Lynda and Bob Sharpe had driven to Aiken from North Carolina for 18 years to visit their daughter. As they grew closer to retirement, they decided to make their home in South Carolina, too.
"We had been in Greenville, N.C., and I-95 just kept getting longer and longer," Ms. Sharpe said.
They took advantage of their daughter's local knowledge to scout out affordable neighborhoods friendly to retirees. They chose Kalmia Landing, a neighborhood restricted for homeowners with at least one spouse 55 or older.
The house is just a few miles from downtown Aiken. Like most in the development, which was started in the mid-1980s, the Sharpes' home is a brick ranch that appears small from the front but opens up into a spacious dining room and living room with 12-foot ceilings.
They knew it was the right community for them when, on their first visit, a neighbor invited the family to a St. Patrick's Day party.
They bought the house in November 2008 and renovated it until last February. The Sharpes remodeled the kitchen, painting it a bright Colonial blue, and added new white beadboard cabinets.
They painted the living room a light beige and added a chair rail and crown molding.
The fireplace was recovered in tile. They ripped out the carpet and put in a new bathroom vanity.
They still have work to do on the screened-in sunroom, which is off the master bedroom.
Changes to landscaping go before a committee, run by volunteers. Homeowners on other committees plan social events, put up holiday decorations, plant flowers, maintain the pool and library, and put out a calendar and newsletter.
"We are old but we are active," Mr. Sharpe said. "That's what attracted us here, because that's what people are like."
THE FAMILY: Lynda and Bob Sharpe
THE HOUSE: An 1,800-square-foot ranch with three bedrooms, built in the mid-1980s
It's a fact: The family chose a three-bedroom house because, as Mrs. Sharpe said, "I had too much furniture and family heirlooms I didn't want to get rid of."
Around the block
What: An age-restricted neighborhood with single-family homes and condos
Where: Gregg Avenue between U.S. Highway 1 and Trolley Line Road in Aiken
Number of houses: 126 homes and 12 condos; two lots ready for building
Built: 1984 to 2007
Average price: $175,000
Size: 1,400 to 2,200 square feet
Dues: $230 to $250 a month
Amenities: Tennis court, pool, clubhouse with pool table, library and puzzle room, garden plots and a pond
Nearby: Three miles to downtown Aiken, one mile to Kalmia Plaza shopping center and Highland Park Country Club
It's a fact: You won't see any for-sale signs in the neighborhood. A list of lots and houses for sale is available in the office.
Source: Kalmia Landing Homeowners Association