Pros and Cons of Living in a Master-Planned Community

September 17, 2019


Master planned communities continue to pop up all over Northeast Florida, offering a new option for buyers seeking a beautiful home and sense of community.  Just some of these communities include eTown, Nocatee, Wildlight, Beachwalk, RiverTown, Shearwater, Tamaya, TrailMark, Palencia, OakLeaf Plantation, World Golf Village and many more.


While there are plenty of upsides to master-planned community living, there are also a few downsides you may want to consider when making the move to one of these communities.


Pro: Nearby amenities and services

Perhaps the most highly regarded of pros people cite for living in a master-planned community is convenient proximity to stores, service providers and amenities. Gone are the days of driving 20+ minutes to one store! In a master-planned community, almost everything you need from Publix and dry cleaners to a UPS store and elementary school are just a short drive, bike ride or walk away.


This has also given rise to golf carts as a popular transportation mode in master-planned communities. Newly built communities are even installing golf cart paths off the main roads to ensure safe travel.


Con: Limited amenity options

Having amenities close by certainly has its perks, but it can also limit your access to options for grocery store, school, gym, entertainment, banking, dining, recreation and medical facilities. Many communities will have just one of each of these, which may affect quality and pricing. If this is a priority for you, be sure to check out what’s available nearby when you’re house hunting.


Pro: Feeling of community

Many master-planned communities fall within secure gates and include nearly everything you need to be self-sustained. If you’ve ever lived in a small town, you know this means you will likely meet lots of neighbors, some of whom you may even see daily.


Getting involved is easy in master-planned communities, where you can take in a yoga class in the fitness center, join the HOA board or organize a community garage sale.


In our increasingly online world, this is a great opportunity to feel connected. This is especially great if you are moving from out of town, looking to lay down roots and gain a network of friends.


Con: Less privacy

While feeling connected to your neighbors is a great thing, finding privacy may be more of a challenge in a master-planned community. Homes, which may include single-family homes, patio homes, townhouses and condos, tend to be closer together and neighbors are always nearby.


Your neighbors will also likely use the same amenities as you. While this may be your cup of tea, it might not be for everyone.


Pro: Well-maintained exteriors and landscaping

Master-planned communities are known for their pristine landscaping and tidy appearance. From the entrance sign and common areas to the golf course and pool, the homeowner’s association (HOA) in these communities ensures everything looks great.


This includes making sure your neighbors are keeping up as well. HOAs are typically pretty stringent on ensuring residents don’t park boats in the driveway, leave garbage cans by the street for days or let their grass get too tall. This makes for a nice environment while living there and helps your curb appeal in the long run when it’s time to sell!


Con: Limited freedom in exterior design.

If you’re design tastes don’t fall within HOA guidelines, you are out of luck. This might include changes to your exterior’s design and color, lawn décor and landscaping or even fencing. If you’re thinking about going the “ask for forgiveness instead of permission” route, you may want to rethink that path. You could be stuck with a hefty fine.


Want to learn more about master-planned communities in Jacksonville, St. Johns and beyond? Contact me today at 904.501.1830 or




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Davidson Realty