made to our new home during construction? The story plays out over and over again — the buyer wants to get an extra electrical outlet added somewhere, get a rough-in for a future summer kitchen addition, wants to add some extra lights in the garage, etc. Note that at any given point in time there is a very limited list of approved builders and subs being used to build homes. Ask lots of questions before you close, not after.
I know some people that bought their new home with the expectation that they would spend very little money after moving in, with the exception of maybe window treatments and a few new furnishings. After all, they have a bright and fresh new home, the yard and landscaping is complete, so all they have to do is unpack and hit the golf course or pickelball courts — right? After all, some feel they just need a place to sleep — all the fun is outside of the home. Often the list grows and grows with lots of small follow-on projects being completed over time. OK, maybe the high end is reserved for substantial building additions, major pool projects, etc.
You can see how the list can grow and grow. And, you may also want all new furniture! Resales may be less burdensome if the previous homeowner has already completed a number of these projects to your liking. Add birdcages, summer kitchens, spas, pools, etc to your home purchase, or add later? If you contract after closing you may save some money and you may get to influence what you get for your money. But, having said that, contracting for anything other than the most basic project, say a simple birdcage area, can be much more difficult than you might first imagine.
There are limited choices of contractors for pools and spas, and summer kitchen design options often lack vision. You can get really nice projects completed, but these will be directly related to your own ability to do the work necessary to visualize, communicate, and negotiate with the few truly qualified contractors able to perform the work.
Pay particular attention to whether the contractor uses architects or engineers to design the project. Some are able to get a building project with minimal documentation and simply engineer-on-the-fly as they go. Things like adequate electrical outlets, lighting, hose bib relocations or additions, matching original construction materials and fixtures, paint quality, roof shingle match, etc is often not optimum. For certain needs and budgets the convenience of adding it into The Villages purchase may be attractive to some people.
Some people explore all sorts of building addition projects after the closing.
Not really, but you will be surprised by how much it does cost to add a small room addition, summer kitchen, bathroom, etc. Sometimes the bids are valid, other times they may reflect the ability or inability of a given contractor to properly design, engineer and estimate your job. Pick your contractors carefully — there is quite a range of professionalism across the contractor network. Lots of questions and discussions with friends and neighbors, checking out referrals, etc. Shop wisely! Most contractors never seem to complete a project when they say they will. The way it often works is it takes longer than it should to get a bid, and then it takes at least 30 days to get the building permit and ARC Architectural Review Committee approvals.
After the approvals the contractor may in fact move onto the job and start a little work. Then they seem to disappear for days on end. Often contractors overcommit and under-deliver as they spread their resources across multiple jobs. Many small contractors do little work themselves so they are always at the mercy of other subcontractors, who are also probably spreading themselves too thin. Good project planning, organizing, and project management skills are lacking. Just be prepared for this situation to play out if you decide to tackle a project.
If you actually get your medium to larger projects completed in 60 to 90 days consider yourself to be very lucky. Smaller, simpler jobs like a straightforward landscaping job, on occasion, can and will be fast tracked.
I know you feel that since you are hiring a legitimate contractor everything will be done correctly and you can simply head off to golf, pickleball, or tennis. Too many times a project progresses with shortcuts taken, mistakes made, or often details are left out that will enhance your use of the project down the road.
Get this type of knowledge from others who used this contractor and who actually provided lots of customer oversight. It started as a simple basic subscriber funded no ads printed booklet that came out monthly. Now it has gone web based. Unfortunately, in The Villages we must depend primarily on word of mouth, blogs, the Home Warranty Department and Seniors vs. Crime an volunteer organization that helps keep track of fraud and crime directed towards senior citizens etc. We need something better, but for now, definitely check out Seniors vs.
Crime, get multiple references, check out other jobs performed by the same contractor, etc. And, definitely do not give any contractor money up front. On some large projects progress payments may make sense.
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The contractor may have finished the work for the price quoted, generally on time, and may have been courteous. But to the educated eye they may have cut corners, used somewhat inferior materials or methods, or simply not performed at a quality level commensurate with a craftsman level of quality. It may be OK, and in fact may be all that is really required to meet the needs of the homeowner, it would just be better if this level of quality were put into the context of average or mediocre quality so the homeowner understands what they got for their money.
This may be worth considering even though you initially may feel that part of the reason to move to Florida is to enjoy the outdoors. Also, the wind seems to come from a different direction every day so the Lanai space and Lanai furniture suffer from dust and blowing rain.
If you truly want to enjoy your Lanai space you may want to consider a range of improvement options. Chances are, once you complete one of these projects you will find that quiet time on the Lanai may exceed the awake time spent indoors. If you think you might be one of the people that enjoy this enhanced space then maybe stretch your thinking and finances just a bit so as to get maximum benefit. Some of these projects even include removing the sliding doors between the house and the Lanai. Other people may choose some sort of sliding window or door arrangement that allows the space to be opened up as desired with screens or a birdcage serving this purpose.
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Part of the decision-making equation might be related to size of the Lanai and your view, or lack thereof.