Is a gated community the right fit for you and/or your family?  In order to determine the answer to this question, you should consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

 

Advantages of Living in a Gated Community

  1. Security.  The security offered by a gated community is often one of the top reasons that buyers purchase homes in these communities. Gate systems act as barriers to deter criminals from entering and are more difficult to access than other communities. You can rest assured knowing it is far less likely that someone will enter your neighborhood unless they belong there. Of course, the gate is a deterrent and does not always work so you will still want to lock your homes and cars.
  2. Privacy.  Having walls around your neighborhood gives a neighborhood privacy. There is less traffic in gated communities as they are not being used as thoroughfares.  The lesser traffic will make it a bit quieter and also safer for children to play.  Due to the fact that entry is required to the neighborhood, you should also have minimal solicitors at your door.
  3. Exclusivity.  Living in a gated community denotes exclusivity.  When one thinks of a gated community, you may think of movie stars or golf pros and expensive homes.  Gated communities can be expensive and not everyone can afford to live in a gated community.  Therefore, this exclusivity can be seen as a status symbol by others.
  4. Lifestyle and Social Benefits.  Gated Communities most often have a club or community center with dining and events.  Often, gated communities also have golf courses and pools along with other activities that allow for social interaction and getting to know your neighbors.

 

Disadvantages of a Gated Community

  1. Waiting to Enter the Community.  If the gate is guarded, your visitors may have to wait longer periods to enter the community, particularly during busy periods during the day or night.  Often times, the gated communities may also have strict schedules for allowing contractors in and out of the neighborhood.
  2. Strict Homeowners Rules.  Gated communities often have very strict rules that you must adhere to as a resident.  For example, some may not allow you to park a truck or work vehicle in the drive-way or in plain view.  They also can have very strict architectural requirements and rules governing paint color choices.  There can be less choice in options in these communities and you should understand the rules before you buy to ensure that they meet your objectives.
  3. Cost.  Gated Communities typically have higher than average homes and homeowners fees.  There are many expenses that must be paid in these communities such as landscaping, security costs for officers at the gate and patrol, as well as the amenities offered in that particular community such as pools and club houses.  Therefore, before you purchase, you should understand all of the costs and make sure that it fits within your budget.
  4. Sense of Elitism.  Although the exclusivity of a gated community can be seen as an advantage, it can also be seen as a disadvantage by others.  Some individuals like the security offered by gated communities but dislike the fact that it can be seen as elitist.  For this reason, some believe that the cons outweigh the pros and if this is your thought, a gated community may not be right for you.