Pros and Cons of purchasing a home in a gated community.
Privacy and Security
The #1 reason people choose a gated community is the perception of increased security, due to the gate and the privacy of the residents. Obviously, gated communities are more difficult to access than a standard community and therefore criminal activity is generally reduced.
Most often, heavy traffic and speeding are reduced within the gates, creating a quieter and arguably safer community.
Higher Home Build quality
Most communities have strict building codes promoting uniformity in design. Often, this leads to a higher pride in ownership, and as driving around these communities will show you, yards and homes are most often extremely well tended.
Sometimes there is a club-house or community center that promote group activities and residents getting to know each other.
More Expensive Home Prices and HOA fees
Gates and amenities come with a Home Owners Association or HOA fee. Many roads in gated communities are considered private, so the residents pay for road maintenance, usually through the HOA fee. On the other side, generally you won’t have to live in an area with holes in the road.
Your visitors and contractors will have to wait to get past the gate, and HOAs may limit contractor access times, and block them on certain days.
Great article by June Fletcher that discusses gated communities. Link to article here
Q. My husband and I are considering buying a home in a gated community. He doesn’t like the idea of having to deal with a gate and doesn’t think that it provides any real security, as it is unmanned. But I think that a home in a gated community is more desirable and will hold its value better. Who is right?
A. Numerous studies over the years have shown that security in gated communities is more a matter of perception than reality. For instance, in 2005, the Orlando Sentinel looked at sheriff’s reports over a four-year period on 1.400 Florida homes in both gated and ungated communities that were similar in price and location. The newspaper found nearly identical rates of burglaries and stolen cars in each. Only minor crimes, such as smash-and-grab thefts and vandalism, were lower in gated communities. Speeding was less of a problem, too, since cars had to slow at the entrances.
The gates weren’t much of a deterrent because they were often easy to get around or were left unlocked; and burglaries and thefts occurred even in communities were gates were manned. In some cases, access codes were widely known because residents regularly gave them to guests and workers who cut lawns, killed pests, walked dogs, cleaned houses and delivered pizza. Similarly, an analysis of national crime statistics done last year by University of Florida criminology student Nicholas Branic found that living in a gated community does not significantly influence a person’s likelihood of victimization.
Nevertheless, gated communities remain popular. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, 11 million households lived in gated communities in 2009, up from more than 7 million in 2001.
Although gated communities are often associated with celebrities and the wealthy, many spectacular homes in iconic upscale places such as Beverly Hills, Calif., Palm Beach, Fla., and Newport, R.I., are in ungated subdivisions. Conversely, developers often gate developments in sketchy neighborhoods to improve sales or rentals; homes there may well be worth less than similar ones in better surroundings. So it’s not necessarily true that residences in gated communities are more valuable than ones that are not.
However, it’s certainly true that owners in gated communities will pay higher homeowner’s association fees to keep up the entrance, maintain outdoor cameras and gates and possibly pay guards’ salaries. Over the years, these fees will add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, so think carefully before you commit.
Paying for a gate may be worth it if you have small children and want to minimize their exposure to traffic. And, of course, gated communities have other advantages. Since these planned communities typically provide shared amenities like pools, exercise rooms and clubhouses, it’s easier to meet your neighbors on a daily basis than you would in a standard subdivision. Strict design regulations enforced by neighborhood associations also provide a more uniform look to streetscapes.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to be isolated from the larger community, hate fiddling with gate swipe cards and don’t want to be told what color to paint your mailbox or whether you can park a recreational vehicle in your driveway, then gated communities are probably not for you.
Write to June Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.