Feb 4, 2019

Touring a master-planned community? Ask these questions

Is a master-planned community right for your new home and family? Finding the ideal community for your new home is just as important as the home itself. If this is your first home buying experience it is important to know what a master-planned community is. Simply stated it is an extremely large scale real estate development divided into lots. A master-planned community offers prospective buyers a wide range of homes styles in a variety of price ranges. The attraction of living in one is the recreational amenities and health and wellness activities they provide. Amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, golf courses, jogging trails, and bike paths are usually an integral part of the community. These communities can be little cities all by themselves offering residents a myriad of conveniences including non-residential commercial development.

But, before you set on your journey to find your dream home in the perfect community it’s imperative to do some research and formulate a plan. Choose an area, or perhaps a particular builder you are interested in. Then, draft a list of criteria you feel is important in a community. There’s two reasons why you should do this. It will help you narrow down your search of available communities and save you valuable time. As you visit prospective communities you’ll want to ask questions. Sales representatives are available in model homes to greet you and field your questions. Here’s our list of the best questions to ask when touring a master-planned community:

How long has the community been in existence?

Are you looking for a young community where you can root your growing family? Or, are you looking for a more established community that has had time to mature? Living in a brand new community can be a good thing because everything is new. However, expect some wrinkles when moving to a new community especially when it comes to setting rules and guidelines, and construction. Chances are you’ll have to live with construction crews while the community takes shape. A more mature community has had the time to weather minor inconveniences. Moreover, they are also likely to have more completed homes, streets and parks, and mature trees. But, be aware that established communities may also be in need of facility repairs and common area upgrades.

What amenities are included in this master-planned community?

When touring multiple communities you need to ask this question each time you visit a new one. Why? Because not all master-planned communities are alike. Amenities in these communities can run the gamut. In today’s real estate market developers of master-planned communities are definitely feeling the competition. And, that means they are upping their game. One way they are doing that is with unique resort-like over-the-top amenities that offer residents an active lifestyle. Furnishing the latest and greatest amenities related to health and fitness tops the list of hottest trends for 2019. As you tour these communities expect to see amenities such as natural preserves with trail systems, clubhouses with fitness centers, tennis courts, and full-time lifestyle directors. Don’t forget to ask to take a tour of the amenities and make a mental note of their upkeep.

Does the community have a homeowner’s association?

More commonly known as an HOA, this organization within a master-planned community exists to create and enforce rules and guidelines to maintain the community’s property and its common areas. Most likely, the developer has hired an outside Property Management firm to manage the community. So, don’t forget to ask the name of the firm that manages it. HOA’s are an integral fixture in planned concept communities and can offer big advantages. Think resale value here. Statistically, homes within an HOA tend to sell at a higher price than homes not in a HOA community. And, that’s because they hold their residents up to high standards.

What are the HOA fees?

Having amenities and well-maintained communities come at a price. Therefore, HOAs charge a monthly fee or dues for the community’s upkeep. Depending on the community and its amenities the amount of dues and the payment schedule will vary. Whether you pay monthly, quarterly, or yearly is the decision of the HOA. In general, HOA dues cover common areas shared by all residents. Exterior and interior building maintenance, outdoor facilities, insurance fees, sewer, and roof maintenance are all examples of costs HOAs incur. To know how the HOA fees are used and distributed by the association ask for a copy of last year’s operating expenses. Or, attend one of the HOA resident meetings.

Can I have a copy of the community’s rules and bylaws?

The rules and bylaws in a community can cover just about anything. It can also vary greatly depending on the community. Therefore, it is extremely important to get a copy of the bylaws and review them. The community’s HOA will have a copy. Some common restrictions include number of animals, types of allowable animals, rental policies and restrictions, and pool and deck restrictions and sizes.

What is a Municipal Utility District (MUD)?

If you are looking for a home in a master-planned community in Texas you may or may not have heard the term Municipal Utility District. So, what is it? According to BusinessDictionary.com a MUD is in charge of providing utility-related services such as water, sewer, and stormwater drainage services. Typically, it is enacted by state law and is funded by special assessment bonds. Individuals living in a MUD are assessed a tax based on the value of their property and the current tax. Make sure you ask if the community you are moving to is in a MUD. Learn more here.

What’s the long term plan?

By definition, master-planned communities are large scale. Based on your lifestyle you may love the idea of having a multitude of recreational conveniences right in the neighborhood. But, you may not like what the future holds. So, you’ll need to ask these questions: How many acres will the development include and how many houses will there be? Will the development include an on-site elementary school? How long will it take before the community is built-out? Are there plans to build parks and include green space in the development’s overall master plan?

To get the best home-buying experience bring this list along with you. It’s also a good idea to jot down the answers to those questions you do ask so that you can compare the similarities and differences between communities.

Travisso—a master-planned community in the Texas hill country

Are you looking for a master-planned community? Travisso’s got you covered. We offer state-of-the-art floor plans from award-winning premier builders. Homebuyers can choose homes ranging in size from 1,900 to over 5,000 square feet with prices starting in the 300s. And, there’s much more including resort style amenities, over 10 miles of proposed walking and biking trails, and a future 58 acre on-site regional park perfect for your active lifestyle. Visit us in Leander today and explore our new model homes and neighborhoods. For additional information call us at 512-243-8583.