Can anyone out there tell me why we shouldn’t just sell our house and move into a gated community?
At our age, we’re no longer doing things ourselves that were required in the homeownership handbook. Now we hire someone to paint our rooms, clean our gutters and power wash our pavers. I don’t even own a lawnmower anymore.
My wife no longer tends to a vegetable garden and we took down the pool a few years ago. We even have a Roomba to vacuum every day. I enjoy sitting on my front porch or in my backyard gazebo with an adult beverage and smoking a cigar while I work on this column every week.
Please understand, I love my house and the freedom of not having to deal with anyone’s rules or restrictions. What I don’t need is all the aggravation and hard work that goes into getting our backyard ready for the summer.
Wouldn’t it be nice just to clean up the dinner dishes and head down to the clubhouse? There, an immaculate outdoor sitting area awaits with fire tables and a beautiful pool. There’s even a hot tub. Of course, Joe the Bartender is available to create your favorite concoctions or just bring a cooler filled with Coors Light.
Chances are you’ll run into neighbors as they join the festivities. Sometimes, there are games to be played or different types of themed evenings. It’s like being on a cruise ship except there’s no fear of sinking.
Are you having a problem with the air conditioning or plumbing? Don’t worry, just call “the guy,” who comes right over to take care of things. They cut the grass, plant flowers and even paint your house. And when it snows, who cares? They take care of that too.
Watching a football game on a Sunday afternoon by yourself in the living room is not the only option. Most of the guys in your fantasy league are probably down at the clubhouse bar watching the giant screen TV. Isn’t life grand?
There is a spa and gym available, and the clubhouse can be reserved for a private event. Organized trips allow residents to invite family and friends. And the best part? Everyone is at or around your age, as most of these communities are 55 and older.
Sounds more like a TV commercial than reality, doesn’t it? Community living may not be for everyone, but it seems to be working out for those who take the plunge.
My friend Matty and his wife have been living the life of a gated community member out in Suffolk County for several years now, after selling their home in Wantagh. They sat down and did the math, concluding that community living was less expensive than homeownership.
To be honest, I’ve never seen him happier, immediately making friends and melding into the community. The properties consist of two attached single-family homes with garages, basements and a second level. These units are not apartments. They are full-size homes. What you don’t have is a massive piece of property. Is owning property even necessary anymore? Each unit boasts a beautiful 10 x 20-foot outdoor deck for private use and then access to everything else on the property. It’s like being on vacation every day.
As I sit here enjoying the peace and tranquility of my backyard, I’m waiting for my Advil to kick in after 48 hours of bending, cleaning, lifting and washing. It took the better part of two weekends, but we’re finally ready to enjoy our backyard for the summer. Only we’ll have to break it all down again in October and pack it away.
Meanwhile, Matty has his toes in the heated pool as he sips a cold beer, telling jokes and relaxing in his newfound community. It makes me wonder why I’m not sitting next to him.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.