It was a warm and sunny, unlike Winter day, here in Manassas, Virginia, which is about 37 miles southwest of The Nation's Capitol. Â The only thing that could ruin this day, is another new home builder, trying desperately to show that their latest incarnation is anything but cookie-cutter.Â
It seems like just yesterday, when the seemingly only difference in new home design, was the over-bloated size of the untility bills. If you could show how much of your children's college tuition fund, was literally breezing out through the oversized windows, not to mention the heated and cooled "waste of space", you somehow won a prize from the high fees Home Owner's Association, which enabled you to hastle your neighbor's about the wrong shade of brown on their mailbox.
Fortunately those days, along with interest only ARM's, have gone away, and in their place, the astute home builder's are actually listening and adjusting to what home buyer's say they want. Of course what home buyer's say they want, and what they end up buying, can be two different things, but at least now universal design, energy efficient, and wise use of space, have not only become buzzwords, but signal a new "back to the future" home buying and selling experience.
The latest among these new breed of communities is The Gaitherings at Wellington, a Beazer Homes "active adult" or 55+ neighborhood in Manassas, Virginia.
Now I have to admit, that I have not been a fan of most of these pricey, gated, and the higher condo-cringing fees, associated with these area's and the communities they suround.
I don't know if it is because I'm getting older, or the ideas are getting better, but Beazer has really come up with a "hot" or "cool" new home design concept aimed at the mature crowd among us.
Gone are the gates, with their pesky opperators that don't remember who your mom or dad are. Gone are the over-priced condo's that lose, rather than gain in value. Â And gone are the higher HOA/condo fees that are often associated with these communities.
And what you have left, is a smart designed, energy efficient, active adult community, that is pretty darn hip, and I never thought I would write that. Â
There are 4 options to choose from, all of which seem to have a very youth-ful idea in mind. Â And that is this, with more people retiring in the next 10 years, than ever before in our nation's history, it makes sense that at least some of these folks, really want to be active as opposed to just saying they want to be active.
Normally these neighborhood's seem to really slow down after dark. Â With The Gaitherings at Wellington, this community really is active, and in a good way.
Across the street is a high quality shopping center, with grocery, dry cleaning, gas stations, and etc. less than a mile away. Also in less than 15 minutes, is Harris Pavilion in Old Town, Pfitzner Stadium home to The Potomac Nationals, and The Freedom Center with associated olympic size pool, and art shows.
The outside complex of the condo's will neither inspire jaw-dropping awe, but at the same time it will not offend your average Northern Virginian.
The inside of this complex, is where it get interesting. Â
When you walk or roll in, you are not greeted with some spoiled college student who bugs you about your "lack of I.D.", and will not let you proceed unless you can somehow produce both your birth certificate and passport before you drop your groceries.
No this place, is more for people who have intelligence, like to be treated with respect and want accessability. An elevator is located less than 15 feet from the entrance, but you can still be where the action is.
The four models range from The Aspen with 1,448 sq. ft. priced at $235k, to the largest Dogwood model with 1,886 sq. ft. and priced at $298k. Â There is also The Bradford with 1,565 sq. ft. priced at an even $250k., and The Chesnut with 1,637 sq. ft. and priced at $270k.
The homes have 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, a private garage with each unit, and have a airy, spacious, light and bright, open floor plan, with the living area flowing well into either a bedroom, or kitchen/dining area, depending on the model.
One thing I really liked and I am sure other book-reading types would enjoy as well, is a constant use of extra space for reading, relaxing, drinking wine, or watching TV. Â It seems builder's are starting to catch on, that it is not "just space", but quality space that buyers are looking for. Â
With a large sized laundry area, walk-in closets and good location, Beazer didn't just get on base here, they scored extra bases. Maybe they even hit a home run, if they can keep their scheduled delivery times current, their condo fee's low, and their buyer's happy, they just might be setting a new trend in housing for active adult.
What do you think? Â Are the new "active adult" communities getting better?Â
Just let me know, thanks.
Johnny "Culdesac" Yankoviak
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