Should You Buy in a Golf Community or Outside It?

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Outside a community: Golf enthusiasts may end up saving money by living outside of a community, according to Mr. Timmerman, because they can choose from different clubs in the area and join the most appealing and affordable one. They also usually have the option to transfer their membership — a benefit that’s sometimes not available to buyers in communities.

Inside a community: Chris Charnas, the founder of Links Capital Advisors, a real-estate broker specializing in sales of golf courses and communities, said that many H.O.A.s don’t allow residents to rent out their homes for additional income. “They don’t want strangers living within the community, so if you’re not living in your home year-round, it’s sitting there empty, and you’re still paying expenses,” he said.

If a community allows rentals, keep in mind that the homeowner and the renter often have to follow strict protocols. For example, the owner may have to fill out a lengthy application to transfer their membership to the renter. Also, renters may only be able to play golf under “guest” policies, which, for example, could state that they’re allowed on the course only during certain hours or have to pay a fee for each round.

Outside a community: In a noncommunity golf home, you have the freedom to rent out your property, whether it’s for a longer period of several months or for a few days occasionally through a third-party rental site like Airbnb. “If renting your home is part of your master plan, I would suggest finding a home outside the gates of a community,” Mr. Becker said.

In a community: Some noise is a given whether you live in or outside of a community, but living within the gates means that there is less likelihood of late-night partying. However, golf course maintenance vehicles during early morning hours, some of which can be loud, are common. If you’re considering a home on or hear a golf hole, make sure to ask those maintenance schedule questions so you don’t catch any surprise alarm clocks.

Outside a community: A big advantage to living outside the community when considering noise is not having to worry about course maintenance schedules. On the other hand, you are most likely to be near interstates or busy roads.

In a community: The safety factor of living in a gated environment is one of the biggest drivers for buying a home within a community. “Safety has become even more paramount for golf home buyers since Covid,” Mr. Timmerman said. Most gated clubs have a front gate security booth where all visitors check in and get a pass before they are allowed to enter. Gated communities also have security guards who regularly patrol the streets.

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