Q.What is the big deal about Master Planned Communities anyway?

June 13, 2010

by christi borden, realtor

A. I just finished writing an offer for a client and he and others always ask me what makes Cinco Ranch or other master-planned communities so special, i. e. more expensive and more elusive than other housing options in the Katy/West Houston Area.

One word explains it all… security. And not in the usual sense of the word from a personal security standpoint. I actually refer to security as it relates to your financial investment in your home. No Realtor with any sense will guarantee a buyer that his or her home will appreciate in any area in the United States or at least they should not – even in an area with a pretty darned good track record like ours.

All we can do for our clients when advising them as their buyer’s representative in a real estate transaction is to inform and disclose all we know that could have a positive or negative impact on the value of their property and the value of the quality of life. There are so many variables to the process that no one can predict what will happen so we have to look at the past to help us understand the future.

As Houston is not a city with proper Zoning for residential areas, developers (the really good ones) take it upon themselves to master-plan or self-zone their developments with one goal in mind: helping their residents enjoy their lifestyle while retaining property values. This is a good goal and some do it better than others. One of the reasons the South Katy market has consistently been one of the hottest markets in Houston is our developers have taken their role seriously and have created award-winning and world-renowned communities such as: Cinco Ranch, Grand Lakes, Seven Meadows, Cross Creek Ranch, Firethorne and even the older areas like Kelliwood and Green Trails. Richmond and Fulshear are also areas with great new communities such as: Lakes of Bella Terra, Fulshear Creek Crossing and Weston Lakes.

So how much difference does a neighborhood make when comparing similar houses? Well, it could mean more available amenities to improve quality of life, a Home Owner’s Association that has stringent rules and enough capital to take care of the community, and when you plan to sell in the future: the difference of a quicker sale for top dollar or an extended stay on the market and less than you hope to sell for in the future.

When searching for a home in the Katy market, make sure your Realtor knows the area well because “where you buy” is often more important than “what you buy”, which makes for very big deal… indeed.