There's a couple in my community where the 6-foot-2-inch woman, a former model, towers over her 5-foot-4-inch businessman husband. As a less-than-kind observer noted: The husband may appear much taller when he stands on his stacks of money.
(I did say less-than-kind, right?)
But as someone who has written about real estate for much of my career, I do have this unscientific observation to make: When midlifers are dating, they would prefer to date a home owner than a renter. Why? Again unscientifically, they associate homeownership with stability and security.
I get why they feel that way -- on face value. But scratch below the surface of their logic, especially in these economic times, and all you get is dirt under your fingernails. Almost 30 percent of homeowners are upsidedown on their mortgage. That means their homes are worth less than what they owe on them. And more homeowners than ever are in some stage of foreclosure -- heading for losing their home altogether and damaging their credit for the foreseeable future.
Renters, on the other hand, are currently thought of as the smart people.
Trulia.com did a study recently that looked at how housing situations intersect with our search for mates. Obviously we can dispense with the idea that we think it's OK for a 50+ man to still be living with his mother in her house, but we may give him some bonus points if he's moved Mom into his. What about dating someone whose adult children have moved back home? While it's more common, it's also more complicated.
According to the Trulia survey, only 5 percent of unmarried U.S. adults would prefer to date someone who has a roommate of any stripes. Living alone means no distractions and more privacy.
A majority -- 63 percent -- of unmarried U.S. adults said it didn't matter whether their significant other owned their own home or rented. That said, there were more than a few picky daters out there who do care. Women in particular were more likely than men to prefer dating a homeowner versus a renter -- 36 percent vs. 19 percent.
Which gets us back to the why. Let's face it ladies, the fact that someone owns their own home isn't likely to make them less likely to cheat or lie or more certain to call when they said they would. But it's a lesson that post 50s have apparently heeded: While 44 percent of millenials (18 to 34 year olds) felt that homeownership does equal commitment, only 26 percent of Baby Boomers swallowed the Kool-Aid on this one.
What's your view? Is it sexier to own or rent?
EARLIER ON HUFF/POST50: 12 Retirement Homes For Under $89,000
We found two hot-weather hotties in Palm Desert, California, which offers activities such as golf and tennis; performances at the McCallum Theater; and more than 150 works of art in its <a href="http://www.palm-desert.org/arts-culture/public-art" target="_hplink">Art In Public Places Program</a>, along with shopping and dining. Both of these homes have pools (a necessity in the desert), were built in the mid-1990s and have two bedrooms. The first, <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/78614-Blooming-Ct_Palm-Desert_CA_92211_M23439-49113" target="_hplink">on Blooming Court</a>, is located at the end of a cul de sac, around the corner from the community clubhouse.
The Blooming Court home has a gated front courtyard, double door entry and architectural foyer. It offers 1,800 square feet of living space. The pebble tech pool seen here has a cascading waterfall.
The patio is trimmed in flagstone and surrounded by desert landscaping.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the living room with light, and ten-foot ceilings enhance the spacious feel.
The second home, <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/78723-Platinum-Dr_Palm-Desert_CA_92211_M14822-70399" target="_hplink">on Platinum Drive</a>, offers 1,600 square feet of living space including an office/den area.
We like the private spa of this slightly smaller unit.
Bright and open kitchen in the Platinum Drive home.
South Carolina has been the "in" place to retire for a number of years. You can't beat the pretty, wide beaches there -- although friends tell us the summers can be steamy and there are those pesky hurricanes. But homes are more affordable and the complexes newer. Two for your consideration: First, this one-level charmer with three bedrooms and two baths <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/8-Fudora-Cir_Simpsonville_SC_29681_M58256-86605?source=web" target="_hplink">on Fudora Circle,</a> located in a 55+ community. Built in 2008, the home was recently reduced by $30,000. The development offers a heated pool, fitness facility, and clubhouse with pool table and fireplace -- even a small putting green to entertain friends and family.
Open floor plans and high ceilings offer a spacious feel.
We love the palladian window and fireplace.
While it has a little less curb appeal, this brick home <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/204-Sandpiper-Way_Greenville_SC_29605_M59378-70758" target="_hplink">on Sandpiper Way in nearby Greenville</a> features a large entrance foyer, open living/dining room with fireplace and sunroom with lots of windows. The listing makes note of the proximity to the general hospital. (P.S. to marketing department: Maybe emphasize the pool instead?)
The home has an open living/dining room and wood flooring throughout.
Sunny sitting area
Of course if you are moving to South Carolina, the place to be is Sun City Hilton Head, described by one resident as "a playground for people in their 60s." Yes, still affordable -- if you don't insist on being on the golf course. This <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/146-Argent-Way_Bluffton_SC_29909_M65279-93220?mlslid=313169" target="_hplink">two-bed, two-bath home</a>, on a private wooded lot, was built in 1998.
This expanded 2,042-square-foot home has a windowed Carolina room.
The home offers an unusually large, 220-square-foot den.
Dining room has high ceilings and charming wainscoting.
The kitchen includes a breakfast nook surrounded by large windows.
Split bedrooms and baths provide added privacy for guests.
The outdoor patio in rear looks out onto woods.
Florida invented retirement, didn't it? Snowbirds from the northeast, especially New York, long ago began migrating there in the winter. Eventually, they bought condos which tumbled in the housing market crash. Today, it's a bargain-hunter's paradise, although sales volume and prices are ticking up, so you might want to hustle on down there if Florida is in your future plans. The mother lode is of course Boca Raton (pronounced "tone" for those of you living west of the Hudson), where the median home price is now $409,000. We did find this unit <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/17031-Boca-Club-Blvd-Apt-81b_Boca-Raton_FL_33487_M54620-26034?mlslid=R3216507" target="_hplink">on Boca Club Boulevard</a> for sale at $309,000 </a>and regardless of whether the complex is exclusively for retirees, you can't walk down a Boca street without hitting one.
Lobby of the six-story condominium; the property is on a golf course and has water views.
This 2,047-square-foot condominium has two bedrooms and three baths; the kitchen measures 18 x 9.
The living room is an ample 25 x 15 and the dining room is 15 x 13.
Sitting area off the living room
The community recreation facility
If you prefer something a little less glamorous than Boca, there's Port Charlotte, located along Florida's Southwest Gulf Coast, between Sarasota and Naples, in an area known as Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands. Here retirees can explore one of the world's largest protected marine estuaries; stroll miles of beaches; visit more than 70 parks and preserves; and enjoy fishing, paddling and sailing. The area is home to 16 golf courses and numerous annual sporting events and recreational facilities, as well as theater, dance, music and spas, according to charlotteharbortravel.com. This home <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/13308-Golf-Pointe-Dr_Port-Charlotte_FL_33953_M61785-53047" target="_hplink">on Golf Pointe Drive</a> is nearly 2,100 square feet with three bedrooms and two baths.
The kitchen and breakfast nook include wood cabinets, stone counter tops, tile back splash and built-in desk.
The home has a private heated pool and spa.
This gated community has a golf course, club house, tennis courts and fitness area.
The funny thing about Arizona politics is that they make you either want to move there tomorrow or forever stay away. Little middle ground when it comes to Arizona. But regardless of your view on the state's attitude toward gays, immigrants or guns, for retirees, there is great bang to be had in the retirement dollar buck. A <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/13746-W-Summerstar-Dr_Sun-City-West_AZ_85375_M10993-81274" target="_hplink">2,500-square-foot home on a golf course</a> location with an asking price of $260,000? The Phoenix area may be Boca Raton West.
The home, built in 1985, has tile floors throughout and vaulted ceilings in the great room.
The kitchen measures 11 x 11.
The unit overlooks one of the seven golf courses in the Sun City West, a master-planned community designed for people 55+.
Relax in the evening on the exterior back patio.
Upon getting their first whiff of aloha spirit, many people have to be dragged to their returning flights home. It's not pretty, trust me. And the reality is, for many, Hawaii is a great vacation spot but a harder retirement location. You are a plane ride away from friends and family and the medical care on some smaller islands isn't what you would find near a major medical teaching hospital. That said, there's <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/951050-Makaikai-St-Unit-16e_Mililani_HI_96789_M80658-53743" target="_hplink">this charming little condo in our price range</a> and we're feeling the tropical breezes already.
This two-bed, 1.5 bath condo is a compact 872 square feet.
The common space includes a community garden.
The condo includes a small patio/deck and space for an outdoor grill.
The grand poobah of retirement communities is of course LeisureWorld. There are LeisureWorlds in many locations, but we are partial to the one in Seal Beach, California, where the rules are reportedly iron-fisted, but the property highly regarded. There's a <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/13220-Nassau-Dr-209a_Seal-Beach_CA_90740_M14235-39578?mlslid=P779729" target="_hplink">tidy corner home with greenbelt views</a> and 1,100 square feet for $259,000.
Walls are freshly painted in neutral tones with white trim.
One of two bedrooms
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