Do you want to move to an active retirement community in sunny Florida? It’s tough choosing the right community, especially if you’re a snowbird from Michigan making the cross-country move to your new home.
The Villages community is, hands down, one of the best places to retire in the United States. In fact, this master-planned community is a staple on Forbes’ annual “Best Places to Retire” list.
Located primarily in Sumter County in Central Florida, The Villages is just northeast of popular destinations like Tampa. Harold Schwartz founded this real estate area more than 30 years ago. It sits 20 miles south of Ocala and 45 miles northwest of Orlando (and Disney).
Often penned as “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown,” more retirees are flocking to The Villages to enjoy this year-round paradise.
But any move comes with questions, so if you’re an aspiring resident of The Villages, check out this guide to best prepare for your move. You’ll find tips on the different options for moving to The Villages, what it’s like living there, and more.
How to move to The Villages
Whether you’re in it for the executive golf courses or bustling town centers, The Villages is one of the most desirable ZIP codes in Florida.
If you’re contemplating a move to The Villages, follow these quick tips to simplify your relocation:
- Hire the best interstate movers: Unless you’re moving from within Florida, it’s best to do your research and work with a reputable mover. Fortunately, moveBuddha did the legwork for you! Check out our guide on the best interstate movers to find a top-rated long-distance mover with verified reviews.
- Get a moving pod: Pods really simplify the moving process. It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. This is a more cost-effective alternative to movers if you’re able to pack and load your own stuff. Check out our guide on finding the best moving container companies for your move to The Villages.
- Calculate your moving costs: Talk about a great budgeting tool! Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will calculate your estimated moving costs.
There are also a few unique considerations when moving to The Villages.
Consider the politics and government
Florida is a conservative state, and The Village’s demographics reflect that. Because The Villages attracts an older crowd, the community tends to be conservative.
Sumter County tends to be significantly Republican. Some reports say Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one in this community, which is something to keep in mind when moving to The Villages.
Aside from the political balance, The Villages Community Development District (CDD) is the local government for The Village. It oversees all 17 districts and manages services like public safety, sanitation, water, and more.
Learn about the unofficial homeowners association
The Villages Homeowners Advocates (VHA) organization is the HOA ‘round these parts, although not officially. You still might want to join if you want instant access to a readymade community. This optional association hosts regular family-friendly events and even philanthropic programs.
Choose from dozens of potential neighborhoods
Did you know that over 123,000 people call The Villages their home for 365 days a year? That means moving to The Villages doesn’t have to be a part-time thing for you either.
The Villages has 17 Community Development Districts and more than 70 neighborhoods with more than 55,000 homes in an area of 5.56 square miles.
Some of the more popular neighborhoods within The Villages include:
- Village of Briar Meadow: Average home sales are$347,450, making it one of the more affluent areas.
- Villa St. Simons: Average home sales are$240,000, so this is the most affordable neighborhood in the area.
- Villa Alexandria: Average home sales are$305,000. These homes are smaller and designed for folks over the age of 55. Many yards don’t have grass, so this is ideal if you don’t want to deal with landscaping.
What does it cost to live in The Villages?
It might sound like a high-end community, but The Villages offers a range of different price points. That makes moving to The Villages an option for just about any budget.
Most houses in The Villages are relatively small, clocking in at 1,000 to 1,200 feet (the U.S. average is just over 2,000 square feet).
A whopping 96% of homes in The Village are owner-occupied, while renters make up just 4%. If you’re renting, you can expect to pay $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in The Villages.
Depending on the home or apartment you have, you could pay a premium to live in The Villages, but many areas are quite affordable.
On average, the cost of living in The Villages is 3.6% higher than the national average, mostly in terms of transportation, food, and housing. However, it’s still cheaper than living in cities like Miami, New York, or even Dallas.
You’ll also need to factor in the various fees you need to pay as a resident of The Villages, which includes a $189 monthly amenity fee. The Villages also estimates how much you’ll spend every month on trash, sewer, water, electricity, insurance, and taxes. This ranges from $112 a month to $1,358 a month, depending on the size of your home.
Most residents pay an average of $176.67 a month on utilities, $40 for a meal for two at a mid-priced restaurant, and $3.15 for a gallon of gasoline.
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What’s it like to live in The Villages?
Although The Villages is primarily a retirement community and 80% of residents are retirees, you don’t need to be of retirement age to live here.
Curious to see what it’s like to live in The Villages? Here are just a few things you can expect if you’re planning on moving to The Villages.
1. The schools are exceptional
Generally speaking, there are no full-time residents of The Village under the age of 19. However, the community allows for some exceptions in its three neighborhoods that include family units.
Unfortunately, this means that there are no elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools in the immediate area.
Undeterred, many young families still choose to live in The Villages. If you don’t mind a commute, the schools zoned to this area are exceptional:
- Homes in the Marion County area feed into the prestigious Lake Weir High School.
- The Villages’ family unit neighborhood, Bison Valley, feeds into Wildwood Middle School.
But you can still access educational opportunities in The Villages even if you’re a retiree. The Villages provides easy access to The Enrichment Academy, a lifelong learning college.
This college offers noncredit courses in:
- Foreign languages
- Culinary arts
- Scuba diving
This college isn’t tied to one location, either: it offers courses at various recreation centers across The Villages community.
2. Many activities are available
It’s no secret that The Villages provides a fun, social, and safe environment for its residents. That’s why the Holding Company of The Villages designed the community to keep you active and social.
Are you an avid golfer? The Villages is a golfer’s paradise.
Even though there aren’t any official sports teams in The Villages, there are 12 country club championship golf courses. With well over 50 golf courses, The Villages is one of the most thriving golf communities in Florida.
In fact, you can enjoy free golf on any of The Villages’ official Executive Golf courses.
However, golfing isn’t the only sporting activity available in this prestigious area. Residents can also:
- Take long walks along the trail through the Sharon Rose Weichens Preserve or jog through the Hogeye Preserve pathway, which is a 2.5-mile loop.
- Spend your afternoons fishing at the fully stocked lake. You don’t even need to bring your own rod or reel!
- Walk your dog in one of the neighborhood’s many dog parks.
If you’re looking for a little bit of everything, check out the Cattail Recreation Area for:
- Resort-style family swimming pools
- Sports pools
If you’ve got the itch to travel locally, you can also fit that into your life at The Villages. Several bus tours offer exciting day trips from The Villages, so you can enjoy a no-hassle trip to the beach with your neighbors.
3. Live in safety
The Villages is a very quiet, safe place to live with an exceptionally low crime rate.
Overall, it has a crime index of 44, which means it’s 44% safer than most U.S. neighborhoods.
The crime rate per 1,000 residents is 0.89 for violent crime and 10.41 for property crime.
4. Enjoy gorgeous warm weather
Not many people want to live in an area that experiences blistering summers or frigid winters. That’s why so many people flock to The Villages.
This community area has a lovely, temperate climate all year round. This means there are plenty of sunny days to enjoy outdoor activities.
According to locals, the best season in The Villages is from October to April, and the hottest months are from June to August. The heat peaks in August, when the average temperature is in the low 90s.
5. Eat at amazing restaurants
Regardless of what you’re craving, you’ll find it in the Villages. In fact, there are over 200 restaurants in and around The Villages.
Choose from pizza joints, sushi restaurants, steakhouses, and even fine dining establishments. Some of the more popular restaurants in the area include:
- Olive Garden
- Outback Steakhouse
- The Wolfgang Puck Restaurant
- Panera Bread
There are also more than a dozen country club dining rooms available, including the Palmer Legends Country Club, named after famed golfer Arnold Palmer.
Ready to make the move to The Villages? Get a free custom quote to find out how much it’ll cost to move from your location.Learn More
6. Get social with your neighbors
The great thing about The Villages is that it’s social by design. This neighborhood definitely isn’t for introverts; you’ll be on a first-name basis with your neighbors in no time in the Villages.
In The Villages, you’ll have access to:
- Multiple town squares and market squares, like Brownwood Paddock Square and Spanish Springs Town Square.
- Over 3,000 social clubs for everything from woodworking to gardening to cooking to sports.
- Camp Villages, which is a program designed to bring grandparents and grandchildren together.
By the way, The Village even has its own radio station. Learn about neighborhood news, give a neighbor a shoutout, and request tunes.
7. Choose from a variety of home-owning options
The Villages is a huge community, which means that there are a lot of home options to choose from.
Thanks to the variety of different neighborhoods in the Villages, you can choose a home near different amenities. You can choose to buy a:
- Low-maintenance home
- Golf course-facing home
- Pool home
- Home located near grocery stores and amenities
- Waterfront home
8. Shop ‘til you drop
The Villages might be a nice part of town, but it has shops that cater to all budgets. You’ll find stores like Tommy Bahama and Chicos to outfit your new Floridian style.
The Villages is close to hair and nail salons, bike shops, and fast food staples like Five Guys and Dunkin Donuts.
It’s also close to Target, The Fresh Market, Walmart, Publix, and Winn-Dixie.
9. Get peace of mind with nearby healthcare
You don’t need to drive for hours to access medical care. Since 2002, The Villages Regional Hospital has served thousands of residents in the area.
Plus, this community is part of the Central Florida Health Care system, so you can easily access specialty help if you need it.
10. Multiple entertainment venues and annual events
One of the perks of living in The Villages is the number of events and activities in the area, including:
- Live entertainment and music
- The Lake Sumter Landing Market Square, which is essentially a mall with bars, shops, and tasty restaurants
- Indie movies at the Barnstorm theater
- Plays or concerts at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center
- Polo matches in the spring
- Arts and crafts festivals
- Independence Day celebration
- Balloon festival
11. Get there by golf cart
Sure, you’ll need a car to leave The Villages, but honestly? It’s famous for its connectivity via golf cart.
The Villages has over 90 miles of golf cart paths — complete with tunnels and bridges. You can rent a golf cart from the main office and easily get around your neighborhood without starting your car.
As a local, you’ll also have access to The Villages shuttle. The Sumter County Transit System owns and operates the shuttle, which shuttles between The Villages and the Orlando International Airport. The transport options make moving to The Villages an easy option.
Is The Villages, Florida, a good place to live?
The Village is an exceptional place to live. Not only is this community retiree and family-friendly, but it’s also safe. If you want a social community packed with events, sports, and fun, The Villages is the place to be.
Move to The Villages with ease
The Villages might be a little on the pricey side, but for many people, the amenities and social way of life make up for the costs.
The Villages has temperate weather, all-star entertainment, and a ton of outdoor activities and amenities. While it’s definitely a nice area, it isn’t so expensive that it’s out of reach for retirees.
If you’re sold on moving to The Villages, it’s time to calculate how much it will cost to move to this lively community.
Use moveBuddha’s free moving cost calculator to see how much you need to relocate to sunny Florida. You can also check moveBuddha’s list of trustworthy movers to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
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