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What Should I Look for in a Planned Community?

Single family homes

The drive to work this morning was the last straw. Only two inches of snow had fallen by 7:00 am, but the traffic was backed up as if the drivers were making their way through a foot of the white stuff. Never a fan of winter weather, you decided that you are going home after work and convincing your wife that this is the last winter you will be shoveling snow.
You have already starting making your list of “What to look for in a planned community,” that you will use to get your wife interested. It is time to look for a new home in one of the master planned communities you have been reading about. Not only are you ready to retire to a place away from winter weather, but you are also ready to take advantage of the benefits of master planned communities. You are specifically interested in the benefit of no more maintenance, like mowing and scooping.
What to Look for in a Planned Community

  • Are there options for building new homes, or are their older houses for sale? What floor plans are available? Are you able to chose the inside specs for the unit you will move into, or are those already made?
  • Does the community only allow single family homes, or are there also multi family dwellings like apartments?
  • Does the community allow children, or is it limited to couples with no children?
  • If the community does not allow children, what are the parameters for having children visit? For example, is there a two week visitation limit?
  • Is there a state tax break for people living in planned communities? For instance, Florida is one of seven states that does not assess an individual state income tax. The other states that offer this advantage are Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. How much of an impact would this have on your current income?
  • What maintenance is included in the accessed fees? Does it include mowing and landscaping, as well as the maintenance of all of the sidewalk and driveway areas?
  • How much storage space is available in each unit? Are appliances included in the units, or are you allowed to bring your own?
  • Is a laundry room included in every unit? The availability of a laundry room is so valuable to most buyers that 89% of them purchasing a home in 2013 made sure that they had one.
  • How new is the air conditioning or HVAC unit? According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 65% of buyers said that having a home with central air conditioning was very important.

Making the decision to sell a long time family home and move into a planned community takes careful consideration. In addition to the logistics of purchasing a new home, and brainstorming all of the questions about what to look for in a planned community, people considering this change also need to think of the impact the move will have on the rest of the family.
For example, will children and grandchildren be more or less likely to visit the new home? Some families are very attached to the home that is a part of their family history. If the family has only lived in one home, the children may be even more attached. On the other hand, some children and grandchildren embrace their parent’s opportunity to move to a location with less maintenance. Either way, this is likely a family discussion that should happen.
Sometimes the location of a planned community can be a real drawing card for visitors. If, for example, a couple who has just retired moves from the cold winter climate of Chicago, Illinois, to the warm climate of Tampa, Florida, the children and grandchildren may be more likely to visit. A place like Land O’ Lakes, Florida, has an average of 248 sunny days a year. The warm weather may be a real draw for adult children and their families during the cold winter holidays.
If you find yourself making a list of questions about “What to look for in a planned community,” you are taking a logical approach to what could be a major, and perhaps final, move in your life.




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