Infill Lots vs. Planned Communities: What's the Difference?

by Jeffrey Banks 01/02/2022

Photo by sergio souza from Pexels

Where you build your home will have a major impact on how you interact with your environment. If you're getting ready to pick a site for your new construction, you might be wondering whether to go for an infill lot or opt for a planned community. We'll look at the pros and cons of both to give you a better idea of how it will impact your life.

Infill vs. Planned

How are each of these terms defined?
  • Infill lots: Repurposing underutilized land to revitalize communities, usually in urban areas. From vacant lots to empty buildings, infill lots are a great way to give old neighborhoods new life.
  • Planned communities: A collection of homes that are designed and regulated by a central body, usually in a suburban area. These developments may also contain amenities for residents, such as a grocery store or hairstylist.

The Benefits of Infill Lots

Infill lots are a great choice for homeowners who want convenience as well as satisfaction from helping to build a new community. Infill lots give you a chance to live near your work and likewise be close to a variety of community centers, as well as boost the local economy. Sometimes, infill lot owners get a tax break from state or local agencies that want to promote economic growth in certain regions.

While urban communities are seeing a lot of action these days, not all are getting the attention they need. New homeowners have an opportunity to bring their personality to a part of the city that could use a revamp.

Benefits of Planned Communities

Many people like planned communities because they know what they're getting into. With a planned community, they take comfort in the predictability of the neighborhood. From zoning laws to sewage ordinances, they're somewhat insulated against the hassles and potential threats of a more traditional block.

Planned communities don't have to be boring, though. Many residents have plenty of say over both the aesthetics and configurations of their homes. It all depends on the type of community you choose and how the central body works with residents.

Weighing the Cons

Infill lots can disrupt those who live in the area with messy construction, shifting traffic patterns and blocked driveways. It can also be more expensive than a planned community and can create complications with zoning laws or even from local businesses.

Planned communities can limit residents in other ways, with some requiring strict adherence to rules and regulations. They may also promote an unhealthy uniformity to the neighborhood, denying residents the benefits of diversity within their community.

How to Decide

If you're looking to express your individuality in a planned community, you may just need to start a few conversations about it. These communities are run by the homeowners — not a disembodied group. In other words, you can find plenty of variety from one to the next.

Similarly, you shouldn't assume that infill lots give you total freedom. Urban zoning laws can be strict, and neighbors might not always welcome the disruption. It's not always easy to break the status quo, even when a neighborhood could use a makeover.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to infill vs. planned community, only the choice you make for your new home. Any neighborhood will involve some degree of trade-off, but mapping it out can mean far more perks and far fewer disadvantages.

About the Author

Jeffrey Banks

As an expert in San Francisco, I know our local real estate market well and tour the new homes available each week. Additionally, should you need more information on the local communities and schools; I have sources and information that may prove useful. The sale or purchase of a home is one of the most important events in our lives, and I am here to help you make you transaction smooth, efficient and satisfying.