You want to know you’re making the best decision before you buy a new home in a subdivision. Unfortunately, the right choice is likely to differ depending on who you ask, as personal preference plays a large part in the home-buying process. It isn’t as simple as seeking the advice of another person.
Some homeowners would immediately recommend a subdivision without a second thought, while others would warn against it. Whether they’ve founded their beliefs on experience or anecdotes, it’s all too easy to get lost in what people think. In truth, your own opinion should take priority.
A little research can go a long way in helping you make your decision. As you answer the four questions below, you’ll begin to get a better idea of what life is like in a subdivision. Consider the following:
1. How Do You Feel About an HOA?
A homeowners association, or HOA, is a group that oversees a number of services in its defined area, such as maintenance, trash pickup and snow removal. It establishes and enforces rules for the community, acting with support from fees that you, the homeowner, will pay every month.
These fees generally range from $100 to $600 a month. In addition to these costs, you’ll also have to conform to the regulations the homeowners association has set, or risk a dispute with the board. Despite the less attractive aspects of an HOA, they often have serious benefits for neighborhoods.
Many homeowners enjoy the services their HOA provides, which go above and beyond what you’d get from a town or city. The subsequent boost to property value is appealing as well. More than this, you have the option to run for a board or committee position if you find the current rules restrictive or unfair.
2. How Important Is Your Privacy?
You’ll find many differences between a subdivision and a standard neighborhood. Space can sometimes be an issue, as builders tend to leave very little room between homes in a typical development. This often results in a lack of privacy, which could prove problematic if you attach a lot of value to your personal space.
On the other hand, many homeowners seek out subdivisions because they invite closer relationships with neighbors. There’s a reason these communities have been popular with families since their conception. If you’re raising a family of your own, you might be grateful their children have the opportunity to meet neighbors and make friends.
If you prefer the privacy of a fenced-in yard, then a subdivision might feel invasive. But if you’re excited to fire up the grill for neighborhood barbecues, then these developments might provide the perfect level of privacy for your needs.
3. Do You Want a Newly Built Home?
While this question may seem somewhat confusing at first, it makes sense when you give it thought. Some homebuyers don’t necessarily want a newer home when they have alternatives. The cookie-cutter style of a subdivision isn’t appealing to everyone.
Subdivisions usually feature either newly constructed homes for purchase or options to build your own house. This can be great for homeowners who love modern features and would prefer to avoid the stresses of old plumbing systems, roofs and foundations. On the other hand, you’ll have fewer opportunities for customization.
If you’re building your home, ask your builder for features sheets for the homes in your subdivision. Often, they will specify which home features are upgrades and provide a base price for options. If you love the stainless steel appliances in the model home, double check that they come with the new build.
If you’re buying a home, it will be much more obvious which features come with the space. But remember to ask about HOA restrictions or fees. Some subdivisions will place restrictions on vegetable gardens, storage sheds and other additions that you might have your heart set on. In this case, you might find the rules too restrictive for your lifestyle.
Lastly, you’ll also need to do some research into the home builders. While you can start with tours and conversations with neighbors, you should also search for Better Business Bureau or state attorney general complaints to confirm that the construction company has a solid reputation — and your house is in good shape.
4. What Do You Want From a Community?
As mentioned earlier, opinions on subdivisions will differ depending on who you ask. Some homeowners will recommend them, while others will tell you to search elsewhere. Ultimately, you have to think about what you want from a community and whether a subdivision supports it.
Consider some of the main points from the previous three sections. Do you find that the benefits outweigh the costs of belonging to a homeowners association? Do you want to live in an area that encourages strong connections with neighbors? Do you need the freedom to customize your home freely?
You’ll answer these questions separately, but together, they’ll provide a clear picture of what you can expect when moving to a subdivision. If you’re unhappy with that picture, you may want to take time to review your other options. That said, you might have found that a subdivision is perfect.
Living in a New Development
Now that you’ve addressed the four questions above, you’ll have the tools you need to help with this important decision. Whether you end up thriving in a newly built dream home or embracing a more independent neighborhood, you’ll be happier because you took your own preferences into account.