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First residents move to Pecan Grove

Yearlong adventure leads to Highland Springs

Created date

March 14th, 2017
Highland Springs Executive Director Matt Neville (left) welcomes Joe and Delores Garbarini, the first residents of the North Dallas community’s newest residence building, Pecan Grove, which opened in December 2016.

Highland Springs Executive Director Matt Neville (left) welcomes Joe and Delores Garbarini, the first residents of the North Dallas community’s newest residence building, Pecan Grove, which opened in December 2016.

One year ago this month, Joe and Delores Garbarini sold their 4,000-square-foot Plano, Tex., house and embarked on a yearlong adventure.

“We were ready to put the big house and all the responsibilities of home ownership behind us,” says Joe.

The impetus for the change stemmed from one of North Texas’s infamous wind and hail storms.

“The seal around one of our vent pipes blew off in the wind,” says Joe, a retired software engineer. “Then rain started coming down into the house.”

The couple’s dining room table, an heirloom piece from Joe’s great aunt, was covered in water and the carpet beneath it was soaked.

“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Delores, a retired consultant for PeopleSoft. “I’d had enough.”

“We were both tired of home ownership,” adds Joe. “We’d done it for a long time.”

Everything under one roof

As they were considering their next step, Delores’s thoughts turned to Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas.

“We’d received mailers from Highland Springs for years,” she says. “We decided to come over and take a look.”

Joe and Delores attended a marketing luncheon in early 2015 and chatted with current Highland Springs residents, called ambassadors, who answered the couple’s questions about the community. 

“We also did our due diligence and visited other communities to see what each of them offers,” says Delores.

The couple says comparison shopping was invaluable in helping them determine the features they most wanted in a community. 

“On-site continuing care, indoor walkways, lots of activities, and a friendly atmosphere were at the top of our list,” says Delores. “When it came right down to it, Highland Springs had everything we wanted.”

Joe and Delores joined the priority list in the fall of 2015, putting down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit to reserve their place in line for the apartment home of their choice.

“We knew Highland Springs was planning to build a new residence building, Pecan Grove, and we decided to wait for an apartment in the new building,” says Joe.

Packing up, moving on

In the meantime, the couple worked with Personal Moving Consultant Cindy Gay, who offers complimentary coordination of moving services for anyone planning a move to Highland Springs.

“Cindy connected us with a real estate agent, estate sale planner, moving company, and storage facility,” says Joe. “Her help was invaluable.”

Pecan Grove was scheduled to open in December 2016, giving Joe and Delores plenty of time to execute the plan budding in their minds.

“We thought it would be fun to travel before we moved,” says Joe. “Our real estate agent told us that spring is a wonderful time to list a home, so we sold our Plano home in March 2016, put the furniture we were bringing to Highland Springs in storage, sold the rest at an estate sale, and hit the road.”

The couple traveled across the country, staying in studio and one-bedroom apartments as well as hotel rooms.

“By the time we moved into our new apartment at Pecan Grove, we’d grown accustomed to living in a smaller space,” says Joe. “Our apartment at Highland Springs seems so spacious compared to some of the places we stayed during our travels.”

First residents of Pecan Grove

Joe and Delores were the first people to move into Pecan Grove, spending the night in their new apartment on December 6, 2016. They selected a two-bedroom, two-bath, Morrison-style apartment on the fourth floor with a screened-in balcony.

The couple’s furnishings and belongings, held in storage for eight months, added an immediate sense of home to their new apartment.

“The professionals Cindy recommended did an outstanding job,” says Joe. “Absolutely nothing was broken during the move.”

Joe’s piano, Delores’s mother’s sewing machine and grandmother’s secretary, as well as the couple’s dining room table, salvaged from the rainwater, are all proudly displayed in the couple’s apartment.

“We’re very comfortable here,” says Joe. “I’ve slept well since the first night we moved in. It feels like home.”