Thursday, May 2, 2013

Is a Planned Community Right for You?

Home in 55+ Planned Community
When it’s time to start looking for a home, you have a wide array of options. From single-family homes in established neighborhoods to compact apartments in the heart of the city, there’s a home and neighborhood that’s perfect for you and your lifestyle.

One growing trend in housing design is the master-planned community. Unlike planned communities of the past, which featured street after street of cookie cutter homes, today’s master-planned communities offer a wider variety of home styles and amenities, including recreation, shopping and working space. They are communities in the truest sense, allowing residents to live, work and play in one well-maintained area, while getting to know their neighbours and enjoying a high quality of life.

But even with all of those benefits, master-planned communities aren’t for everyone. As you consider your options, ask yourself these three questions to help determine if life in one of these communities is right for you.

Do I Enjoy Socializing With a Community of Neighbours?
One of the major reasons that home buyers choose planned communities is for the sense of, well, community. In most cases, neighbours in planned communities know each other well and spend time together, especially if they have children. While there may not be neighbourhood parties and backyard picnics every weekend, when you live in a planned community you’ll see the same people when take your dog for a walk and at the playground, swimming pool and other recreational areas.

While such an arrangement is appealing to many people, if you prefer to keep to yourself and do not have any interest in participating in group activities or interacting with your neighbours, a planned community may not feel comfortable for you.

Am I Willing to Abide by a Set of Community-Developed Rules About My Home’s Appearance?
While the homes in today’s planned communities aren’t necessarily identical, they do share characteristics that create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing environment. In most communities, buyers choose one of several home styles, which they can customize to their own tastes by choosing from a pre-determined selection of colours and finishes. If you want to make changes in the future, you’re limited to the choices provided by the community planners. While this probably means that you can’t paint your home, say, lime green, it also means that your neighbour cannot do so either, and create a neighbourhood eyesore.

Depending on the community, the rules about your home’s appearance may be strict and detailed, or more lax. In general, rules cover such issues as paint colours, door and window styles, letterbox styles and whether attachments like satellite dishes and basketball hoops can be attached to the home. While many people appreciate the community standards and find the guidelines easy to live with, if such restrictions and rules would be difficult for, a planned community may not be right for you.

Does the Community Cater to My Lifestyle by Offering Amenities and Activities That Appeal to Me?
While master-planned communities often share features, no two are exactly alike. When you tour a community or look at the plans, consider whether the community offers activities and amenities that appeal to you. For example, if you enjoy running and outdoor sports, look for a community with jogging trails and plenty of outdoor recreational space. Look at the list of planned activities and the amenities offered in the clubhouse or central gathering area in the community. Some communities offer hobby clubs or other organizations for residents that will give you a chance to get to know your neighbours, or they offer planned parties, lectures or other events for all ages to enjoy. Before choosing a community, determine whether it can help you live the life you want.

By some estimates, master-planned communities are the next big thing in housing, and a viable alternative to suburban sprawl. However, before you pack your bags and lay down your welcome mat, make sure you choose a community that is right for you.

About the Author: Joanie Birch writes about real estate and home trends. After finding Mandalay at Beveridge community information, she is currently planning her own move to the community. Find out more about this exciting new community

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