How to Choose the Right Lifestyle Community for Your Needs
Lifestyle communities come in a variety of types and sizes, and new ones are being created every day to meet homebuyer demand. If you’re interested in considering a lifestyle community but don’t know where to begin, you’re in luck. We’ve put together five of the most common considerations that go into choosing the right lifestyle community for you.
1. Community Type.Is your heart set on a high-rise building? Are you over the age of 55? Are you looking for a multi-generational community that appeals to people of all ages? There’s a lifestyle community for you. In addition, many newer buildings and communities offer updated floorplan designs that fit the tastes and needs of today’s homebuyers. For example, some active adult communities offer home designs suited to the current or future needs of 55 or better homeowners, such as one-story floorplans and/or wider doorways and lower sinks to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.
2. Location, location, location.It’s certainly key for many homebuyers, who may want to live in the heart of downtown, overlooking the beach, or closer to family, friends, work, or even certain schools, entertainment areas or medical facilities. If geographic desirability is a primary motivator for you, you’ll of course want to start with location – and perhaps even end with it. However, if you have some flexibility as to your future zip code, you can also consider some of the other factors we’ve included to make the best overall choice.
3. Costs.No surprise here – home prices are the biggest decision driver for many people. But it’s important to consider not just the selling price of a particular home or unit, but also, how much it would cost to live there. Start with your budget – or if you don’t have one, make one – that way, you can decide if a house or unit you can afford has a cost of living that falls comfortably within your means. Consider expenses such as community association dues, water, electricity, cable, Internet and insurance, and don’t forget living expenses like groceries, transportation, entertainment, parking and other relevant costs.
4. Amenities.Think about the quality of life you enjoy – or would like to. Lifestyle communities offer a wide selection of lifestyle amenities, services, programs, classes and clubs that appeal to interests and hobbies of both target homebuyers and current residents. Popular community amenities include clubhouses, swimming pools, fitness centers, front desk and concierge services, yoga classes, roving security patrols, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, golf courses, hiking, biking and walking trails, entertainment, Wi-Fi cafés, restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting, movie and travel clubs, community parties and social events, and much more. Many communities even have an on-site Lifestyle Director to develop a rapport with residents and plan community events and programs to meet their needs. With a little due diligence, you can find a lifestyle community that offers an ideal combination of amenities and leisure programs for you.
5. Management.Whether a community is self-managed or professionally managed, it’s important to make sure it is well managed. Good management includes being financially sound, running smoothly and well maintained. In a self-managed community, this requires that the Board members work well together for the good of the community as a whole. A professionally managed community should be using a property management company with specific experience with lifestyle communities and the resources to properly serve the residents. If possible, speak to a resident or two about their experiences and views of how the property is managed.
A good property management company will add value to the community and enhance the quality of life of its residents. How? By enforcing the community’s policies through careful compliance procedures and adherence to the governing documents. By maintaining the amenities properly. Through correctly and ethically overseeing finances, operations, maintenance, vendor relationships and more.
So if you’re considering purchasing a home in a lifestyle community, the sky’s the limit in terms of your choices. Now that you know what to look for, you’ll be better able to research and find a community that fits your needs and budget, and has the right amenities, programs, services and other options to suit your needs.
For more information on how working with a professional property management company can enhance the property values and resident lifestyles of your community, contact FirstService Residential, Florida’s leading property management company.