Masterplanned communities are popping up everywhere you look around the new home scene. The trend seems to point to homeowners’ growing desire for tight-knit communities that contain spaces where residents can work, play, and live.
Definition: A master-planned community is a residential development specifically designed with the intent to include commercial areas that meet the needs of its residents. Masterplanned communities can also market to specific groups (ex: active senior communities, up and coming professionals, families, etc.)
Master-planned communities sometimes offer amenities such as exclusive community clubs, fitness/recreational classes, seasonal parties, and outdoor concerts. They may also host events for holidays, local donation drives, and voluntary neighborhood cleanup. Additionally, master-planned communities are purposefully designed to limit your need to travel outside of the community limits for your immediate needs. Grocery stores, schools, doctors’ offices, and entertainment will all be within a few minutes’ drive. Ideally, the house you buy in a master-planned community is one you will be able to stay in for years to come. Consequently, you’ll be able to build a strong network of neighbors, friends, coworkers and family that make up your overall community.
As with all good things, there are a few downsides to master-planned communities. To maintain aesthetics, certain rules and regulations are implemented. They usually control (or restrict) physical changes to the appearance of your home, landscape, or curb. Before making alterations to your home, you may need to get approval from your neighborhood committee, or even get a permit. If you happen to make an unapproved change, fail to maintain the appearance of your yard or violate a rule, you may also face a fine after being warned. Lastly, master-planned communities are often managed by homeowners’ associations (HOAs). HOAs can charge residents a monthly fee to allocate toward the neighborhood’s needs. Keep in mind, monthly HOA dues can fluctuate over time.
Deciding whether a master-planned community will be the right fit for your family requires a careful look at the pros and cons. Visit a few to get a better feel for the atmosphere, meet your potential neighbors and talk to the community leaders. And remember, the community you choose to surround yourself with can greatly impact your daily life. So take all the time you need to arrive at your final conclusion.