Originally published in NextHome Magazine
As Ottawa continues to grow and develop, large scale master planned communities are beginning to take over the real estate market. From Zibi and Greystone Village in central Ottawa, to Fernbank Crossing in Stittsville – there is something out there for everyone! These communities often offer a variety of properties: rental accommodations, freehold homes, condos, retirement residences, and commercial opportunities. If you are thinking of purchasing a home in a master planned community, here are some pros and cons to keep it mind.
Since the developer will likely be involved in the building of the community for the entirety of the process, their reputation is more important than ever. Which means that there is usually more attention and care paid to the quality of the build, the customer experience pre and post-sale, and timely results. Unlike a one-hit wonder builder, in this case the future sales and profits often depend on the previously completed phases of the community.
Master-planned communities are planned down to the last detail, to ensure that all of the necessities and day-to-day activities can be lived out in the development. Many amenities are typically included – from community centres and fitness facilities, to shops and restaurants. Ensuring that the homeowners have quick access to everything from retail, to entertainment, to recreation, and more. As well, a lot of thought is put into landscaping, green space, traffic studies and transit access. Some builders even organize community events, inviting current residents and future potential homeowners to enjoy. This adds a warmer community feeling and further contributes to a well-rounded lifestyle.
Future Resale Value
Regardless of how long you plan on owning a home in a master-planned community, resale potential is always important to keep in mind. Typically, the future value of your home can be affected negatively by unexpected construction or unwanted changes in the neighbourhood. With a pre-planned site plan, these surprises are usually easy to avoid. The goal in these developments is to create both variety and cohesiveness, for an overall pleasing look and flow of the entire site. This should have a positive effect on property values in the neighbourhood.
Living in Construction
An obvious “con” to buying a home in a master-planned community is the possibility of lengthy on-going construction. Especially if you are one of the early adapters. Although most developers will go the extra mile to ensure that future construction is scaffolded out of sight and construction machinery is not using the already-occupied streets of the community. Depending on what stage you buy at, some amenities may not be available for your use right away. However, you are likely paying much less for your property now in comparison with what future residents will be willing to pay, once they see a more finished product.
Potentially Higher Development Costs
It is sometimes possible that the development charges you will be billed for on closing may be higher in a master-planned community compared with a one-off development. Just remember to ask for a cap on those development charges, if possible, before you sign your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
Since more amenities and infrastructure are required, the city may charge the developer additional fees. Find out beforehand which fees are being passed on to purchasers.
In closing, if you are looking for a home in a location that would provide an all-around cohesive lifestyle then a master-planned community might be the right choice for you.