A Builder’s Perspective: Choosing a Community to Build a Custom Home

The Lake at Normandy Estates in Plano.

The Lake at Normandy Estates in Plano.

When researching communities in which to build high-end speculative “spec” luxury homes, there are several factors that are important in order to meet my criterion for building in a development. These requirements can also be helpful for prospective buyers and it shows how a builder evaluates neighborhoods and communities. Some of these particulars are:

  1.  “Location Location Location!” What major highways are close to the development? What is the proximity to both airports? Are there upscale shopping, grocery stores, entertainment, fine dining and retail nearby? How are the public schools rated? Are excellent private schools close-by?
  2. What are the lot sizes and will they need improvements? Also, what does the topography and geographical landscape look like? Does the property have hills, greenbelts, mature trees, creeks and ponds? I need sufficient space to build a luxury estate home and want the homes to be aesthetically coordinated with the environment and landscape. Also, knowledge of the soil is required to know how to engineer the foundation.
  3. What are the community amenities? Is there security or a gatehouse? Other amenities could include a park, an outdoor area or community gathering place,  clubhouse, work-out facility, trails, water features, walled perimeter and a swimming pool with spa for the long hot Texas summers.
  4. What are the demographics of the area and city? I look at the demographics of the surrounding area and city with an investor’s eye, not only as a homebuilder. What is the median age of the area? How safe is the neighborhood?  What is the level of crime? Is the quality of life good?  What are the nearby home values and median affluence level of the area?
  5. Who is the developer of the community and what is their history, experience, financial backing and reputation?

Along with other developments and locations like the Park Cities and Preston Hollow, I have researched and chosen to build in Normandy Estates in West Plano – a community of European-style Estate Homes and Villas just 3 minutes from the North Dallas Tollway. The location is excellent with 25 minutes to either airport (Love Field or DFW Airport) in Dallas. The area has fantastic retail shopping and upscale restaurants. The Willow Bend Mall and the Shops of Legacy are close by, with their boutiques, eateries as well as the fabulous retail area at Preston and Park, and premier shopping at Stonebriar Mall. For nature lovers, the community features a lake and a fishing dock, a wooded creek area, nature trails and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is only minutes away. The Plano public schools boast one of the highest performances on college entrance exams in the United States. The Plano ISD is ranked “exemplary”. (Please see the below link to the 2016 report.)

Normandy Estates amenities include: a guard house, nature trails, a lake with fountain and dock along with several creeks and mature trees. At Normandy Estates there is also a fitness center as well as a pool with spa.

The city of Plano has an approximate population of 280,000 residents and has been designated as one of the best places to live in the Western United States by CNN Money magazine and also featured as the safest city in America by Forbes. Plano has grown considerably with West Plano (where Normandy Estates is located) being the most affluent area of the city. Recently, many national companies have chosen to make their headquarters in Plano including: Toyota North America, At Home (Garden Ridge), JP Morgan Chase Bank (Regional Headquarters), Capital One Finance and Liberty Mutual’s Regional Headquarters.  Also, several national companies have had large expansions like Nokia, KFC Global and Pizza Hut Global. Plano is a thriving and economically booming city with strong infrastructure.

Normandy Estates in Plano earns my approval for a community in which to build new luxury custom homes. Alford Homes has built and sold 5 custom estates and has 2 more under construction. More information on the homes can be found on the Alford Homes website or please call me directly at 972-429-1074 for more details. At Alford Homes, we are dedicated to providing the very best construction and quality craftsmanship for over thirty six years.

*2016 Plano Public School Rankings Report:

Click to download: 2016 Plano School Rankings

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