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Top tips on what to look for in a master planned community

Feb 23, 2012, 8:10 a.m.

Many homeowners are opting to look for a master planned community in which to invest. Homes within these communities are an excellent value, with potential for appreciation over time.

Some top tips on what to look for when you search for your new home in a master planned community include the following:

  1. Check with the designer or architect to view future plans for the community
  2. Most master planned communities utilize undeveloped territory but plans include all necessities, such as access to transportation, schools, healthcare and nearby recreational and retail establishments
  3. See how well open spaces are designed and maintained
  4. Talk with some local homeowners if possible
  5. Find out what social activities, events and outlets are available

First and foremost, this is an investment. It is similar to other home buying opportunities, but living in a planned community will have more stringent regulations and requirements. This is a good thing for increasing value because the neighborhood should always remain carefully designed and consistent. There would be rules like a homeowner's association might have, rules that would forbid accumulation of junk cars or other items that would bring down home value or create fire hazards.

Secondly, there are many social benefits when you choose planned community living. Just about everyone is there for the long haul. There should be less neighbor turnover and more of an old-fashioned community bonding opportunity. Many amenities include a clubhouse with facilities for meetings, a snack bar or kitchen, game rooms, and events like bingo, dances or other social activities. There also may be a threshold for population. Once the community is filled, relationships may be more stable over time.

Security is another concern for many homeowners. When you are living in a planned community, there often is increased security. There may be a gate, a security guard or patrols, and neighbors are more likely to keep a careful eye out for trouble because they are friends with neighbors and care about them.

Finding the master planned community that you prefer requires some searching around and paying attention to little details. There may not be any in your current location. Go online and look at nearby areas, or find ones in a new location in which you wish to relocate. The next step is to go there and check everything out.

With a master planned community home, you generally have many options for design choices. Your home may not have been constructed; if so, you can have more of a free hand with interior and exterior designs. All designs will have a common theme; this enhances the overall look of the community and increases individual home values. Within the themes, there still will be plenty of choices to make your home individually yours and not a carbon copy of a neighbor's house.

Looking for a home within a master planned community is an excellent option for homeowners of any age. Resale values are high due to limited availability. On the other hand, availability is not much of an issue because new developments are being introduced across the country. Work closely with your realtor to locate the ideal master planned community for your needs. Then go and enjoy a wonderful lifestyle in your new home and meet the neighbors.

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