What Is A Planned Unit Development (PUD)?

What Is A PUD In Real Estate?

Buying into a PUD is much like purchasing a condo: You own your home but share ownership of the development’s common areas with your neighbors. Unlike with a condo, though, you can purchase homes of many different types, including townhouses and single-family homes.

PUDs don’t have to follow traditional zoning standards. Neighborhoods in a PUD can contain single-family homes, condos, townhomes, stores, restaurants and public assets such as community centers and swimming pools all clustered together. Some homes might be zoned to sit close to the edge of roads, while others might be required to sit several feet back. Often one set of blocks in a PUD will contain residences that look completely different from those in another set.

PUDs also often feature amenities that are difficult to find in other developments, everything from high-end fitness centers to stores and luxury swimming pools. The goal is to create a sort of miniature city for residents. They can bank, exercise, dine out and in many cases even go to school without leaving the PUD.

When you buy property in a PUD, you must also become part of a homeowners association. This association is responsible for operating and maintaining the public areas of the PUD, including any swimming pools, community centers, meeting rooms, playgrounds and recreational areas. The homeowners association is responsible, too, for upkeep of the PUD’s entrance areas and green spaces.

Homeowners associations are generally run by an elected board, whose members vote on landscaping contracts, maintenance schedules and the requirements for newly built housing. You’ll pay dues to this association each month. The association’s rules might also govern how you maintain your own home, possibly restricting the type of plants you can grow, the color you can paint your property and even how high the grass in your front yard can be.

Characteristics Of A PUD Development

While all PUDs are different, they all contain certain characteristics:

  • PUDs feature different types of homes that sell at various price points. In some PUDs this might mean larger and smaller single-family homes. In others, it might mean a wider mix of housing types including townhomes, condos, row houses and single-family homes.
  • These developments often have their own shopping districts, bars, entertainment centers and restaurants. Residents of the community can typically walk to these amenities. The goal is to create a type of self-contained community in which residents could conceivably fulfill all their shopping, dining and entertainment needs without leaving the PUD.
  • Many PUDs might even contain office buildings, cultural centers and schools. Again, this helps create a self-contained community in which residents can learn, work and live without leaving the development.
  • The common areas are often a selling point of PUDs. Many of these developments contain playgrounds, swimming pools, gyms, community centers and meeting rooms. Residents might need to swipe a key card to gain access to some of these community areas. The PUD’s homeowners association generally oversees the operation and maintenance of these common areas.
  • Extensive landscaping is another key element of most PUDs. The neighborhoods making up a PUD are often surrounded by wooded areas, ponds, flower gardens or well-manicured lawns. Again, homeowners associations are tasked with maintaining these landscaped areas, a job that includes hiring landscaping companies and reviewing and renewing these companies’ contracts.
  • Security is another draw for many who buy into PUDs. Some PUDs are gated communities, requiring residents to show identification or swipe a card when they enter the development. Others maintain their own private security. The residents of the PUD pay for these services through their homeowners association dues.

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