Monday, February 16, 2015

One Possible Exit Strategy to Fulltiming…

As we near the end of our fourth year fulltime Rving we are always on the hunt for where we might want to settle down once we give up the full timing gig that we are so enjoying. With that in mind one of the states we have grown quite fond of is Arizona. I have always been a desert person and feel the most beautiful desert in the United States is the Sonoran Desert found throughout the state of Arizona.

We really have no idea what we want to do as an exit strategy but one possible scenario is living in an active adult community. We do know that whatever we do after RV’ing we plan to remain very active. It made sense that since we are in the middle of one of the retirement meccas (the other being Florida) we thought we might explore some of the retirement communities nearby. Besides our legs needed some recuperating from the grueling hike up Camelback Mountain.

After an online search we found the Robson Community web site. They have several retirement communities in the USA and since they have one in west Phoenix (near Goodyear) and one in nearby (more remote) Eloy, Arizona we decided to check these two places out. As an extra bonus they both offer a free lunch along with the tour of their resorts and because they are both a good hour drive each way we felt the free lunch sort of paid for our gas there and back.

The first one we visited is called Pebble Creek which is an extremely large retirement community. We were told they have nearly 6,000 homes built and that nearly 60% of the resident’s that live there are permanent residents. This would be a factor if we planned to make it our permanent home.

The second one we visited was near Casa Grande in the smaller town of Eloy, Arizona. This is a much newer and more remote retirement community and as a result the residents are mostly seasonal. Even when fully built it will have only 4,000 homes but my guess is that would take another 20 or more years as this area is more rural and thus will appeal to fewer people.

At Pebble Creek, residents enjoy world class amenities including a 40,000 square-foot Country Club. There are two championship golf courses along with activity and craft spaces that will have something to offer to just about anyone's desires. Add their resort outdoor pool and spa, indoor lap pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor courts for tennis, pickleball and even a softball field all located on the premises there really isn’t anything we could think of lacking at this large community. Visits to the nearby White Tank Mountains with their local hiking and biking clubs, allow plenty to do outside the community as well.

Amenities in Robson Ranch are comparable but on a smaller and slightly less grandiose manner. They too have a golf course, resort style indoor and outdoor pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, a softball field, along with a recently opened creative arts center and clubhouse. In fact the day we scheduled our tour at the Ranch they were hosting the grand opening of the creative arts center and clubhouse.  Our sales agent, Steve Jones, gave us tickets to a 50’s tribute (the 56 band) band playing that afternoon. They had the best bass guitarist I had ever seen. That kid was so energetic and fun to watch… As the Old Fat Man says we had too much fun! Steve was a great host and understood our motivation for visiting.  He gave a very thorough tour without any heavy sales pressure which made the visit all the more enjoyable.

Robson Ranch AZ 010Robson Ranch AZ 061Robson Ranch AZ 063

Our thoughts were that although Pebble Creek is more elegant and closer to big city amenities it is also maybe a bit too large for our tastes and it is priced on the upper end of what I plan to spend on our next home. Robson Ranch is considerably newer with fewer people. This is both good and bad… good in that we could get to know the residents better and bad in that we may encounter fewer people with similar likes and dislikes. We do both like the more rural setting that Robson Ranch had to offer and their homes were more within our price range. If interested in this Resort we would highly recommend you visit with him.

Having lived in 440 square feet for the past four years most of the homes in both communities are simply too large for our future needs. Both of these locations have recently begun to build what they call Lock and Leave Villas. They are designed more for seasonal residents and are much smaller. Our favorite units were of the villa type and our very favorite was one of the villas that was less than 1300 square feet (still a large place to us now). HOA fees are higher for the villa (about $375 per month) but included hazard insurance, exterior room and paint and landscaping making it easy to leave the area during the very hot summers for an escape to the cooler mountains.

While we are not ready to quit RV’ing anytime soon this was certainly enlightening as we toured what could be our future home…

20 comments:

  1. Great fun to see both these communities. I do love that living room with the pumpkin wall! I would want the opportunity to get away in the summers as well, and another thing that always comes to mind when thinking about the Sonoran desert is the water situation. How long will it last? Probably long enough for our lifetimes, I would suppose, but I would check into the water supply before I bought anything in that part of the world. Golf courses do suck it up a lot. We have friends who live in Tucson and love it

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    1. Yes, water is a serious limiting factor when buying out west... I am pretty sure I don't need a golf course in my community even though they are great for walking and also it is nice seeing green in the desert...

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  2. All your photos show a beautiful place. AZ would be the place we would probably put down roots if Carrie weren't in Houston and the rest of our family in Ohio. I am a family gal and have to be around them for a few months at least.

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    1. we love family too just don't want to be in their back pocket...

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  3. Say it ain't so! Seriously, the water issues are HUGE, and getting worse. Decorating a house in thedesert is easy, everything goes with the three colors there - brown, brown, and brown. Almost every "retirement" community has the same or similar amenities. Sharon, do you really want to be so far from the ocean? What's better to hear as you drify off to sleep, scorpions mating or the waves crashing on the beach? Really? Say it ain't so guys!

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    1. Don't worry John we are just in the early vestiges of looking, nothing permanent yet... see you in Florida next winter!

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    2. John....you know me so well. The ocean speaks to my soul... however there is a charm here in Arizona as well. If we ever buy here I will urge you to visit so as to show you the allure!

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  4. We have RV friends who bought in the Del Webb community in Oro Valley just North of Tucson (and right outside Catalina State Park). They are constantly trying to entice us into buying in their community. Lots of nice amenities in a stunning location. While we are not ready to buy, it sure is fun to look!

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    1. We believe it never is too early to look, we never know when outside events take control of what we want to do!

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  5. Very interesting and informative post Heyduke. I just have such a hard time with the idea of going back to "ordinary" life and not having a new backyard every few weeks even though that is seriously looming in our future after nearly 5 years on the road.

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    1. Sherry we aren't rushing into "ordinary" life yet but as you so surely know we aren't always in control...

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  6. We sometimes talk about an exit strategy. But nothing serious yet. Always good to think a little ahead. Seems that is what you are doing.

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    1. Yep, Phyllis you have it figured out...

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  7. We would love to settle in Arizona, but being Canadian, we can still only do 6 months a year, just like we do now. Only with out the rv would work for us. The perfect place to be for us.

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    1. Lots and lots of Canadians have bought at both of these Robson resorts... it definitely works for them...

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  8. We too are on the hunt for our next S/B's. Not any time soon mind you but that is one of our goals over the next 10 years, find where we might want to live in the future. Have not found it yet but we are having a great time looking!

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    1. We agree with you Jim and Barb as we haven't found it yet but just looking helps to narrow down the possibilities...

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  9. It's always fun looking at new builds in exciting locations. I like the Arizona weather in the winter time but not so sure I'd be willing to purchase a 12-month home here. We know what the summers are like ... been here, done that. We have no idea what or where the future will find us.

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  10. Arizona is impossible in an RV in the summer time... But, once I got the sticks and bricks out here, the summer isn't so drastic.... Of course I have and outside AC the size of a small volkswagen.. But you really don't spend that much time outside in the afternoon during the summer... I did find that storage for the RV in the summer was really hard on it.. So if you were to keep the RV, it needs to be in covered storage during the summer months....

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  11. Since you came to our happy hour at Retama Village in the RGV, we have officially become half-timers. We bought a 750 square foot casita with an additional 750 square foot of outdoor (covered) living space. Like the coach house that we had, there is plenty of space to park (and hookup) the motor home next to the casita. Unlike our other place, the casita is a fully functioning house with an open floor plan --- decent sized bedroom, large walk in closet with washer/dryer, huge shower in the bathroom, amazing kitchen and combined dining/lounging area. Lots of tile, granite, and moderne appliances. Lots of light streams through the large windows and the french doors that open to the outdoor areas. Small landscaped back yard. We are still traveling half the year, but when we decide to stop we will have a single story easy to care for house and be surrounded by friends. I know that your experience at the adjacent RV park down here was not great, but I suspect that there are many places that have similar possibilities. Enjoy the hunt!

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