The following is a guest post from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty agent, Cara Ameer, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Whether you are an avid golfer or simply enjoy being around the sport, golf course living provides an opportunity to live within some beautiful surroundings. It may surprise you to learn that living in a golf community is more affordable then what you might think, and with an array of options, there really is something for everyone, whether you want to be on the course or close to it.
Before you tee up to purchase a property, there are several important aspects to consider when buying a home in this setting. Consider the following:
Private Clubs Aren’t the Only Option
A lot of people think private golf courses are the only option for golf living but both semi private and equity membership clubs are options that might give you what you’re looking for without the luxury cost of a private club. Here is some info about both options:
Semi private or public golf course communities – these have golf courses located within them where you don’t have to be a member. Take into consideration that you will have outsiders with access to the community and scheduling tee times may be more difficult since they are not private. The advantage is the flexibility of having the golf amenities nearby to use when you wish. Membership costs in these types of communities may be significantly less than that of a private club. Home values in these communities may also be more affordable than those located near a private club.
Community with equity membership club – Membership may or may not be required in these neighborhoods, but if you do join, there is typically a substantial initiation fee due at the time you close on the purchase of a home with recurring dues obligations on a regular basis – monthly, quarterly, etc. The advantage is better access to tee times and facilities as they are limited to members only.
Consider the Costs
Do you homework to see what costs are included to live in the community as well as joining a club. Do the association fees for living in the neighborhood provide access to any amenities? Typically these cover gated access/security (if that exists), common area signage, landscaping, and lighting and perhaps some common amenities like a pool, park or tennis court. If you join an equity club, how much is the cost to join and when is this amount collected? Are there are any additional fees associated with joining – transfer fees, capital contribution(s) whereby the club or association collects money up front? How much are the ongoing dues – monthly, quarterly, etc.? What do they include? Food, beverage, gratuity, cart fees, unlimited play? Can you use your own golf cart or must you use those belonging to the club? Does the community allow golf carts to be driven throughout? Are there any special assessments in process or planned? Is the homeowners association and the golf club all part of one association or are they separate? These are all good questions to inquire about before choosing a place to call home.
Amenities, Amenities, Amenities
What amenities/facilities does the golf course community afford? Golf, tennis, fitness centers, pools, beach access, dining options? Find out what days the club dining facilities are open and what the meal options are. In my recent search for a golf course home with a buyer, we were surprised to learn that the clubhouse located within a high end community was only open for dining on weekends! What is the dress code? Are reservations needed? Do you have options with membership for what amenities you want to use or must you join everything together? How are tee times scheduled and how easy is it to make them? How far in advance?
Test Drive Before You Buy
Request a trial membership or use of the amenities at the clubs/communities where you are considering purchasing. Most membership directors will gladly allow you the opportunity to sample their offerings. Some communities may pair you up with a community or club ambassador. This will give you a chance to talk with a local resident about the lifestyle, amenities, play the golf course and ask questions.
Buying in a golf course community is about buying into a lifestyle. Make sure that the surroundings you are paying for will help you achieve what you are looking for, whether that is being able to play golf whenever you want, beautiful scenery as well as the increased social opportunities that come from living within this type of set-up.
Check out my video below to see some options that golf living has to offer:
Cara Ameer is an agent with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and serves as a regular contributor on the local lifestyle show called First Coast Living where she covers a variety of real estate trends and topics of interest. Click here to view Cara Ameer’s profile.