Our Review About Living In the Villages Florida
What You Will Read In This Article
The Villages Florida has reviews from around the internet that provide a decent overview of the well-known retirement community but nothing like what we cover here. Its a golfing and recreational activity mecca for very active 55+ people. All within a friendly environment that makes the Villages a destination every retiree should consider if they are considering moving to Florida.
This review will go in-depth, covering every detail of what it’s like living in the Villages Florida.
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What Is The Villages?
Located in Central Florida, “The Villages” is the number one ranked active-adult retirement community for adults 55 and older. For those who want retirement to be fun and affordable, the Villages presents an opportunity for older adults to enjoy retirement.
About 115,000 people live in the villages in Central Florida, dubbed “The Villagers.” With a community of 60,000 households, this active-adult retirement community provides countless activities for retirees, including recreation, shopping, golf, dining, and more.
Twelve unique districts comprise the Villages, with 4,000 homes in each, and are about 1,000 to 1,500 acres. Each district has smaller Villages that combine the various amenities and activities that they have to offer.
Living in the Villages Florida provides a unique experience that’s affordable with a hospital nearby, safety measurements for a protected community, and veterans’ services.
Also, the Villages is approximately 40 miles from the west coast and 70 miles from Florida’s east coast, enough for a weekend trip or beach day.
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The Villages focuses on keeping residents active and social, with everything they need throughout the community.
The culture is relaxed yet lively, as there is always something to do. This makes for a dynamic daily life experience with many recreational activities available, such as golf, pickleball, entertainment, movie theaters, and other fitness endeavors.
In particular, the Villages are infamous for their golf courses and golf carts, where residents enjoy state-of-the-art facilities.
We will provide an overview of the Villages’ lifestyle and the community’s activities to keep its residents full of life.
With over 50 golf courses, the Villages provides a golfing experience unmatched due to its advanced facilities created by the very best golfers and engineers.
Each golf course provides a unique design and features, with 12 championship golf and country clubs, 40 executive golf courses, two specialty golf courses, and three instructional golf academies.
Golf courses are available for all levels, from advanced to beginner.
The Villages has over 40 executive golf courses that welcome both beginner and expert golfers. They have par three holes with an occasional five, with players enjoying three sets of tees.
Specialty golf at the Villages include:
- Fenney Putt & Play: Golf-cart free course surrounded by water, walking trail, lawn bowling, croquet, fishing, and a picnic pavilion, adult-putters enjoy a scenic view around Florida’s beautiful settings.
- Marsh View Pitch & Putt: Also a golf-cart free course, the Marsh View Pitch & Putt provides a quick game or 90 minutes of fun, with holes ranging from 40 to 100 yards in length.
Lastly, the Villages provides golf instruction at its golf academy, with both group and private lessons.
Championship Golf Courses
One of the main attractions of the Villages is their 12 championship golf courses. Each golf course is specially designed, with beautiful terrain, and presents challenges to golfers of all levels. PGA golf tournaments have also featured these golf courses for championships on live television.
1. Belle Glade
A 27-hole layout that features the Tequesta 9, that wraps around water and the Villages only island green. Seminole-non with elevated views, a rare-sight in Florida, and the Calusa-nine are around a nature preserve with beautiful scenery.
Created by the Clifton, Ezell, and Clifton Design Group, this 27-hole facility with Destin-none and Ft. Walton-nine provides rolling terrain, changes in elevation, and the best view of green complexes in the Villages.
3. Cane Garden
Geographically beautiful with a hillside club surrounded by oak hammocks, this 27-hole course features a bald eagle and burrowing owls nest, providing a natural setting around this 140-acre eagle preserve.
4. Evans Prairie
This 27-hole golf course is built around Evans Prairie, with a par-5 set around Evans Prairie Lake’s east side. The lake provides challenging areas as it shapes the hole, forming a peninsula.
5. Glenview Champions:
Designed in consultation with golf pros such as Tommy Aaron, Hubert Green, and John Mahaffey, this 27-hole course features scenic views, bunks, and challenging elevation.
6. Hacienda Hills
A favorite golf legend, Chi Chi Rodriguez, this 27-hole course has bunkers on every hole, with water on fourteen holes.
Generous landing areas around well-protected greens, this course provides both challenging and beginner-friendly holes, with elevation and rolling fairways.
8. Mallory Hill
Over 18 of the 27-hole course provides elevated scenery at the highest points of Sumter County. The Caroline tee box is adjacent to the oldest cemeteries in the county, and The Virginia tee box has watermelon patches and fishing holes. Seven out of none holes have water hazards, making this course extremely tough.
9. Nancy Lopez Legacy
Designed by Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, built on the rolling terrain of Marion County, this course features a landscape with live oaks and water.
10. Orange Blossom Hills
The Orange Blossom Hills is an 18-hole course in the Villages, with majestic trees, bridges, and rolling hills.
11. Palmer Legends
With several holes adjacent to a prairie nature reserve overlooking Lake Sumter and Lake Sumter Landing, this course features several water hazards, rolling terrain, and bunkers to give anyone a tough yet fun experience.
12. Tierra Del Sol
Famous for its appearance on live television for LPGA with many top women golfers worldwide. It plays over 6,800 yards and has 18-holes.
If you want to watch a good YouTube playlist of the various golf courses in the Villages, click here.
With over 80 recreation centers catering to indoor and outdoor activities, residents enjoy an active lifestyle with various family fun, social clubs, or educational events.
There are three types of recreational centers:
- Regional (RRC): Has multiple meeting rooms, pool, theater, outdoor facilities, with arts and crafts.
- Village (VRC): May have meeting rooms, card room, kitchen, outdoor facilities, or billiards hall.
- Neighborhood (NRC): Consists of an attached postal facility, bocce court, shuffleboard court, horseshoe pit, or pool.
Other activities include theater, air guns, archery ranges, RC cars, and boats, pickleball, and more.
Softball facilities are a popular team sport for residents to compete, friendly to beginner and advanced players.
The Woodworking Facility is a 10,000 square-foot area that includes hands-on activities, allowing residents to hone their craft and create projects for themselves or as gifts.
Social clubs present the opportunity for residents with like-minded interests to gather and participate in group activities. You will find artists, musicians, veterans, collectors, enthusiasts, and others, where residents of different backgrounds get to know each other, discovering activities and having fun.
There are various areas for leisure, such as:
- Parks: Observe wildlife, use outdoor fitness stations, do yoga, kayak, fish, or have an afternoon picnic.
- Dog Parks: The Villages has fenced-in, leash-free dog parks that are fun for your dog to enjoy the scenery, run and play around.
- Trails and Parkways: Whether you’re going for a run, walk, or biking with friends or yourself, enjoy the view with miles of the natural landscape, or catch some golf.
Recreation events happen year-round, including:
- The Villages Senior Games: Comradery and competition embody the Senior Games, where resident athletes compete in over 30 sports, such as archery, volleyball, swimming, tennis, basketball, and more.
- Camp Villages: Enjoy time with the grandkids, whether it’s playing a sport or building a craft.
- Events on the Squares: The Town Squares host recreation events such as cardio drumming, yoga, Zumba, The Villages 5k, and others.
- Special Events: Residents come together to watch movies on the lawn, attend concerts, Jazz Festival, kayaking, charter fishing, or nature tour.
Fishing is popular in the Villages, with clubs dedicated to the sport. Local fishing lakes feature Florida freshwater fish such as bluegills, sunfish, largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie. Lake Miona and other lakes’ shorelines allow residents to fish via a public boat accessing the lake.
Lastly, learn something new with the Enrichment Academy, which offers you a chance to brush up on old skills or create new ones. Share knowledge and skills with residents and learn different sports or hobbies.
New Recreation Centers
Because the Villages is continually expanding, new recreation centers are coming soon, such as the Trillium Recreation Center, Water Lily Recreation Center, Everglades Recreation Complex, Cattail Recreation Area, and Aviary Village Recreation Center.
Trillium Recreation Center
Located at The Lofts at Brownwood is the new Trillium Recreation Center with an outdoor kitchen, billiards, outdoor fireplace, covered pavilion, multi-purpose room, and resort-style family pool. Near Brownwood Paddock Square.
Water Lily Recreation Center
Inspired by the famous artwork Water Lilies by Claude Monet, this new recreation center includes walking trails, pickleball courts, billiards, a drive-thru ATM, shuffleboard, bocce, and a pool.
Everglades Recreation Complex
The décor inside the Everglades Recreation Complex is inspired by the swamp, with a natural feel, built with wood. The complex has a softball complex, multi-purpose athletic field, car track, boat track, pickleball courts, tennis courts, shuffleboard, and bocce—access to multiple walking trails.
Cattail Recreation Area
This new area features various courts for everyday sports, not far from many golf courts and Hogeye Preserve Pathway. It also has food trucks and other restaurants nearby to get a bite to eat after an active day.
Aviary Village Recreation Center
Located in “The Village of Hawkins,” Aviary Village Recreation Center gets its inspiration from the eagle and other birds around Florida. It features a family pool, darts, table shuffleboard, tennis, pickleball, bocce, corn toss, a pavilion, and a kitchen.
Shopping & Dining
What’s great about shopping and dining in the Villages is using a golf-cart to transport yourself around the facilities. Areas are packed with residents on an evening or nightly basis, enjoying entertainment and company.
There are an array of things to do in the Villages, such as:
- Shopping: Find daily essentials with grocers and superstores like Target and Publix and pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. Home improvement and decor, accessors, fashion, pets, specialty stores, and gifts are available.
- Dining: Different assortments of favorite dishes, from well-known restaurants Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, or catch a bite at Panera Bread. Lighthouse Bar and Grill along the boardwalk of Lake Sumter allows for a beautiful view around the unique country clubs, overlooking golf courses.
- Services: Get access to essential services, such as automotive, financial, hospitality, specialty services, beauty, and others.
- Town Squares: Have free nightly entertainment at the three Town Squares: Spanish Springs Town Square, Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, and Brownwood Paddock Square.
There is entertainment for residents all year round, featuring performing arts, movies, and theater.
Various entertainment at the Villages include:
- Entertainment on the Square: Three Town Squares provide free entertainment from 5 to 9 pm.
- The Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center: Enjoy broadway-quality shows at the Villages through The Sharon, which seats over 1,000 in a multi-level theater, with high-quality visuals and audio. Other guests and activities include comedians, musicals, dance troupes, concerts, operas, and illusionists.
- The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol: Indulge in an intimate experience, where the stage is proximate to the audience, featuring passionate performances in the Black Box theater with 120 seats.
- Savannah Center: The Savannah Center Features comedy shows, world-famous performers, and celebrities. Past guests include Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, The Drifters, and Foghat.
Catch a movie and eat some popcorn to see classics or the latest hits. There are three movies theaters at the Villages:
- Barnstorm Theater
- Old Mill Playhouse
- Rialto Theater
The Villages Polo Club is fast-paced entertainment for residents to watch, as polo players provide exciting, heart-pumping action. Residents can watch polo from the stadium pavilion, in the grandstands, or from golf carts.
Evening fun with various restaurants, services, and events occur at three Town Squares around the Villages, which are Spanish Springs Town Square, Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, and Brownwood Paddock Square.
Spanish Springs Town Square
Its unique design pays homage to Florida’s early Spanish settlers, featuring shops and free live entertainment every night. Monthly events include celebrations and parades, such as Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Christmas Tree Lighting.
Spanish Springs Town Square includes MVP Athletic Club, health insurance services, bowling, a barbershop, clothing stores such as Chico’s, Bermuda Bay, and Sparks Jewelers. Restaurants include Ruby Tuesday, Margarita Republic, Flippers Pizzeria, Katie Belle’s, Gator’s Dockside, and more.
Lake Sumter Landing Market Square
Enjoy a beautiful waterfront setting, inspired by Key West, right off Lake Sumter, with free live music every night. Annual celebrations include Yoga, Mardi Gras, and the 4th of July.
Lake Sumter Landing Market Square has many clothing stores such as Van Heusen, Caribongo, Jos. A Bank. Home furnishing and accessories include City Furniture, The Purple Pig, and The Rug Gallery. Restaurants like Bravo Pizza, Subway, Johnny Rockets, Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar, Starbucks, and Panera Bread occupy this town square.
Brownwood Paddock Square
With a more rural, small-town feel, Brownwood is reminiscent of an early 19th century Florida cattle town. There is a weekly farmers market, Strawberry Festival, and “Sleepy Holloween.”
Brownwood Paddock Square features Tommy Bahama, with other miscellaneous services such as financial groups, banks, and insurance. Beauty and health amenities are available, and popular rating spots such as Five Guy’s and Dunkin Donuts.
Health & Wellness
The Villages Florida reviews always focus on their goal of keeping their residents active and healthy. Living in the Villages Florida provides a vast amount of activities to keep the mind, spirit, and body thriving daily.
There are two healthcare facilities in the Villages that provide access to physics, specialists, emergency care, and hospitals:
- The Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood: An ambulatory care facility for outpatient treatment, providing high-quality services and care when residents may need it most.
- The Villages Health: Primary care physicians deliver medical guidance to residents, with little to no wait time.
Fitness Facilities with exercise equipment or classes are available, where residents can hit the cardio or weight training machines. Listen to your music or watch television while working out. Each facility y is a golf-cart ride away so that residents can enjoy physical workouts close to home.
The fitness facilities now have upgraded equipment so residents can get the best workouts, such as:
- Cardiovascular Machines
- Circuit Training Equipment
- Core/Sports Training Equipment
- Supplemental Strength Equipment
- Free Weights
General membership fees include one month, three months, six months, nine months, or annually as a single or couple.
There is an MVP Athletics Club at Spanish Springs Town Square and Brownwood Paddock Square for residents who want more advanced workouts.
For the spirit, the Villages includes churches and synagogues, such as:
- First Baptist Church at The Villages
- New Covenant United Methodist Church
- Open Bible Lutheran Church
- Temple Shalom
- Chapel of Christian Faith
- George Episcopal Church
- Timothy’s Catholic Church
- Hope Lutheran Church
- Fairway Christian Church
Lastly, medical plazas are available to find chiropractic services, specialists, imagining services, dental care, retail stores, medical suppliers, and more.We Negotiated Discounts With Great Agents. Find One In Your Area.
Real estate in the Villages can be confusing and daunting, as there are many options for future residents. Usually, there are three routes: buy a new home, build from scratch, or buy a resale through the developer.
VIDEO: Different types of Homes In The Villages Florida
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There are four key components: new sales, resales, premiums, and rentals.
New sales involve buying a new home in the community, but it’s different, as you do not bring your own real estate agent and must work with a salesperson assigned to you by the developer.
There are many home styles to choose from, such as Courtyard Villas (includes Bungalow Villas and Cabana Villas), Patio Villas, Cottage Homes, Verandas, Premier Designer Homes. Premier Homes are large and expensive, while Patio Villas are smaller, more affordable.
Materials vary between homes, as some may use vinyl siding, while others use concrete or other framing material.
Resales are as common as new sales, with two options available:
- Work with an outside realtor to see resales not listed with the developer
- Work with the developer to look at listed resales
It’s best to do both options to see everything available because you may only see 60% of what’s available through the developer.
Premiums, also known as lot premiums, are additional charges tacked onto a new home’s price. The Villages demands a premium on the following lots or land:
- Lakefront lots
- Golf view or Golf front lots
- Corner lots
- Waterfront lots
- Lots near preserve or private land
- Oversized lots
Based on the lot, type of home, demand, and location, the premium can be from a few thousand dollars to over $200,000.
Depending on your circumstances and the type of home you buy, the premium may be worth it. However, if you do begin to pay a premium, there is no guarantee you will recoup the premium cost.
Rentals are convenient for those who are not ready to buy a home. Luckily, the Villages has a thriving rental market, but pricing depends much on the season, with the busy season from November through May and its peak during spring.
Types of Homes
There are seven types of homes:
- Patio Villas: Affordable, practical homes with 1 to 3 bedrooms, with an island kitchen, walk-in showers, golf car garages, and outdoor living spaces. Prices begin at $160,000.
- Cottage Villas: Combined outdoor and indoor living, with a backyard, hammock, spacious two-car garages, sliding doors, and a firepit. Prices begin in the low $200,000s, ranging from 2 to 3 bedrooms.
- Courtyard Villas: Elegant, low-maintenance villas with open floor plans combing a private courtyard, with an enclosed space for a pet. Cabana villas and Bungalow villas are available, offering higher-quality frames. Prices begin in the low $190,000s. Ranges from 2 to 3 bedrooms.
- Cottage Homes: Simple, affordable, spacious living, with quality frame construction and screened lanais for entertainment. Prices begin at 190,000, available in 2 or 3 bedrooms.
- The Verandas: A blend of the courtyard villa and popular Designer home floor plans, enjoy the comfort of a full-sized home with different framing and finishes. Prices begin at mid $200,000, with 3 or 4 bedrooms.
- Designer Homes: Choose from a variety of floor plans with quality frames. Select a new home from the collection or a homesite to build your own with a design team. Prices begin at the mid $200,000s.
- Premier Homes: Luxurious hoes with high-quality frames, private bedroom retreats, and elegant dining rooms. Choose a homesite to build a premiere home. Prices begin at 600,000, ranging from 3 to 4 bedrooms.
While living in the Villages Florida presents lots of entertainment and amenities, there are also bustling neighborhoods with excellent activities to keep residents lively.
Some of the best neighborhoods near the Villages are:
- The Village of Pennecamp: Located near Lake Miona and Lake Sumter Landing, the Village of Pennecamp presents a tranquil experience with golfing, dining, shopping, and nightly entertainment.
- Green Briar Meadow: Located in the Village of Briar Meadow, near Nancy Lopez Golf Course, one of the most active golf courses.
- The Village of Duval: Offers access to all three Town Squares, with community pools and the Seabreeze Regional Recreation Center.
- Orange Blossom Gardens: Nearby Spanish Springs, with a country club, this area offers a quiet, relaxing atmosphere for residents.
- Village of Del Mar: Gives easy access to Chula Vista Recreation Center and Spanish Springs Town Square. Nearby is also Lake Sumter Landing Town Square.
- Village of Tierra Del Sol: Village of Tierra Del Sol packs amenities such as Tierra Del Sol Recreation Center, Tierra Del Sol Studio, Tierra Del Sol Championship golf course, between Lake Sumter Landing and Spanish Springs Town Square.
- Village of Collier: Home to the Eisenhower Recreation Center, Evans Prairie Golf and Country Club, Sweet Gum Golf Course, and near the Brownwood Paddock Square.
- Village of Fenney: Near the Reader Wildlife Preserve, offering beautiful scenery, recreation centers, nature trails, executive golf course, and restaurants throughout. A resort-style pool is also available with a firepit.
The Villages is always expanding, which comes with new neighborhoods with more homes, different models, and access to activities.
Some new neighbors in the Villages include:
- Hawkins Verandas South: Located in The Villages of Hawkins, Hawkins provides a recreation area with an adult pool, corn toss, shuffleboard, and bocce. A new recreation is coming soon called Aviary Village Recreation Center that offers pickleball, billiards, tennis, and other services.
- Catherine: St. Catherine contains Designer homesites around the Sawgrass Grove area, McGrady’s Restaurant, Ezell Regional Recreation Complex, Southern Oaks Championship golf course, and the St. Catherine Recreation Center.
- Carley Patio Villas: A community with affordable living, located nearby Hawkins Neighborhood Recreation and the new Aviary Village Recreation Center.
- Elise Villas: Features a mix of popular courtyard villa floor plan homes, moments away from Sawgrass Grove area, O’Grady’s Restaurant, Clifton Cove, Sawgrass Market, and other services.
- Opal Bungalow Villas: Located at the north end of The Village of Bradford, Opral Bungalow Villas overlook the Chitty Chatty Preserve.
- Bradford Designer Homes: Located in The Village of Bradford, you’ll find top-notch, newly constructed homes near all the amenities, golf courses, and restaurants.
Cost Of Living
Living in the Villages Florida requires lots of expenses, membership fees, housing, and amenity payments, but how much does it all cost in the end?
An estimated monthly cost for those with a $250,000 home includes a monthly $162 amenity fee and additional expenses, equaling $1,010.17.
The amenity fee includes:
- 24-hour community watch
- Sports pool
- Waterfront parks, fitness trails, fishing lakes
- Free golf on all executive courses (additional costs for golf carts)
- Pickleball, tennis, swimming, and other facilities throughout the community
Including the amenity fee, other monthly costs add up to $1,010.17, such as:
- Contractual Amenities as mentioned; $162
- Water; $31
- Sewer; $60
- Trash Collection; $19
- Average Gas / Electric; $148
- Basic Cable Television; $60
- Insurance; $100
- Development District Assessment; $191
- Average Taxes; $239.17
However, this is not all of the expenses presented, as the mortgage and other one-time fees are missing.
Other expenses may occur at the Villages. This can be an additional $3,000 to $4,000, maybe more, depending on your needs, budget, type of home you buy, and the neighborhood you occupy.
Purchase of a home or rental is typical, and if it isn’t in cash, more than likely, there is a mortgage that can range from $1,000 to $5,000 a month, or even more. A typical $250,000 home tends to be a little over $1,000. Current interest rates also add or subtract from the total.
Estimated $33 to $100 a month depending on the home’s location and price.
Maintenance and infrastructure assessments are typical, and homeowners can pay in advance. Expense ranges from $100 to $500.
A $250,000 home may cost $3,000 to $4,500 in property taxes a year, or $250 to $375 a month.
Most residents pay for landscaping, as cutting the grass in the hot Florida heat is not ideal during retirement. Estimates are around $50 to $75 a month.
Part of the additional monthly costs, and typically range from $258 to $600 a month.
Large, pesky bugs are common in Florida, especially during the summer, and many residents pay $80 to $100 for pest control.
Florida not only has bugs but insects too that may put your home at risk, such as termites. Typically $100 to $200 a year.
With choices such as Publix, Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie, and other smaller stores, groceries can be decent depending on how many people are in the home. Possible expenses of $200 to $500 a month.
Have your home pressure washed for $100 to $200 once or twice a year. A paint job every 5 to 7 years at around $2,000 to $3,500 per job.
With lots of choices to eat every day, especially on a nightly basis, expect to pay high prices. Dining expense depends on the individual and frequency. Costs can be $200 to $500, maybe more, depending on an individual budget for dining out.
Living in the Villages Florida means more than likely purchasing a golf cart, which can be $2,000 or more. A custom golf-cart or newer version may be up to $10,000 or $20,000. Golf cart insurance is $60 to $200 a year.
Various ticket prices and movies can range from $8 to $30, maybe more.
Email Address and Alerts
For $8 a month, get golf tee time alerts and other messages, plus two email addresses.
The Village Daily Sun is about $70 a year. However, it’s mostly reporting around the community. Other residents subscribe to the Orlando Sentinel, which can be more expensive.
Seasonal members tend to get house watch services to keep their home safe when they are not on-site, which may be $35 to $50 a month depending on the service.
The Villages Homeowner Advocates (VHA) is $25 per household for two years, and the Property Owners Association (POA) is $10 per household for one year.
Additional One-time Costs:
Living in the Villages Florida means paying many one-time expenses, such as interior painting, new furniture, home decorations, or paying for a class at a club such as golf lessons.
VIDEO: How Much Money Do I Need To Live In The Villages
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Pros and Cons of Living in The Villages
Today, the Villages is the top-rated retirement community that’s growing fast, and we will take a look at what makes it popular, but also where it misses the mark.
The Villages Florida reviews like this guide will highlight the pros and cons to exhibit an honest review.
The pros of living in The Villages include:
- Decent weather: Enjoy warm weather all year round, including during the holiday season, where there are mild winters. Great for socializing and playing golf anytime, not having to worry about snow, hail, or anything winter-related.
- Safe and clean: It’s a gated community in one of the safest areas in Central Florida, meaning you will not have to worry about crime while in retirement.
- Affordable housing: There are housing options suitable for any budget, but also the average house price in the Villages is reasonable compared to other states.
- Local services: In the Villages, you are a golf cart away from restaurants, services, shopping, and other amenities.
- Helpful Community: The Villages offers mutual support for their neighbors who may be battling ailments and other difficulties that come with aging.
- Active: Every day, you’ll see people outside walking, running, cycling, playing golf, or any other leisure activities during the day. At night, there are local amenities and shows to entertain residents as well.
- Friendly Neighborhood: Because everyone is around the same age group living alongside each other, there is more cohesion and socializing.
- Transportation: The area comes with fantastic public transport, including a shuttle service operated by Sumter County Transit, dubbed “The Villages Shuttle.” Other options are available for those who want to transport between the Villages and the Orlando International Airport.
- Good Reputation: The Villages has worked its way up as the number one destination for retirement, thanks to its staff, developers, and overall environment for seniors.
- Close to beaches: Usually, when visiting or living in Florida, you may desire to go to the beach. The Villages is about 40 miles away from the West Coast and 70 miles from the East Coast.
- Convenience: You don’t have to leave the community to go shopping, dine out, go to the doctor, or anything else. Everything you may need is right on the compound.
- More services than other retirement communities: Other retirement facilities may have their residents drive back and forth outside the compound, but the Villages has the most benefits available per capita than any other retirement area.
- Less hurricane-prone area: Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. There is a threat every year, but the Villages is in Central Florida, where there may be less chance of a direct-hit.
The cons of living in The Villages include:
- Humidity and high temperatures: Florida can have unbearable heat, which can be uncomfortable for many who are not used to it, especially seniors. The moisture also can feel damp and muggy, where it can also feel unpleasant.
- Not very diverse: While all the residents will be from different walks of life, more than likely, they will be part of the same demographic and mostly affluent. Most also tend to be of the same political background, which may lack a diversity of thought for those who are not of the same values.
- Privatization: The developers of the community own everything, and the residents have very little power.
- Dark side tarnishes reputation: While the Villages’ reputation is mostly good, there is a dark side to the community that found itself in front of tabloids and scandals.
- Pesky bugs: Like most tropical regions, Florida is no stranger to large, gross bugs that also come out during high humidity and the summer.
- Higher than average costs: Not all the amenities and services are advertised, meaning you may end up paying more than anticipated. Prices for utilities and dining out are higher than the national average, meaning residents pay more than locals outside of the Villages.
- Home prices compared to other states: The Villages state their average home is about $250,000, which is decent for Florida prices, but there may be cheaper alternatives outside of the state. More expensive options are well above the national average in home costs.
What Residents Are Saying
Many people have differing opinions about the Villages after visiting, lived the experience, or heard rumors, resulting in mixed reviews.
One reviewer on Yelp mentions that the Villages is more diverse than it lets on and that there is an activity for everyone, keeping residents occupied. It’s a welcoming environment with live entertainment and professionals around the vicinity. The Camp program encourages bonds with grandchildren that are visiting, so residents aren’t as lonely.
However, there were some downsides in this Yelp review as the user mentions high prices for some events, with demand exceeding supply. Also, the restaurants charge higher prices than the same establishments outside of the community.
A user on BestPlaces believes it’s the best place to retire, with its vast number of recreation centers, golf courses, social clubs, endless activities, and nightly fun at the town squares.
A review on Niche believes the Villages lives up to its name as “Florida’s friendliest hometown,” and people of any age can enjoy the community. It’s one of the fastest-growing communities, and the safest, making it one of the best places to live in the world. It’s amenities, fancy food, nightlife, and activities allow residents and visitors to have fun all day without a dull moment.
Unfortunately, visitors have mentioned the immense sales pressure to purchase newly built homes, which are expensive and more than the average home established in the Villages.
Affordability is one of the Villages’ prominent advertisements, but that may not be the case depending on the real estate you encounter. The bonds attached to some homes may take longer than initially expected to pay off.
Lastly, there have been various scandals around the Villages and regard it as “Disney World for old people.” Also, the atmosphere likens to that of a college campus, but for seniors. Moreover, there have been rumors of residents engaging in activity that may have raised STD rates in the community.We Negotiated Discounts With Great Agents. Find One In Your Area.
The Villages is a unique destination that requires lots of information, research, and answers to questions you may have to make your decision easier if you plan to relocate.
Where Is the Villages Located?
Central Florida near Ocala, Orlando, and Tampa.
Do The Villages Allow Children?
Yes, especially the resident’s grandchildren. There is a program called Camp Villages where grandchildren and grandparents can participate in activities together. A consecutive 30-day limit is for visitors under 18. However, children cannot live in the community as there is an age restriction of 55, but there are exemptions. About less than 7% of residents are under 18.
Are Pets Allowed in The Villages?
Yes. The Villages is dog-friendly, with dog parks and homes available with pet enclosures. Other resources include Petsmart, grooming parlors, emergency pet, and preventative clinics. Dog menus are available at certain restaurants, and many local businesses allow dogs inside on a leash.
Are There Libraries in The Villages?
Yes, there are three local libraries in the vicinity: The Villages Public Library at Pinellas Park, Mark Twain Library located on Paradise Drive, and The Villages Public Library at Belvedere.
How Big Is The Community in The Villages?
The area is 32 square miles, located in Lake Sumter and Marion County in Central Florida. Over 115,000 residents live in The Villages.
Is There Pickleball at The Villages?
Yes, the Villages is known for pickleball, with over 100 courts for guests and residents year-round. Open-play, tournaments, and clinics are available throughout the community.
What Kind of Shops Are Available in the Villages?
Boutiques, home furnishing, jewelry, name-brand clothing, and novelties.
Are There Singles Activities in the Villages?
Yes, as there are over 2700 social clubs, 130 single-specific clubs organize dinner events, golf, bowling, and other activities.
Is The Villages Safe?
There are many safety services available, such as community watch, gated entries, House check program, Villages Public Safety. The Villages has one of the lowest crime rates in the state.
Is It Expensive to Live in The Villages?
It depends on the type of home you buy, its neighborhood, and other amenities. For instance, the average house at The Villages is $250,000, and additional monthly and yearly fees may add up to a few thousand a month, not counting the mortgage if the house is not paid in cash.
What Is Healthcare Like in the Villages?
There are various facilities catered to the healthcare of the residents, including emergency care and on-site physicians. Insurance companies are available in the Town Square plazas for further assistance.
What Kind of Entertainment Is There in the Villages?
Around 5 to 9 pm every day, there are events and performances, free of charge, with nightly entertainment at each of the three Town Squares.
What Kind of Recreation Is Available at the Villages?
The Villages offers tons of activities that keep residents occupied all day, all year, such as tennis, pickleball, golf, shuffleboard, bocce, billiards, indoor and outdoor sports, softball, and more. There is a club for all activities for residents to mingle and host events.
What Type of Scenery Can I See in the Villages?
Florida is home to the Everglades, and that comes with various national parks which also surround The Villages. You can spot diverse wildlife and nature preserves during walks or fishing.
What Are the Advantages of Living in the Villages?
An upbeat, active community with amenities and services offered year-round without leaving the area. Excellent for seniors who may feel lonely or want to enjoy retirement, as there is always something to do.
What Are the Disadvantages of Living in the Villages?
Some residents may not like being away from family, especially if they are from another state. Florida’s weather may also be a deciding factor if someone wants to live in The Villages, as it can be unbearably hot and humid.
What Kind of Homes Are Available for Purchase at the Villages?
There are seven types of homes you may purchase: Patio Villas, Cottage Villas, Courtyard Villas, Cottage Homes, The Verandas, Designer Homes, and Premier Homes. The homes range from $190,000 to $600,000 or more.
Are the Homes Available on MLS to View?
Yes and No. New houses from the developer at The Villages are not on the MLS and you have to use a sales associate that works for the Villages. To see a catalog of homes to purchase, you have to work with the developer directly and not have a personal realtor. For existing home sales they can be listed with a Realtor and in the MLS. Please note, some resales will be listed with the Villages sales associates and will not be in the MLS either.
Can I Build My Dream Home at the Villages?
Yes, the Designer and Premiere Homes offers customization and choosing floor plans with a design team to create your dream home at The Villages. Prices range from mid $200,000s to $600,000 or more.
Has There Ever Been Scandals at the Villages?
There have been rumors of nefarious activity at The Villages, increasing the STD rate in the community.
The Villages Florida reviews like this guide present everything you need to know about the upbeat retirement community that grows every year.
With its golf courses, recreation, leisure activities, and more to keep seniors active all year round, the Villages makes its way as a must-see destination for those considering retirement.
There are both the good and the bad that come with the community, as it may not be for everyone. Depending on what you’re looking for, the pros may outweigh the cons, and vice versa.
Overall, many residents enjoy living in The Villages Florida, and the community continues to grow and remain lively.
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About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.