New homes involve a new community, and you should take the time to learn about it.
What we find in a community can vary a best deal, depending on both our lifestyle and life stage. A downtown high-rise condo perfect for young professionals or adults may not suit young families. Conversely, suburban communities that are great for families may not offer what singles and retirees are looking for. There is no 'right or wrong' community, just the right one for you.
Today, new developments are often planned communities ranging from large-scale developments with hundreds of homes to private enclaves of fewer than 50 homes, to downtown condo towers. The ideal "community" is a very personal thing that varies from person to person.
It's important to have realistic expectations and know what you're looking for before you buy into it. When you visit builders' sales offices and model homes or suites, ask about the community at the same time.
Who is the Target Market?
Ask the builder or seller to describe the community and homeowners it is designed for. Inquire about the mix of homes by styles, size, and price range and ask for profiles of people who have bought to date – who lives there? Some communities, especially those aimed at adults and seniors, may even set criteria for who can shop there.
What Common Facilities and Community Amenities are Planned?
Developers and builders put a great deal of effort into planning a community that will work well for the intended residents. In surrounding developments, common amenities such as parks and community centers are part of their plan. Condominiums can include a wide range of common amenities, from health clubs, to party rooms, to pools. Ask what is planned for the community or condominium development you are looking at.
What Ongoing Services Will be Offered?
Services provided by communities to individual homeowners vary greatly, so be sure to ask for detailed information, including costs. In condominium developments, security and most maintenance of the exterior of your living unit will be professionally managed. Certain neighborhood development services such as gardening and snow removal are sometimes mandatory to keep the community attractive and safe. Seniors’ developments may include recreational services and health. Make sure you know what fees or costs are associated with the services provided.
Ask to See the Complete Community Plan
People work in communities and the layout and design of a new community will affect how residents interact and your daily routine. Look for narrow or winding roads to reduce traffic and sidewalks and paths for pedestrians and bicycles to move around the development easily and safely. Check whether shops and service areas are within walking distance and note the location of schools, access to transport and connections to other parts of the city or neighborhood.
Connect the Community to Your Workplace
You should understand the options for commuting to your workplace. If you plan to travel by car, it may be a good idea to drive during rush hours along your route. If you plan to use transit, find schedules and routes that work for you.
Talk to the People in Your Prospective Community
There's Nothing beats talking with the neighbors to learn about a prospective community. If the development is already partially built and lived in, walk around to get a feel for the community. Stop chatting with people on the street or try knocking on someone's door to ask a few questions. Most people don't mind, and it can help you a lot in deciding if this is the right community for you.