Buying a home is a huge investment and commitment. Of course, if you’re already eyeing your dream homes around town and are ready to take the plunge into homeownership, you don’t want to make any rookie mistakes. There are a million and one things to think about when buying a home, but when it comes to considering what home to go after, things can get a little murky.
From lists of home “must-haves” to the dream of buying within your favorite neighborhoods, it can be a challenge to find a home that checks off every want and need for yourself and any other family members included in the purchasing process. From floorplans and home types to locations and asking prices, what may work now may not be to your liking in the future.
I learned the hard way it’s easy to fall in love with a location or a home, but it’s rare to fall in love with both. Most first time and experienced homeowners can tell a story or two about having to compromise their dream location for their dream home—and vice versa. Finding both in one spot can be a nightmare, but it’s not impossible, especially if you consider a Master Planned Community.
What is a Master Planned Community and Why are They Great?
Take your average neighborhood of classic homes. At some point, one home was built along a street, often with plans to build more and more. Soon, you have an established neighborhood. The issue with this traditional way of building is that homes may or may not be built in an area that has established nearby amenities. Many older communities may have the charm of a classic neighboorhood, but feel disconnected to schools, parks, entertainment, and shopping.
Unlike a community that was built without too much thought to other eventual establishments in the area, a master-planned community is completely throughout before construction even begins. From where a home with a particular layout will reside to the distance between the home and the neighborhood park, every little detail is thought out.
Prices are Competitive & Values are Stable
As with everything, amenities and newly built homes come at a price. One that many homeowners assume is far beyond their comfortable scope. However, it’s a common misconception that master-planned communities will always out of your price range or well above a reasonable asking price. Why? There are a few reasons. As much as we hate to think that a new home is out of our grasp because…well it’s new, most planned communities offer homes under a wide umbrella of starting prices. Part of this is because, although homes are made with quality living in mind, floorplans and layouts can be relatively similar to a grouping of homes. Knowing this, builders and contractors are able to build homes with little waste and bring some savings back to you. Many communities also incentivize families looking to purchase within their community. Although having a home too similar to a neighbor might not be everyone’s cup of tea, high-quality planned homes hold their market value fairly well, and well-thought-out community amenities can add to the value of a home.
Purchasing a master-planned community single-family home, condo, or townhouse and HOAs usually go hand in hand. Of course, HOAs aren’t for everyone, and it’s best to be careful that you enjoy what you’re paying for every month. If you find a home within a community, however, whose amenities go above and beyond the average, those HOA dues are well worth it. Not only are they great for you, your guests, and the rest of your family, but they’re great for your home’s value. Yes, shared community amenities are fantastic, but so is having a home that continues to look great for years to come. Most HOAs cover the costs of landscaping and basic exterior renovations, meaning your home looks great from move-in day onward.
Purchasing from a Reputable Builder
Not all master-planned communities are made with the same integrity. If you’re looking into a community, take a good look at the builders on their concept team. Are those builders and contractors trustworthy? What other communities have they been a part of? Do their building standards, techniques, and general aesthetic work for your lifestyle or against it? It might be way down your list, but knowing that a building company has the integrity and building sense that can work in your favor can keep you from investing your hard-earned money into a home that simply won’t have lasting power.
My suggestion? Don’t only look into the location of a community, but other locations tied to a builder’s name. Of course, property values can vary significantly, but a simple search can show you of that company’s experience and its quality of construction. Look for signs of poor construction work, like flimsy cabinetry, metallic smells protruding from electrical outlets, and “barely there” carpeting. Seek a higher standard from both a community, choosing to look within those that only work with reputable builders.