Imagine yourself surrounded by good friends, engaging amenities and the best in live entertainment. Not your scene? Maybe a few hours spent on a rolling golf course or a day lounging around an infinity pool is more your style? You’ll find either option and so much more when you explore the many amenities offered by today’s residential lifestyle communities.
Communities governed by homeowner associations (HOA) have been around since the 1960s, when they were called common-interest developments, or CIDs. When you purchased a home in a CID, or an HOA, you also bought rights to use the common areas that may have included a community park, swimming pool, playground or clubhouse. It was state-of-the-art living for homebuyers, and it acted as a powerful marketing tool for builders and developers.
But my, how things have changed in a mere 56 years.
Today, communities offering a wide array of amenities are also referred to as lifestyle communities by the community association industry. Whether you call them HOA or lifestyle communities, more than 65 million Americans call it home. And once you understand everything that these communities have to offer homebuyers, you’ll realize why.
Lifestyle Communities Can Cater to Specific Interests
Many modern lifestyle communities are designed around the common interests of a target demographic. If you’re 55 or over, a young professional on the rise, or part of a family with young children, there’s a lifestyle community out there with amenities and programs designed to fit your individual needs. And we’re not talking just parks and playgrounds anymore.
Today’s lifestyle communities offer amenities you may have only dreamed about — on-site vineyards, concierge service, art galleries, beaches, and even kayak rentals. So whether you’re a rugged, 20-something outdoorsman looking for your next adventure, or a retired small-town school teacher who values access to libraries and community theater, you’ll find exactly what you crave when you buy a home in a lifestyle community.
Lifestyle Communities Foster Relationships
Probably one of the biggest perks of owning real estate in this type of residential setting is knowing that many of your neighbors share the same interests. Easily find a willing tennis partner, a friend who shares your passion for organic gardening or a fellow yoga enthusiast. Want to work out? Head down to the fitness center and meet up with other neighbors who are just as health-conscious as yourself. Craving a dip in the local arts scene? Attend a wine tasting or take in a local indie band at the on-site clubhouse where you’ll meet other neighbors who enjoy the same type of Friday night entertainment.
It’s easy for neighbors to become friends when you live next door to someone who shares similar interests. Remember that the next time you’re scouring the real estate ads, searching for your future home.
Today’s Lifestyle Communities Are Safer Than Ever
Lifestyle communities are designed with the intention of attracting quality homebuyers, and developers understand that safety is an important consideration. Your lifestyle community may feature roving security patrols that police the area 24/7, gated access, and professional property management to maintain the grounds and amenities in good working order. You could contract out for all of these services if you choose to purchase a home elsewhere, but the costs to maintain them could become all too real all too quickly.
As part of a lifestyle community, you’ll share expenses like these with every other family in your development. Imagine how much easier it will be to pay for year-round home security with 70 other families helping you foot the bill.
To maintain a safe and consistent community, you’ll be required to respect and agree to the rules and regulations of the association. And for good reason, 70% of residents indicate that the rules of the association enhance property value, meaning the majority of residents understand the basic need for an association.
How to Choose the Perfect Community
Once you’ve made the life-altering decision to purchase your next home within a lifestyle community, your next responsibility is choosing the right one. Keep several points in mind:
Location — Of course this consideration tops the list. Do you dream of retiring to a restful seaside community? Maybe you need something that’s downtown and located close to work and the local night life. It matters not — there’s a community out there that was designed with you in mind. All you have to do is find it. FirstService Residential, North America’s residential property management leader, offers a convenient guide to choosing the best lifestyle community.
Price — Always a factor, nobody wants to pay so much for a new home that they’re left financially strapped. Be sure to take fees into consideration. As part of a lifestyle community, these could include HOA fees, individual amenity fees such as those to use the golf course or yacht club, and fees for property management. It’s important to note again, however, that you’ll split these fees with everyone else in the community, making them much more affordable.
Amenities — This is where the lifestyle community stretches head-and-shoulders above the competition. Know which amenities are important to you, and then go after them. This will help ensure that you spend many relaxing evenings in front of the cozy fire at the community lodge or seated at the counter of the included green juice bar.
If you’re a homebuyer who’s searching for that perfect dream home, remember to ask your real estate agent about the perks of living in a lifestyle community. It’s the most affordable way of gaining access to all the amenities you crave. Best of all — you’ll never have to wander far from home to indulge your unique interests.