What's It Like Moving Into a 55+ Community?

Monday, July 31, 2023

What’s it like moving into a 55+ active adult community and being the new couple? Well, we recently had a chat with one of the newest residents at Spanish Lakes Country Club, Dennis Buttke, to find out. Originally from Michigan, Dennis and his wife have lived in South Florida since 2014, most recently Boca Raton. He has been in construction his whole career, and still works as a project manager.

The Buttkes had just closed on their new CBS home two weeks before this interview.

Spanish Lakes Country Club Village - Buttkes

Dennis, what made you choose Spanish Lakes Country Club?

The activities. My wife and I aren't retired yet, but we're staring down the barrel of it. We kind of looked at each other one day and said, “What if we were to retire tomorrow? I can go to the beach and go fishing and you can go shopping. So we looked into Spanish Lakes. I started poking around and looking for affordable active communities.

And we love pickleball. We aren't avid golfers, but we'll definitely take advantage of the golf course from time to time.

I assume [we'll be active in] the Michigan Club. We originated from Michigan, so we love euchre, pinochle, and all the entertainment. To me it seemed like a very sensible move.

How did you discover Spanish Lakes?

I was just on Realtor.com, kind of poking around and we started looking at Fairways and some of the really, really affordable, pre-owned homes. In the end, locking in the lot rent really sold us on [a] brand new [house].

Spanish Lakes Country Club Village - Walking on Road

Besides pickleball and golf, what other activities or amenities drew you in?

The evening activities - you know, there's euchre, again...That's kind of a Michigan thing. Pinochle is another game. We enjoy being with people and playing games and activities like that. I like bocce ball. I love to fish so I'll probably be throwing a few lures in the lakes around the community.

I understand there's some pretty good bass fishing in some of those. Rubber worm might be the ticket!

I hope so! I'll let you know.

So it's only been two weeks...Have you had a chance to participate in some of the community activities or events yet?

We have, actually. This past weekend, in the midst of all our unpacking and moving in, we made it over the pickleball courts. We played a few games and met a bunch of nice people.

Spanish Lakes Country Club Village - Pickleball

What would you say are some of the benefits of living in an active adult community compared to other housing options?

Well, moving up from Boca, we were in a very nice community–Whitehall–which is just a little condo. Great people, but all we had for amenities were two pools. That was it. When I walked through [Spanish Lakes Country Club] with Phyllis the first time we met her, and saw all the pool tables–I mean, I love shooting pool– again, from the Detroit area, that was a big pastime. It just seems to me that the list goes on and on of fun stuff that we can and will do while living here.

Have you made any new friends yet? I know you just moved in.

Both of our neighbors seem like very nice people. As a matter of fact, Dale and Karen next to us are also Michiganders - they're west siders, though, so it's not quite the same.

So you purchased a new concrete block home. Can you tell me a little bit about that process and were your expectations met?

Well. We probably got a little overzealous, but I can't say anything. We jumped on the first thing that was put in front of us, and it's a beautiful home. Like I said, great neighbors. The lot rent is right where I hoped it to be. Overall, the purchasing of the home...I have no complaints at all.

I'll tell you, Phyllis is top notch 100% from day one. From day one until after closing. I mean, she just has been exceptional every step of the way. I cannot say enough good things about Phyllis. She is above and beyond. As a matter of fact, after we closed we were kind of in a bind because we had closed on the sale on Monday and, having to get back to work and everything, we really begged to close on Friday. And we made a deal that we would close before the appliances were in. The appliances were to show up a couple of days later. And my wife and I were in a bind and we couldn't get there. And Phyllis actually went to our house and let them in and let them install the washing machine. That was a tremendous help. So like I said, even after closing, she went well above and beyond expectation.

[As a construction professional, Dennis also went into some lengthy comments about details of the way some of the plumbing and electrical work was done that were a little frustrating to him, but assured us that he was very pleased with the overall workmanship and attentiveness they received following the purchase of their new home].

What features do you like about the home itself?

We chose it because of the larger kitchen, and the golf cart garage. We were back and forth–like I think most people are–between the Carlton and the Windsor [model]. And we ultimately sacrificed the front porch lanai area for the third bedroom, the larger kitchen and the golf cart garage.

So taking the golf cart around…Is that one of the things you're looking forward to?

Oh, 100% yes! We picked it up last weekend. We went around shopping and ended up getting a nice used Club Car.

With all the moving in and settling in, have you had a chance to explore Fort Pierce or Vero Beach?

We kind of gravitated more towards Vero. Everywhere we go, we tend to go north. We've seen downtown Vero, that's a nice, cute little town. We've seen the newer area where you have Home Depot and Lowe's, Best Buy and everything. We've already picked out our favorite Mexican restaurant right there at the mall (Casa Amigos.)

What advice would you give to prospective buyers who are considering moving to Spanish Lakes?

Well, it's only been two weeks. But I have no regrets...Like I said, we are looking forward to really getting involved in all the activities. We are looking forward to ‘snowbird’ season. You know, it's going to be even more amped up.

Most people probably wouldn't care for our lot. I'm not really concerned with the lot. As a matter of fact, we have a little dog and we don't like him going around Florida waters. As beautiful as a nice lake lot would have been, to me it wouldn't have been worth the extra $200 a month.

What advice would I give prospective buyers? I would say deal with Phyllis. She was great.

How does Spanish Lakes fit with your retirement lifestyle and goals? You're still working, right?

We are. We plan on retiring hopefully sometime early next year. Like I said, what drew us to Spanish Lakes is the activities and the amenities that we can do at no additional cost.

I do think you're going to find a lot of friends. There’s almost too much to do, which is a good problem to have, I guess. ☀️

Spanish Lakes Country Club Village - Shuffleboard