[This article first appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press]
Q: I am considering purchasing a home on a golf course. What do I need to know?
If you enjoy golfing on a regular basis or if you simply like the amazing views that golf course homes typically have to offer, purchasing a golf course home may seem like the logical choice. Before you sign the contract on a home backing to the greens, there are a few things you should be think about.
There is no doubt that homes located on golf courses are more expensive than those that are not. After all, many people dream of living on the course because of the convenience as well as the views. Therefore, you should expect to pay quite a bit more for a home located on a nice course than one that is not. The extra cost of purchasing the home isn't the only added expense you should expect when purchasing a home on a golf course. You will most likely have homeowner's association dues to pay, as well. In other words, don't look at just the purchase price when purchasing a home on the greens. Rather, find out about the other annual expenses that you will have to pay for living in the community when deciding whether or not you can truly afford to live in a golfing community.
While the golf course is generally the primary reason why people are interested in living in golfing communities, you should also consider the other amenities that are included in the community. Some other amenities that might be included with your home are tennis courts, swimming pools, fitness areas, playgrounds, club house and other common areas to enjoy.
Remember, you are paying for these amenities, so you need to ask yourself whether or not you will actually use them. Similarly, if you are looking for a community with all of the "extras," you need to be sure to select the one that offers all of the amenities you are looking for. While you might be able to afford to live in a home located on a golf course, this doesn't necessarily mean it is worth the added expense. If you won't use the golf facilities or other amenities on a regular basis, for example, the added cost of living in a golf community may not be worth it for you.
Most golf communities are purposely located in a convenient area that is near to parks, retail establishments and other recreational opportunities. This does not mean that the location is convenient for you and your lifestyle. In addition to considering the community's proximity to certain amenities, you need to also consider how far it is from work, from your family and other places you may enjoy visiting on a regular basis. Sure, a 30-minute commute may not seem so bad at first, but it can really get old over time. Therefore, you need to decide whether or not the location of the community is right for you.
While the golf community may meet your short-term objectives, you need to consider your long-term goals as well. If you plan to expand your family, for example, you need to determine whether or not the community is family-friendly and whether or not the home will fit your growing needs. If the home you are considering is not large enough, you need to find out if the homeowner's association will allow you to add on to the home. As with any home purchase decision, weigh the pros and cons to determine if it is the right choice for you.
Get answers to questions you might have about real estate from Randy Durham, who is president of the Chattanooga Association of Realtors and a broker with Keller Williams Realty. His column appears on Sundays. Send your questions to Business Editor John Vass Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org