Two years before they planned to retire, Sonja and Hoyte Decker settled on the Delaware coast as their retirement destination. Living in Chevy Chase, Maryland, near where Hoyte worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the two had been spending weekends and vacations on the sandy beaches of the Maryland and Delaware shores for years. But they liked friendly little Rehoboth Beach best of all. Just three hours from friends and their daughter in Washington, D.C., it was also reasonably close to Hoyte's two children from a previous marriage.

bethanyBeach

But finding their retirement house was challenging: Rehoboth Beach itself is only about one square mile, with fewer than 1,500 full-time residents. Housing costs—as in many beach communities—were sky-high. "Houses were just too expensive, even in the late 1990s," says Hoyte, 65, "or else they were just small cottages, or they weren't winterized. We decided against buying an existing home. We had retired without a mortgage—that had always been our goal. And we wanted to keep it that way," he says.

Instead, when Hoyte retired in August 1998, the couple decided to build their own retirement home. They didn't waste any time, either. By September they had purchased a lot. By December they had contracted with a builder. And by Memorial Day 1999 they moved in. It's been one long beach season ever since.

The Deckers aren't the only retirees flocking to the area. With a median age of 57, and 38 percent of the population over 65, Rehoboth and the surrounding communities are a retiree's haven. That trend shows no sign of slowing: Delaware expects its 65-plus population to increase 75 percent in the next 25 years.

What makes Rehoboth Beach magical, of course, is the beach. "Walking along in the early morning, it's like having the ocean to yourself," says Sonja, 61. "There are dolphins all summer long, different kinds of birds—it's beautiful. And it means that in the summer we have constant house guests, which is great."

Why the locals love it

Rehoboth Beach is a bargain

Housing in Rehoboth Beach proper is, admittedly, expensive, but the nearby communities of Long Neck and Milton are quite reasonable (and they're still only a few miles from the beach). All Delaware residents can take advantage of the state's super-low property taxes; plus, Delaware has no sales tax on goods, food, or entertainment. Social Security and railroad-retirement benefits are exempt from income tax, and taxpayers 60 and older can exclude up to $12,500 of investment and qualified pension income. Out-of-state government pensions also qualify for the pension and retirement exemptions.

Lifestyle perks

The Deckers love that they can walk everywhere—whether it's on the beach, along Rehoboth's mile-long boardwalk (circa 1873), or to the area's little boutiques and more than 70 restaurants.

Great escapes

Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are within a three-hour drive.

Residents love

The small-town atmosphere and the constant events—from Christmas parades to the Annual Chocolate Festival. "Where else would I be able to know the mayor, the chief of police, and be able to be on the beach so much?" says Hoyte. "In Washington there were a lot of things to do, and I did a few. In Rehoboth there are not so many things to do—and we do them all."

Average temperature in summer: 68° F

Average temperature in winter: 41° F

Number of sunny days per year: 96

Hot tickets

Casual supper for two at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats: $30

The Rehoboth Film Festival in November screens about 100 of the year's best independent films, with a special $6 rate for seniors.


Source: Mahoney, Sarah. "Dream Towns". AARP The Magazine. July-August 2006.

Jack Lingo Testimonials

Hi Sheila and Jo-Ann, We wanted to thank the Lingo Rental Team for another outstanding year renting our property...You group truly goes the extra mile. The Team's efforts secured repeat business and new business totaling 97 nights so far in 2019. We know there will be additional rentals in October/November/December and your efforts will surpass previous years success. Everyone we have worked with has been pleasant, professional and very knowledgeable. The agents, rental management, and Jo promptly making those direct deposits reinforce our decision to list with Lingo. Thank everyone very much and we look forward to another outstanding season in 2020. Regards,

~ John B. (Rental Home Owner) -

Our thanks to you and the members of the Lingo staff that work so hard for owners and tenants.

~ Linda M. -

Hello Bill, I can't praise your rental department highly enough for the excellent service that we have received over the past two years. We have two rental properties listed with your company. I have been continually impressed with the attention to detail, the kindness and courtesy of each and every rental agent with whom I have worked. As you well know, even with the best and most carefully maintained properties, things happen! And we have dealt with our fair share of calls from the rental office alerting us to situations which need immediate attention. But each time, the agent starts the call with a reassurance that nothing terrible has gone wrong and that they're on top of the situation, whatever it is. Then, like the professionals they are, they get the appropriate people in to take care of the problem or work closely with me to resolve it. I can't even begin to explain the blessed peace of mind I feel knowing how caring and thorough the rental staff is when dealing with the unpredictability of long distance rental home ownership. Just wanted to congratulate you on supporting and developing such an A+ team! Best regards,

~ Joanna G. (Rental Home Owner) -

We appreciate the excellent and continuing help you and the rental department have provided over all these years.....since 1997 I believe..

~ Bayard A. -

As always my house looks great. Thanks so much for always placing summer season renters in my home that take such good care of it.

~ Mary Catherine (Rental Home Owner) -

Thank you and your colleagues for all the hard work you did for me this season. I look forward to the 2020 season.

~ Bernie G. -

Good morning!




I wanted to thank you for all your help finding the house for us this summer. We had an amazing vacation and fell in love with Rehoboth Beach! I can't say enough about the entire experience and my kids are already asking when we can come back! It was an absolute pleasure working with you and your team. Check-in and check-out was so smooth...you guys must be doing this for a while



Again, many thanks for a wonderful experience!  



~ Sherry B. -

Thanks, all, for doing such a wonderful job managing our property!

~ Jennifer F. -

We appreciate all that you and your team do to ensure our home is rented each season and look forward to a great 2020.

~ Lauren K. -
We have been renting in Rehoboth Beach for the past 9 years. Each home that we have rented has been clean and comfortable. I feel confident using Jack Lingo that there will be no surprises when we arrive for vacation.

Thank you.

 

~ Maggie O. -

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