More California Homebuyers Look for Community Amenities and Lifestyle Programs
There are many factors that go into deciding which planned community to choose when you’re searching for a home. These might include things like location, cost, commuting distance, size, and community management company. Two other factors have also become increasingly important to California homebuyers: community amenities and lifestyle programs.
“This is certainly no secret to developers,” says Katie Ward, president, FirstService Association Consulting and vice president, community management for FirstService Residential in California. “And the more successful ones are designing and promoting communities to appeal to specific demographics or to the interests and features of a local market.” Ward explains that, for example, “a lakefront community might include water sport facilities or beaches, whereas an urban community might provide theater passes or car sharing.”
With so much focus on lifestyle, many HOAs depend on committees or volunteers to create programs their residents will enjoy. Others enlist their community management companies to provide professional lifestyle directors to create and run events, classes, clubs, and other programs for residents.
If you’d like your next home to be in a lifestyle community or if you’d like to find a community that provides great amenities, Ward recommends looking at how well the community balance amenities with home costs and HOA operating budgets. Also, be sure that the programs or amenities offered are really what you want. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for extras that you’re not even using.
Here are some of the types of amenities and lifestyle programs you might want to look for as you evaluate different communities.
Health, wellness, and fitness
If you’re like many people, you try and get some form of exercise regularly. Residents in every age group have become more committed to health and wellness, so many lifestyle communities are appealing to their needs by offering exercise classes or creating state-of-the-art fitness centers. Of course, tried and true amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts continue to be highly desirable, too.
Is your idea of relaxation a soak in a hot tub? This, too, is a common amenity in communities that offer swimming pools. Some luxury communities are going a (big) step farther by offering on-site massages, hair salons, and beauty services.
Social activities
These days, you can find communities that offer everything from potlucks, to billiards, and pet parades to movie theaters. Seek out a community that offers the kind of social activities you enjoy. For one person, that could mean a game of mahjong; for another, it might mean a biking club.
Perhaps you have an interest in green living or organic gardening. You’ll find communities that offer electric-car charging stations, rooftop gardens, non-chemical landscaping, and even vegetarian cooking classes.
Outdoor living
Do you enjoy golfing? Hiking? Skiing? Depending on their location, some communities are geared to specific outdoor interests. We all know about communities with on-site golf courses. Some communities boast walking trails or proximity to recreation areas or ski resorts.
Whatever type of community you seek, look for one that is well managed, both in terms of its programs and in terms of its finances. Check the reputation of its community management company. Most importantly, be sure the company has specific experience with the lifestyle programs and amenities that community offers.
For more information on how to choose a lifestyle community in California or how your community could benefit from a lifestyle director, contact FirstService Residential, California’s leading property management company.
Tuesday August 02, 2016