We try on clothes before we buy them. We test drive cars before we pay for them. But rarely, if ever, can we try out a community before we buy a house and commit to living there.
Sun City Center offers that opportunity as part of its Preferred Guest Getaway, said Jackie Buckler, vice president for corporate marketing for WCI Communities, developer of Sun City Center.
"Guests can stay at an area hotel and try out the community's amenities that are typically reserved for residents, including a round of golf for $40 and discounts on dining and treatments at the on-site spa," Buckler said.
"Few, if any, other places offer this kind of chance to 'test drive' a community."
Although started more than 40 years ago as one of the country's first communities designed exclusively for adults over age 55, Sun City Center continues to maintain a strong reputation for providing ample, varied and ever-expanding activities to its active-adult residents.
"There is always something exciting going on here," Buckler said.
And unlike many established communities that already are built out, Sun City Center continues to build new homes for families, which means home buyers have choices among a greater range of home styles and floor plans, she said.
In fact, Buckler said, Sun City Center is offering new home buyers a special plan that extends the typical timing for building a new home.
"With our Perfect Purchase Plan, you can choose a home site, choose a home plan, make a small deposit and then wait a full year before starting construction on your new home," she said.
"That means you could plan as much as 18 months in advance of moving in to Sun City Center, a timeframe that works beautifully with many people as they line up details for their retirement or job transfer."
Both new and established homes in Sun City Center include estate homes, single-family houses and villas. These homes range from just over 1,000 to nearly 4,000 square feet of living space, easily meeting the needs of nearly every home buyer.
"Now more than ever there are some great values to be had, whether you are buying a home that is already built or building one of your own from the beginning," she said.
"Right now, we have incredible values from the $150,000s."
Sun City Center is first and foremost a community focused on those older than age 55. With more than 3,800 acres in southern Hillsborough County, the planned community offers its residents ample space for most any activity, while keeping the focus on providing quality homes for a comfortable home life.
"Our residents are finally taking care of themselves," Buckler said.
"They are not buying homes with their kids in mind, or the schools, or their jobs, but just for them."
Residents at Sun City Center can stay as busy as they like because amenities are plenty. Four on-site clubs are host to the events and activities of more than 200 clubs and organizations. And there are 19 tennis courts, 162 holes of golf and state-of-the-art fitness facilities, as well.
Special programs are offered throughout the year, including golf workshops and falcon watching.
These amenities and programs already are in place and happening, Buckler said.
"It's not like many of the new subdivisions, where residents move in and have to wait for the clubhouse to be built. Sun City Center residents can move in and hit the ground running because it's already there," she said.
A unique feature for Sun City Center is that residents are permitted to drive golf carts on most of the community's streets.
"With gas costing so much, this is a great feature," Buckler said.
"Residents can run all of their errands - the bank, the drugstore, even the grocery - because they can easily get to the stores. And most of the local retailers even have golf-cart parking spots."
Buckler is reluctant to call Sun City Center a full-scale retirement community because so many of its residents are still working.
"Our residents are active adults but not necessarily fully retired," she said.
Sun City Center is in southern Hillsborough County. The information and sales center is at 105 Commercial Center Drive.
From Interstate 75, take the exit for State Road 674 East (Exit 240). Drive east for about half of a mile. Turn right at 33rd Street Southeast. Then turn left at Commercial Center Drive.
For information about WCI Communities or Sun City Center, visit www.suncityctr.com or call 1-800-924-2290.