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Millions of golfers around the world dream of owning a property on a golf course in Arizona.  Most people think it’s as simple as picking a house with a great view of the golf course and you’ll be walking onto the golf course every day. But if you rush into the purchase, you can find yourself in a situation where the view might be the only thing you enjoy, and even that depends on the golf course being kept in good condition.  There are a lot of factors you will want to understand and research when considering buying a golf course property in Arizona.

Here are some important things to consider along the way:

Community & Membership Costs

If you simply speak to a realtor about available homes on a golf course, you might not get a complete picture of all costs associated with living in the community and joining the golf course.  Even if the property is advertised as having a golf course membership included, you want to confirm exactly what that means.  For example, you will want to address questions such as: Will there still be costs associated with each round?  Are there monthly minimums for food and drinks associated with the membership?  Are there limited rounds of golf because of public play?

Many membership directors might tell you that there is unlimited golf available with the membership, only to find out the difficulty involved in reserving a tee time.  There are plenty of limitations if the golf course offers public play and semi-private memberships.  Usually, these courses will only have a limited number of reserved tee times available for the members.  This could mean that you will end up paying more during non-reserved times or having to go play at a different course entirely.

Monthly minimum spending limits can add significant costs to living on a golf course as well.  You also want to have a full understanding of the ability and the potential likeliness for the golf course to assess members for additional expenses.  If the club votes to assess additional dues for a remodel or changes, you might be responsible for an equal member share of those expenses.

Sustainability of the Golf Course

There are many cautionary tales in Arizona (and many places around the country) of homeowners that bought a golf course property only to have the golf course shut down.  Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course in Arizona is a perfect example, where many property owners around the course have had been living on a course that is no longer open or maintained.  Not only are they not able to play golf on the course they live on, but they now have a view of barren desert wasteland.  A recent legal ruling gives those homeowners some hope for a resolution.  However, it serves as an example of the importance of researching the sustainability of a golf course, if you are considering purchasing a property on that course.

On top of understanding all the costs associated with living in that community and joining the golf course, you’ll want to complete some basic due diligence on the golf course as well.  If the golf course is community or member-owned, you should be able to request financial information for the past few years of the golf course before committing to join or purchase in the community.  The golf course should be able to prove that it will be financially solvent for many years to come, and that it is not losing money.  There is no reason to pay a premium for a golf course property if the golf course might not be around in foreseeable future.

Risks of the Property Placement

One of the final things to consider before buying a golf course property in Arizona is the risks of where that home is located.  If you’re a regular golfer, you should know that having your property located a few hundred yards down the right side of a golf hole is not a great place to be.  You’re likely to end up with quite a few golf balls in your yard, and it will make it a lot less enjoyable to spend time in your backyard or pool.  You can certainly put up protective netting, but that adds to your overall costs and can hinder the view that was a part of your original desire to live on a golf course.

MacQueen & Gottlieb have significant experience with laws regarding golf course properties in Arizona.  If you are considering purchasing a home in Arizona on a golf course, our firm can help review the applicable purchase contracts and membership agreements.  If you live on a golf course that has been closed or has ceased operations, our firm can help figure out if the golf course owners or operators have any legal obligations to you and your neighbors.  Contact us today at 602-533-2840 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on our website.

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