Choosing the Right Lifestyle Community for Your Needs: Five Tips
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.
Where do you want to live? The heart of downtown, close to the action? Overlooking a beautiful beach? In the suburbs? Close to family and friends? Is your commute a consideration? What about proximity to good schools, leisure activity spaces or medical facilities? All of these can be factors when choosing a place to live. For some people, geography is the primary – sometimes the only – consideration when choosing a place to live. If you’re a little more flexible on the location of your ideal community, some of the other factors we’ve included here may be important in making your final decision.
2. Type of community.What kind of place do you want to live in? Would an amenity-driven high-rise building with a concierge make your heart beat faster? Do you have children? Are you over the age of 55 and can look at the active adult world? Do you prefer a townhome community or single family homes with garages and lawns? Are you looking for a multi-generational community with playgrounds for the kids and state of the art fitness centers for the grownups? Regardless of your interests, there is a lifestyle community to match. Some newer communities offer updated floorplans to suit the needs and tastes of today’s buyers – larger kitchens for the modern foodie, for example, or one story floorplans with wider doorways in active adult communities.
3. Desirable Amenities.How do you want to live? Today’s lifestyle communities offer many options for homeowners to choose from. Physical amenities such as pools, golf courses, fitness centers, restaurants, playgrounds, walking trails, sledding hills, tennis, basketball or pickleball courts and clubhouses are just one piece of the equation. Amenities also include concierge services, social programming, fitness classes, yoga classes, dance classes, wellness programming such as group meditation and special interest clubs for everything from wine tasting to gun collecting. Events may include trips to museums or art galleries, travel, theatre or movies. Some communities will have an onsite Lifestyle Director whose function is similar to that of a cruise director – getting to know the residents and developing programming and events that they want to take part in. With a little research, you can compare communities and find the right combination of services, programming and amenities for your life and needs.
4. Finances.Of course, financial considerations are always part of the discussion when buying a new home. Home prices are often the single biggest part of it, but it’s also important to consider costs other than just the home price. Community association dues, utility costs, cable, internet, insurance, commuting, parking multiple vehicles – these aren’t included in that upfront price, and not calculating them can lead to sticker shock later. If you don’t have one, create a budget. Consider everything you pay where you currently live and what that will translate into upon moving to help decide what home choice will be best for your bottom line.
5. Excellent Management.Whether a community is professionally managed or self-managed, it’s important to make sure it is well-managed – that means financially sound, well-maintained and operating smoothly. A professionally managed community should be using a community association management company with specific experience with lifestyle communities and the resources to properly serve the residents. In a self-managed community, this requires that the Board members work well together for the good of the community as a whole. If possible, speak to a resident or two about their experiences and views of how the property is managed.
A good community association 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 is 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, Georgia’s leading community association management company.