What is a Master Planned Community?

March 15, 2022

If you’ve been doing some house hunting here in the greater Houston area, chances are you’ve already come across the term “master planned community.” If it’s one of those real estate terms that you’re unfamiliar with, you’re not alone. Just what is a master planned community and what are the real estate terms and definitions related to this type of unique development? We’re here to answer those questions and more!

Master planned communities have been around a lot longer than you might expect. The very first master planned communities appeared back in the 1950s and ‘60s. These days they’re being built all across the country, and their many unique qualities are making them increasingly sought after among home buyers. 

Simply put, a master planned community is a development of various neighborhoods, featuring single-family homes built by a select number of reputable homebuilders. What sets a master planned community apart is that the developer usually has a plan to bring together homes and amenities as well as businesses, schools, and even places of worship to create a single community with a unique character.

What makes a master planned community different from, say, a subdivision? While master planned communities may be built upon several thousand acres, offering plenty of room for new neighborhoods to grow as time goes on, all the neighborhoods in a master planned community are built around a number of resident amenities including fitness centers, parks and trails, green spaces, playgrounds for the kids, dog parks, swimming pools and splash pads, and much more. The community is often anchored by a central amenity center.

Like many developments, a master-planned community includes a homeowner’s association (or HOA) that collects money to pay for shared spaces such as roads, amenities, and more. The community, the land, and the residents may also be connected by a covenant or a set of shared community values that help to define the lifestyle that community residents can expect.

Real estate terms and definitions you should know that are related to master planned communities. 

If all of that sounds pretty good to you but also kind of leaves your head swimming, don’t worry. We can help with some handy real estate terms and definitions that will make understanding master-planned communities a breeze.

HOA – We just talked about homeowner’s associations, or HOAs. These homeowner organizations, made up of people from the community, oversee the spending of community funds on maintenance of shared spaces such as amenities, roads, and more. They also enforce any rules that the community has. HOAs typically collect dues which go toward maintaining communal resources.

MUD Tax – This is a uniquely Texan term that you may not have encountered if you’re moving here from out of state. A MUD is a Municipal Utility District. Essentially, it’s a subdivision of the state that is responsible for providing infrastructure and services including water, sewer, and more. A MUD Tax is simply a tax collected on property within such a district.

Resident Amenities – These are all those fun things we mentioned earlier that residents of a master-planned community may enjoy, from swimming pools to green spaces and from fitness centers to dog parks. 

ISD – Here in Houston, Texas we’re home to a number of ISDs, or Independent School Districts. These are simply public-school districts that operate independently from the state or municipality in which they are located. Here at Candela, we’re proud to be part of the Lamar Consolidated ISD.

Are you feeling a little more empowered to start looking for the home of your dreams in a master-planned community now? You might still find yourself with a few questions that we can help you with, such as…

What should I look for in a builder? You’ll want to find a reputable builder that offers you plenty of options for customization, not to mention superior designs and quality homes made from quality materials. These days, most of the best builders also offer eco-friendly options featuring smart home technology and other innovations.

What should I look for in a master-planned community? Obviously, you’ll want to find a community that matches your lifestyle and your values. You’ll want to consider area conveniences and proximity to major cities such as Houston. Then, of course, you’ll want to consider area schools and all those amenities we already talked about. With so many master-planned communities all over the nation, you’re sure to find one in a location that you love, 

What should I look for in a school district? Here at Candela, we’re proud to be part of the Lamar CISD because we know that the district offers student-focused education that helps every young learner achieve their potential. With a strong curriculum, a smaller enrollment, community and parent involvement, and plenty of opportunities to foster extracurricular talents, students at Lamar CISD are given every opportunity to shine.

How does Candela check all the boxes? Besides the incredible school district, our 460-acre master-planned community in Richmond, Texas also offers unbeatable amenities and gorgeous homes built by some of the nation’s top builders. Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word for it; you can stay in the know and be among the first to hear about new homes and other exciting events at Candela by simply filling out the contact form!

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