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Old February 16, 2008, 12:23 PM   #1
Andar
 
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Does anyone live in a Del Webb community?

We aere considering moving to a Del Webb community. It is new and about 1/3 built out. Please tell share any of your thoughts.
We are 53 and 59 and both retired.
Thanks so much.
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Old February 16, 2008, 12:25 PM   #2
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Fern M does, and I know she likes it very much.
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Old February 16, 2008, 01:02 PM   #3
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I live in a Del Webb Sun City community. I'm somewhat familiar with their other communities, although I know Sun City the best. Which community are you interested in? I live in a very large one, Sun City Anthem, with over 7,000 rooftops. Most are not this large (although there are some even larger). We moved here when it was just over half occupied.

I understand your wanting to talk to somebody about what its like to live in one of their communities; I was the same way before I moved here. Now that we've been here for four years I've been corresponding with a woman who is about to move in...we've been pen pals for almost a year. Its fun answering her questions and telling her about my life here.

If you'd like to correspond with me or ask me some questions via email, feel free to do so. You will get my email address by clicking the "click here" link in my signature block below.

Fern
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Old February 16, 2008, 02:53 PM   #4
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We live in a 55+ deed restricted golfing community now and across the highway from our office Del Webb started a new community, almost a year ago, so we went to the initial presentations, from a personal point of view (we live 55 miles from the office) and business (real estate). I found their restrictions way too severe, at least in this community and I can only imagine they're all the same.
You're only allowed a designated area in your yard in which to plant your own choice of shrubs & plants, they can't grow over a certain height - they're the main things that stick in my mind. There were lots of other things too.

You need to ask for a copy of their deed restrictions before you make a decision and ask yourself if this is for you!
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Old February 16, 2008, 02:59 PM   #5
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I live in a Del Webb community as well. Overall construction of the home is pretty good but I will say from our experience we wouldn't buy from them again for a number of reasons. First and foremost because their customer service is terrible!!! Very unresponsive in fixing issues with their homes.

In terms of building, they tend to cut corners in some areas. We bought our house in 2006 and from the beginning the toilets were terrible, i.e., wouldn't flush properly sometimes have to flush 4-5 times to get them to flush completely. We complained and they offered to replace them with the same model. Well, that was no solution. Turns out they use a brand and type that are inferior and most plumbing companies refuse to even stock them. So, we ended up replacing them ourselves.

Our kitchen countertops were Corian but they were a single layer Corian which looks (and is) cheap. Also, no supporting underlayment was placed underneath. Notice I said "were" because we have replaced them with granite.

Their finish work (trim out work like painting, electrical, etc.) is VERY sloppy. Amazingly they do things like put all the trim rings on the lighting and THEN they paint. Huh? We have found instances of light switches, etc. not properly installed that could have resulted in a fire.

One of the main things I really dislike about them is there is absolutely no character to the architecture. They do nothing to really make the interior stand out and have character. It is just kind of blah. Now, we knew that when we we bought so that was our own decision, but I want to forewarn you there is NO changing of anything in architecture. They'll offer you a
$40K options package that basically gets you some upgraded appliances, a laundry cabinet, a few more color choices of Corian, and that's about it.

As far as the "Del Webb lifestyle" well I think that marketing ploy is a bit skewed as well. Yes, there are several clubs that you can join at the clubhouses but they kind of make you think there is going to be this great social network amongst neighbors, etc. but I don't think that's really true. I don't see alot of socialization that goes on like that. But, the clubhouses do provide at least the opportunity to socialize. But, I wouldn't buy into Del Webb and move someplace where we didn't know anyone thinking I was going to make all these friends with new people.

I don't mean to make it sound like sour grapes. I think you just have to be careful about what you're expecting.
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Old February 16, 2008, 03:34 PM   #6
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We, too, live in a Del Webb community, an older one ourside Phoenix. The construction of our home was actual Del Webb construction; now it's Pulte, and I don't know anyone who sings the praises of Pulte. Ours is definitely "tract home," but everything still works just fine. Had I been building, I'd have done a number of things differently, but we bought re-sale.

Because ours is an older community, we actually have more facilities (by nearly double) than the newer communities--but in the case of golf courses, that's a liability. As the community ages, fewer and fewer members actually play golf. It's difficult to keep the courses up properly if you don't have residents paying (even at the very nominal fees imposed) to play. Various strategies have been considered, but no one has come up with a winner yet. As it is, those who do play certainly have no trouble getting on a course. We also have more rec. centers than new communities, and these seem not to be liability. All are beautifully maintained and used by many residents.

A liability to this type of community you may not have considered is that as the population ages, you get a preponderance of "old thinking" and acting. That affects everything from the little old lady searching slowly through her purse at the grocery store to meetings about what should be done about community problems. Since you are looking at a new community and will be on the young side of the people moving in, that probably won't be a problem until you are old enough to be "the problem" for the younger folks moving in. If I had it to do over again (and in this real estate market, it will be a while before I can do it over again), I'd be looking for a community that allows 40 year olds. They definitely have more energy, and most are still working and are, therefore, less out-of-it than people who have been retired for 20 years.

The plus side of it is that it is easy to make friends; afterall, no one was born here. Everyone wants new friends. Another plus is that the clubs are seemingly without number; anything you might want to participate in is available; however, some of the instructors are anything but the best: an instructor for the computer club was at least 10 years older than I am and knew less than I do--and I wouldn't have been taking the class had I felt I knew anything. Many of the clubs use locals for instructors, and while the local may have some expertise, it is also possible that whatever expertise was once there, is very outdated.

Soooooooo.....things to think about. I'd look very carefully and definitely correspond with Fern and others who live in the newer communities since that is the type you are considering. I'd also check out other adult communities and see if they have the same pluses and minuses: Robson, etc.
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Old February 16, 2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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My parents and Aunt/Uncle live in Sun City West, Arizona. They absolutely love it. There are tons of activities and things to do. They are so busy, especially in the wintertime when the snowbirds are here that we hardly hear from them (we live in Scottsdale). The facilities are great. They have a wood working shop that is beyond compare. There are lots of clubs including Missouri club, Chicago club, Kansas Club, etc. It's a riot because you take your life in your own hands with all the "youngsters" zipping around in their golf carts. A common joke is when one hears a siren everyone stops and says: Oh goody, another estate sale!!! They have met many, many new people that have become close friends. They've also met people from their past that they had lost touch with. I think the socializing is as good as you want to make it and how much effort one puts into it.


With all that being said, I will agree with the posters comments about the quality of construction. The older area that my parents and A/U live in seem to be a little better built than the newer areas. Sun City Grand, AZ has had numerous lawsuits over the quality of construction. And what you see is what you get. They make the models look fantastic, but remember the models have tons of upgrades. The pricing is for bare bones.

I would go for a resale myself if I was looking at a Del Webb community.
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Old February 16, 2008, 03:51 PM   #8
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I don't know anyone who sings the praises of Pulte.
I have been very happy with Pulte, actually. We, too, live in a Del Webb community, but it is not the age-restricted Sun City. We are in Anthem Country Club which is next to Sun City in Henderson, NV. We initially were going to buy in Sun City, but since we needed to rent out our home for four years before we retired and moved into it, we decided on the country club. We had a much larger pool of potential renters if we were not limited to 55 and over.

Now that we're living in the country club we just love it. It's nice to have all ages of people in the community and there are enough activities and amenities here to suit us just fine.

The reason I'm happy with Pulte is because of their customer service. Our home was built in 2001 and we weren't the original owners. But, Pulte fixed a couple of leaks in the roof and their contractors did a superb job. Though it took awhile to get on the work schedule, once the workers started the job they did outstanding work, both in the roof repair and the drywall repair. We are extremely satisfied.

Of course, there are restrictions on landscaping, alterations to houses, parking, etc. but it keeps the place looking beautiful and that helps everyone's property values. Buyers in such communities must be aware of all the rules going in and should choose another property if they don't wish to be bound by those rules.

We previously lived in a neighborhood for 25 years in Washington state that had covenants regarding tree heights to protect views, but there was no active homeowners association to enforce the rules, and it got to be very unpleasant many times dealing with neighbors who didn't abide by the covenants. It's just wonderful to have a strong HOA now that enforces the rules.
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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I think life is what you make of it. I love living here, but it isn't for everybody. I don't think introverts do really well here.

As somebody mentioned above, it *is* easy to meet people if you get out of your house and join things. In my community we have a Women's Club, and with that comes a "Village Club," which is for your own neighborhood only. We are divided into perhaps 15 neighborhoods of varying sizes. My "village" is 227 houses. Our village women's group gets together twice a month usually. There are about 40 women active in this, and so I've met a lot of ladies in my neighborhood this way.

I'm also active in a couple of service groups here, and the computer club and lifelong learning. My husband is active as a videographer for our local access television station. Through these activities we've made many friends.

We do have "CC&R's," Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions (rules). And I'm fine with that. My husband wasn't in the beginning, but he is now. We came from an area where there was a house with dead landscaping, and where some people worked on cars on lawns. The kids played "hoops" and would (accidentally) hit our garage door. And this was a nice area.

We don't have many rules about plantings except that there is no grass allowed in the front (this is a city rule due to water conservation). You do have to have a certain minimum amount of trees and plants of a certain size, but it isn't an onerous amount. You do have to have the landscaping plans approved and also any visible improvements outside your house. It is a pain, but it keeps the neighborhood looking good. You'd be surprised how much difference landscaping makes. Sure, everybody has earth toned houses, but we all have very different landscaping.


We've had health concerns in the past. Every time there were friends here, visiting, seeing what they could do to help with things, offering to drive us, sit with us, shop, whatever was needed. And we've done the same for others. Its wonderful to have that.

I've talked to some of my girlfriends here, and when they moved here they immediately joined several clubs. They wanted to surround themselves with friends, even if they were married. One of my girlfriends became a widow a year and a half ago. She was active in the community, and still is. She's been surrounded by friends. That's what it is like to live here, at least to me.

Fern
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Old February 16, 2008, 04:44 PM   #10
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Good to hear that Pulte worked out well for you, Fern. Since you are a relatively new buyer, that speaks well for current customer service.

I'd agree with everything about meeting people; if you join clubs, you will meet people. I do think that those who move to these communities are, perhaps, a bit more outgoing than the average person; if they weren't, they would have chosen to stay in familiar surroundings. (We're in Sun City West, AZ)
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Old February 16, 2008, 08:39 PM   #11
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Thumbs down

I, too, live in a Del Webb community (Sun City Hilton Head, SC) but my home was built by Pulte not Del Webb and I agree with PStreet 1 that if I had it to do again, I would not buy from Pulte. We bought in Dec 2005 when Pulte built and sold 1200 houses and believe me the lack of quality is quite apparent. Last year they sold 300 (I believe) but I'm not sure the quality has improved. We've had problems too numerous to describe with our house and overall their response has been "not covered under warranty". We currently have 8 cracked tiles in our kitchen which they have agreed to replace...only problem is the extra tiles they gave us at closing are the same shade but not the same finish and, therefore, are not usuable as replacements. We are currently trying to match tiles so we can have the floor fixed. We love the neighbors and have no problem with the social aspect of the community but the attitude displayed by our personal customer service rep and the higher up customer service people in this community leaves much to be desired. We have had nothing but battles with them since moving in and as soon as we can get the remaining items fixed in our house, we are seriously considering moving. Even though the real estate market is sluggish, I believe we have a better chance of selling because a lot of people want to live in this type of community once they reach a certain age. I wish you luck with whatever decision you make. My suggestion is to ride around the already occupied areas of the place and talk to the residents to see how they feel about what they purchased and what they got.
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Old February 16, 2008, 11:23 PM   #12
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We've had problems too numerous to describe with our house and overall their response has been "not covered under warranty"
That is so sad to hear. I guess Pulte's customer service and warranty must be different in different parts of the country.

We were at the home of friends in Sun City this week and they were showing us where they had a problem with their tile. There was an evident, significant crack running along the grout line in the middle of the entry way. Pulte was coming soon to take up all the tile in the entry, great room, and kitchen because their particular style was no longer available. They are replacing it with something very similar and doing some correction on the subfloor to prevent future cracking. They will also move all the furniture out into the garage and put the people up in a hotel if necessary while the work is being done. All this is covered under their warranty.
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Old February 16, 2008, 11:59 PM   #13
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I'm thinking of purchasing in sun city hilton head

Hi KCI,

When we were in Hilton Head last October, we looked at the Sun City community and we were so impressed with the amenities we saw at Town Square -- the fitness center, the outdoor pool, the indoor pool, tennis courts and all the activities going on -- the numerous clubs, etc. We've looked at other communities since but we still seem to favor Hilton Head. The only question we have is should we buy new or resale. It might be easier to make friends in a neighborhood that is new, but we might get a better buy resale. Or maybe we should just rent? I read Sunsations on line and I get the impression that the residents are very friendly and there is always something to do.

Now I'm so disappointed after reading these posts about Pulte. ANY ADVISE? My timetable to retire is December 2008. Thanks

Barbara
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Old February 17, 2008, 12:09 AM   #14
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We live near a Del Webb community in Apple Valley, CA and everyone I know who lives there has said nothing but very good things about it. I can't think of any specific negatives I've heard and I've talked to quite a few people who live there.
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Old February 17, 2008, 01:16 AM   #15
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I know of at least four households (out of 6,ooo+) who have had significant foundation or flooring/tile problems. In each case Pulte has made arrangements to redo the foundation and/or flooring at Pulte's cost. Pulte sends packers to pack up the people's things in the affected parts of the house (or whole house). The people move out, either into a rental house or a "Homewood Suites" or similar hotel. Pulte pays for this and also a per-diem to cover meals. In the cases I know of it has taken three months or so to do the work. Pulte has upgraded other things at no cost as they do the repairs. Its disruptive, to be sure, but at least not expensive.

There have also been plumbing problems with the Pulte Communities in Nevada, due to the heavy minerals in the water. They built the homes to code, but it wasn't good enough, and the fittings started disintegrating. Our community is half Del Webb and half Pulte, with different models and different plumbing in each phase. Phase one had Kitec Plumbing, and Phase two had Rehau.

I'm in a Rehau house. It took almost a year after the announcement (there were over 3000 houses affected in my community), but Pulte paid to have it swapped out. They are paying to have every house built here in the last four years done. The repair work consists of changing out every plumbing connection in our house, casita, and outside. They cut holes in the wall in several spots, and removed one of our showers to gain access to the other shower and bathtub fittings. It was a managed project with plumbers, glazers (glass), marble guys (don't know what they are called), guys to do wallboard, stucco, and painters. I never saw so many workers in my life. It didn't cost me a cent.

Karen hasn't mentioned it, and may not be aware of it yet, but she has one or the other plumbing problem too.

Fern

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Originally Posted by Karen G View Post
That is so sad to hear. I guess Pulte's customer service and warranty must be different in different parts of the country.

We were at the home of friends in Sun City this week and they were showing us where they had a problem with their tile. There was an evident, significant crack running along the grout line in the middle of the entry way. Pulte was coming soon to take up all the tile in the entry, great room, and kitchen because their particular style was no longer available. They are replacing it with something very similar and doing some correction on the subfloor to prevent future cracking. They will also move all the furniture out into the garage and put the people up in a hotel if necessary while the work is being done. All this is covered under their warranty.
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Old February 17, 2008, 06:58 AM   #16
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It's interesting to read about the varying opinions of everyone! As Fern said, "Life is what you make it." Absolutely there are plenty of clubs to join - an unending number, and that does give a person the opportunity to meet people. Socialization is not a problem for us at all but I can see where it might be. There are quite a few people in our neighborhood that have put their homes on the market because this type of living is just not for them. One of their complaints is that there is just no social network of friends around their immediate neighbors. I think many of them want that "small town" connection with neighbors and that doesn't really exist because many people are still working in our development. So, there's a cross section of people that prevents a bit of that.

Karen G. - we love ACC and have looked at several houses in there. We have thought about selling our home and moving into there but we had a pool put in last year and our lot is pretty private so we don't really want to give that up. But, it's very nice in ACC. I would grow frustrated with the flow of traffic in sometimes though because it gets very backed up at certain times of the day. But, I can see why you like it in there. I for one LOVE CC&Rs because they do (in most cases) really protect a neighborhood.
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Old February 17, 2008, 07:41 AM   #17
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We also live in Sun City Hilton Head and think it is the most wonderful place in the world. We obviously have not had the problems that others have had. Our lives here are wonderful. I will post more later and you certainly can e-mail me with questions. I may be out of sink for the next 24 hours but I'll get back to you.
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Old February 17, 2008, 10:59 AM   #18
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This post will probably surprise most Del Webb/Pulte homeowners. Sun City Hilton Head (SCHH) has about 7000 roof tops (with a build out of 8500) and turn over has been in the works for a year or so. Last year Pulte's top man on site gave the Board of Directors written permission to allow the homeower's to have 5 seats on the board with Pulte having 2. This means the homeowner's are in control (Pulte still can veto any decision). SCHH homeowner's voted in the additional resident board members and they were seated. This year the top Pulte Man was replaced (as they seem to do every year) and the new boss recinded the authorization for the new homeowner controlled board. Pulte fired the new members and is now fully incharge again. Talk about a revolution within the ranks of the homeowner's. Pulte doesn't seem to care that the bad press and feelings have taken over. Pulte's reason for taking over was they feel they can sell more homes if they are incharge. Of course there won't be many homeowner's that recommend this place to their friends and family.
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Old February 17, 2008, 01:28 PM   #19
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KCI--That's terrible. It will certainly give them bad press. It is definitely a local thing with Pulte.

We have a bit over 7,000 rooftops (houses), and are less than 200 houses from sellout. We've had an owner-controlled board for over two years. It was in the governing documents that it happen at a certain percentage of rooftops and it did, with no problem.

Having resident control isn't a panacea. There have been problems, both with the turnover to the residents and the board. There is a financial audit now, with some contending that Pulte did not properly fund our HOA prior to leaving control. Our restaurant is vacant, partly because a Pulte controlled board had set the contract and it wasn't being properly followed. They used it as a sales tool and didn't care if the restaurant paid rent, etc. Our resident-controlled board is now in negotiations for a new board.

Our board elections are this Spring. Each time half the board "turns over." Be careful what you wish for...last time one of the ones who "spoke the best game" turned into the biggest obstructionist. You never know.


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Old February 17, 2008, 02:11 PM   #20
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Wow, Great responses!

Wow, what great responses!
We have researched Del Webb and Pulte in the last 4-5 years. They were planning to build a 6,000 home development near us and as “neighbors” we were very involved in the planning and hearing process.

In the meantime, the housing market took a dive and they have put the plans on "hold" The last word was that they still have the option on the land. We figured with the housing market, the huddles left to pass, if it does continue to move forward, it would be another 5-10 years, at best, before selling. This development is in Tehama County California between Red Bluff and Redding. Since we currently live in Redding we thought it would be an option for us. But we don't want to wait that long so we expanded our search.

We put a deposit down yesterday at Glenbrooke in Elk Grove CA. There will only be 600 homes (not 6,000). We did request the CCR'S Declarations and HOA last week and read through those carefully. We do not have a problem with them. Yes, they are very restrictive but they suits us fine.
We have done internet research regarding the lawsuits that Pulte had in Arizona, etc. We have looked at crime stats and city council meeting minutes, etc. regarding the surrounding area. We see the most challenges as 1) A new city; Just incorp. In 2000 and with growth problems, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the nation at one point. Now with the housing market there have been many foreclosures in the area.
2) Heavy traffic; We don’t have to commute to work and shopping is walkable.
3) Crime; there has been a history of gang activity in the south Sacramento area. That seems to have been mitigated with the formation of the new city and its own police force.

We did have an opportunity to look at not only the models with the upgrades but a “bare bones” finished house with the same floor plan we chose. The upgrades I really wanted I insisted on in our base purchase price (it is a soft market) and have it in writing.

I don’t think I would have taken the risk of buying in the development if we had children to raise in the area or had to commute to work and school activities. However, at this point in our lives, we are looking for a different lifestyle. We did like the fact that we would basically be in our own little community and that it will only be about 600 home fully built out. They are about 1/3 built out. The clubhouse, pools and other facilities should be open in march, they are already there, just finishing work and landscaping around them remains.

We know there are risks (there are with any move) but we feel we are ready for it and the lifestyle - including the many restrictions. Now, our grown son is of a different opinion; he doesn’t think we should sell his childhood home in a rural area and move to the “big city” (pop. 180,000).

When we were researching this, I told my husband, the only thing we haven’t done is ask Tuggers that live in Del Webb communities.
It was very valuable in confirming our information both good and bad. If Glenbrooke had a golf course, I would be a little more worried about it. But sense ours is so small and all the facilities are already in, it looks like a reasonable bet.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share your candid thoughts and experiences. Looks like we should move into our first brand new home this summer!
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Old February 17, 2008, 03:07 PM   #21
Karen G
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Originally Posted by Fern Modena View Post
Karen hasn't mentioned it, and may not be aware of it yet, but she has one or the other plumbing problem too.

Fern
I don't believe we have that kind of plumbing. A realtor friend of ours who has lived in ACC since the beginning looked at some of our pipes and said we didn't have it. I haven't heard from any of our neighbors that they have had problems like that. Our house was built in 2001 so I don't know if that makes any difference.

We did replace the smaller, cheaper water softener that we had put in when we bought the house with a heavy duty model, and we've noticed a big difference in the soft water. But, that was something we did on our own with no involvement of Pulte/Del Webb.
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Old February 17, 2008, 06:02 PM   #22
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Life is definitely what you make it. I can't imagine not having a full schedule. We had to give up a night out at the beach with my sister-in-law to come back to Sun City for activities. We get up early. I'm in water aerobics or walking by 7, hubby is playing golf or biking. I play mah jong, bunco, dominoes, attend book club, go to two Bible study groups, volunteer at a school, serve on our church council, go to Red Hat activities, belong to two dining out groups, go to ladie's neighborhood coffees, host many of the above activities, attend neighborhood pot luck dinners, etc. I have heard of folks that don't get involved. That is their choice. We also have an elderly mother in Georgia to visit, children and grandchildren in Georgia, DC, and Maine to visit and own 7 timeshares. We absolutely love the fact that we live in Sun City. We bought because of the activities and the home just came with the deal. We couldn't ask for better friends and neighbors.

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Old February 17, 2008, 07:16 PM   #23
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Andar,
I've driven by the community, but never been inside. My daughter lives in Elk Grove. As far as I know it doesn't have the crime problems of South Sac., although I did notice that the "featured home" on Del Webb's website had a security alarm included (how quickly I forget about things like that...they were common in California wherever I lived, but not in Nevada).

The one thing I'd worry about with such a small community is the HOA fees. True, there are less amenities in a small community, but there are less people to divide the dues/assessments among.

It looks like they really came down in price from when they opened. I hope it is really a price reduction, not "added amenities," because you pay taxes on the bottom line.

Good luck in your new community!

Fern
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Old February 17, 2008, 08:42 PM   #24
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I'm in the same camp (in Sun City Hilton Head) with Janette. Although I haven't moved in permanently yet, I closed on my new home late last year and I'm very happy with my purchase.

I hired an excellent building inspector to monitor the construction process from day one. Several TUGgers and non-TUGgers had recommended him to me. He did a marvelous and thorough job and came up with numerous issues for the builder to fix. Pulte has been as responsive as I would expect and has fixed everything that I expected. As with all building inspectors, my guy found a few items that he would have liked to have seen changed but that weren't reasonable considering the cookie-cutter nature of the Pulte building process. Those changes would have been reasonable - and expected - had I been building a custom home.

As Janette said, life is what you make of it. Every time I enter my new home, I say out loud, "I love my home!" And I really mean it!

I have an in-home meeting with my Pulte Customer Service Manager scheduled for Tuesday morning to go over a few miscellaneous issues - none of them big problems that would stop me from fully enjoying my home.

Last edited by Dave M; February 17, 2008 at 08:44 PM.
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Old February 17, 2008, 11:26 PM   #25
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Dave M, I VERY HAPPY that you are thrilled with your new SCHH home and hope you continue to feel that way after you occupy the dwelling for a while. I TRULY wish we had had the same wonderful experience that you and Janette have had but alas it didn't happen. Hopefully, we will eventually get all our problems solved and will feel as you do. In the mean time, we continue to enjoy the SCHH lifestyle and will continue to try to get Pulte to give us what we paid for.
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