When you see new homes advertised these days, the details are often accompanied by terms such as “lifestyle community,” “adult community,” and so on. But what do those terms really mean, and how do you determine which kind of community is right for your situation? Here’s a primer to help you.
What is a Lifestyle Community?
Lifestyle communities are defined by the way individuals, couples, and families live their lives, engage in work and leisure behaviors, and reflect the way they and others see themselves. While lifestyle choices are influenced by their motivations, needs and wants, it also includes factors such as culture, family, reference groups and social class.
Types of lifestyle communities are:
- Family communities, which are usually populated by couples with children. Schools, sports activities, and nearby leisure activities are important to this target market.
- Adult communities. These are often geared towards couples and individuals with older or adult children, but who aren’t yet considering their retirement years.
- Resort lifestyle communities, where families of all ages can participate in onsite activities such as watersports, golfing or social and leisure activities.
- Active adult communities. This usually applies to mature adults and younger retirees, who still engage in social activities but prefer to be near to medical and other services.
- Retirement communities – while self-explanatory, this category usually includes a range of sub-categories geared at different levels of retirement.
In some cases, the identity of a community is driven by rules and restrictions, but more often than not it’s simply based on preferences, so it’s important for buyers to choose a community where the majority of homeowners want similar design homes.
Choosing the Right Community for Your Family
New home developments often cultivate a specific image, in order to attract like-minded buyers, which helps achieve harmony in the community and maintain the value of the homes. This practice helps you to identify whether a particular lifestyle community is right for your family. Some factors to consider are:
Type of Environment
When you picture your perfect home, what are the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings you experience? Is it calm and relaxing, or do you prefer to see activity around you? Do you want to smell a BBQ cooking, or will the scent of pine needles in the forest rock your boat? And what about sounds – do children playing in the park make you feel serene, or do you prefer silence and the sound of birds in the trees? All these are clues to the kind of environment that will work best for you and others in your household.
Whether you work at home or elsewhere (or both) you’ll need to take account of the distance to travel to your premises or clients, or other locations you need to visit in person. For those who work from home, a lot right beside a school playground is likely to provide disturbance during business hours.
Families with school-age children need to consider various aspects of the community. These include:
- The distance from home to school, and whether transport is available or not
- The safety of the environment, particularly for younger children
- Types of courses and extra-curricular activities offered in schools, compared with the interests of your children
- Availability of day- or afterschool-care, if the adults in the home work.
It’s probably safe to say if you have young children who need to commute to and from school you probably don’t want to live in a mainly-adult community located far from schools, so these factors are all important when it comes to choosing a lifestyle community.
Make a list of everything the members of your family do for fun. Do you enjoy spending time in nature? Are you water-lovers who absolutely must live near to a lake? Are you culinary explorers or shopping addicts, part-time film critics or enthusiastic readers? Is nearby nightlife a must? What about medical needs or services such as dry-cleaning?
Compiling a schedule of all these factors and your requirements will help you to determine whether a specific community is likely to work for you.