"One of the main reasons families like golf communities enjoy the acres of outdoor space they can enjoy," said Damianos. "I wouldn't recommend an environment with too many buildings and too little natural landscape to a family."
Know the homeowners association rules and restrictions.
Every community home buyer – whether it is a golf development or not – is bound by their homeowners association's rules and restrictions, some of which may not be ideal for families. The association could, for example, ban basketball hoops on driveways or prohibit volleyball and badminton nets or swings on lawns. Bake sales and lemonade stands may be prohibited in addition to advertising. That means kids can't knock on doors selling products for their clubs or charities after school.
Find out about security.
Ms. MacDonald said safety is of the utmost importance in any family-friendly development. In addition to a security gate where visitors can verify their identity and obtain an access pass, the community should have security guards who regularly monitor the public space. Please contact the sales office or homeowners association for information on security protocols.
Lifeguards at the pool and on the beach are another essential part of safety. Some high-end communities, Damianos said, have guardians in playgrounds who watch young children briefly, such as while their parents finish a meal.
Who lives in the community and what are the staff like?
Buyers should consider a community's demographics. "They want to know who lives there and what their attitudes are toward children and families," said Mr. Brown. Ask a local real estate agent who is familiar with your community, as well as board members for the homeowners association, the membership director for golf and other activity programs, and the social coordinator.
Ms. MacDonald said a development staff is also important in making a purchase decision. Research how long you've been there. In communities with a tight culture, employees are often long-term employees and have friendly relationships with residents.
She suggested spending a night or weekend in your potential community (many offer short term paid stays for prospective buyers) to get a feel for who the staff and residents are.