What is a Planned Unit Development?
A planned unit development, or PUD, is a type of housing community that offers various single-family homes, townhomes, and sometimes condos. The fact that every homeowner belongs to a homeowners association defines this unique community as a PUD. It's important for home shoppers to be familiar with PUDs and how they work, as it can affect the mortgage qualification process and your overall experience living in the home.
Real estate developers have one goal in mind regarding PUDs: creating attractive and cohesive places to live. PUDs typically include a mix of housing options for homeowners with different price points, as well as convenient access to workplaces, shopping, education, and recreation. You might even find senior living centers all in the same PUD, alongside amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, daycares, and office spaces. In some cases, there may be religious institutions and light industrial buildings (warehouses or storage) within a PUD.
If a property is part of a PUD, it will likely be identified in the property type of the real estate listing. Occasionally, a single-family home or a townhome is listed as a "condo," which signifies that it's probably part of a PUD. Another indicator of a PUD is the presence of HOA fees, but keep in mind that a home can belong to an HOA without being part of a PUD.
When it comes to PUDs, homeowners association (HOA) play a crucial role. In PUDs, unit owners own both the structure of their residence (the home) as well as the land it sits on. The HOA is responsible for owning and maintaining common amenities that all unit owners have access to and must pay dues and assessments to maintain. These amenities are typically private, and only available to community members and their invited guests. These amenities commonly include swimming pools, tennis courts, parks, playgrounds, landscaping, or security.
One of the key factors to consider when thinking about buying a home in a PUD is the cost of ownership. Because PUDs include common amenities, they can be more expensive to own than a home that's not part of a PUD. As a property owner, you'll need to pay monthly, quarterly or annual homeowners association dues which will affect your overall affordability. While the amenities may be appealing, it's important to weigh the value of those amenities against the additional monthly cost. Additionally, there are certain restrictions in PUDs regarding how you can use and modify your property. This can include things like restrictions on using your home as a short-term rental, parking cars overnight on the street, and putting up political signs in your yard.
When it comes to getting a mortgage on a home in a PUD, the lender will review the HOA's finances as well as the PUD's covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). It's important for potential property owners to also review these documents, and even consider hiring a real estate attorney to go over them to ensure they fully understand the PUD's rules and financial situation.
To sum up, PUDs provide a unique type of housing that offers a mix of housing options, access to amenities and a cohesive community but also comes with additional costs and rules to consider. PUDs are communities where every homeowner belongs to a homeowners association, and it's important for home shoppers to be aware of this as it can affect the mortgage qualification process and overall experience of living in the home.
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