Gated communities refer to groups of homes that are enclosed in a given location. Access to these homes is usually restricted. Before any vehicles or persons can be allowed into the community, they must first meet set security measures. Typically, access control is achieved through physical restrictions such as guards at the gate, the use of mechanical locks and keys, or security systems that require authentication.
Living in a gated community is an experience that most people would like to have. The sense of prestige and exclusivity that this lifestyle brings with it is a worthwhile goal for many people. However, life in a gated community is not a bed of roses. There are some drawbacks to this choice in housing. If you need to decide whether or not to choose this life, here is an extensive guide on the pros and cons of living in a gated community.
The Advantages of a Gated Community
1. Increased Security
One of the most practical reasons why people live in gated communities in America is that there is enhanced security. Since entrance into the neighborhood is strictly controlled, it means that only residents and their guests can enter or leave the community. Less exposure of your home to strangers translates to lower chances of a break-in or vandalism.
Secondly, few cars are allowed into the community. Even for those that do enter the neighborhood, a speed limit must be observed. These restrictions make the streets on the estate safer, especially for children. If you are raising a young family, knowing that nobody is cruising through your neighborhood can be very comforting indeed.
2. Access to Communal Facilities
Most gated communities tend to have shared facilities such as pools, gyms, and golf courses. The availability of these facilities can be quite advantageous because you won’t have to spend money on expensive memberships to fitness clubs or golf clubs. Additionally, the fact that only a small number of people can use these facilities adds to their allure. You can be confident that high hygiene standards will be observed.
Living in a gated community brings with it a sense of exclusivity and prestige. Usually, these homes are populated by high-income individuals, which gives them an air of elitism and class. They are akin to the proverbial castles where only the wealthiest members of society could live. If you like standing out and getting approving nods every time you mention your address, then living in a gated community might just be the right option for you.
People who value privacy will find life in a gated community to be extremely attractive. Thanks to access restrictions, non-residents will rarely have the chance to spy on you or your private life. Additionally, most gated communities tend to be located in closed spaces, where human traffic is at a minimum. For ultimate privacy, gated communities are the go-to choice.
5. Regular Upkeep
Gated communities are notorious for strict Home Owners Association rules. While this can come with various disadvantages, it comes with the benefit of meticulously maintained properties. If you hate the sight of an overgrown lawn or an unkempt yard, then you will love living in a gated community. Typically, HOA restrictions will require that residents maintain their properties to avoid eyesores that are common in other neighborhoods. Sometimes, the maintenance fees charged by the organization also cover basic home care tasks such as mowing the lawn, so you don’t have to worry about spending all your time tending to your property.
6. Quiet Atmosphere
A gated community can be located right in the middle of a busy area, yet still have an incredibly peaceful environment. This is because the common irritants in other neighborhoods are kept under strict control. You would be hard-pressed to find a gated community that does not have noise level measures. Additionally, few cars usually go through the streets in these neighborhoods, and even when they do, they tend to be driven at a leisurely pace. If you want to have a peaceful afternoon nap or simply spend some time on your front yard, rest assured you can do this with minimal distractions.
The Cons of Living in a Gated Community
1. High Cost of Living
Living in a gated community is a costly venture. Houses on these properties tend to cost more than those in other homes. This is hardly surprising given the added security and the exclusive nature of homes in gated communities. Buying a property here will cost you a pretty penny, although this can become quite beneficial when it is time to sell the house.
Other than high home-buying costs, the costs of living in such communities tend to be higher. You will have to pay for all maintenance costs, and HOA fees can become exorbitant within no time. If there are potholes on the private roads within the estate, part of the repair costs will rest on you. The same goes for community facilities, security fees, and any other services provided on a community basis. You will soon discover that living in these homes is no cheap thing.
2. HOA Restrictions
If you love living life on your terms, you may find HOA rules to be overbearing. Depending on the community you choose to live in, you may have to adhere to strict rules of all sorts. There could be restrictions as to the colors you can paint your house, the appropriate length of grass on your lawn, and even whether or not you can have solar panels on your home. Before you choose to live in a gated community, familiarize yourself with the HOA rules, and ensure that you will not have any difficulties abiding by them.
3. Attractive to Criminals
Gated communities are generally safer than most other neighborhoods. However, security systems are vulnerable to compromise, which ultimately poses a safety threat to residents. For instance, if security guards are lax, your home becomes just as susceptible to thugs as homes in other neighborhoods. There is a good chance that gated communities are more attractive to criminals who believe that these homes contain more high-value items. To avoid this, take some security measures and avoid leaving your valuables openly exposed.
Another downside to living in gated communities in America is that it can be quite inconveniencing. For one thing, getting home deliveries can quickly become a chore, since you have to let the delivery guys into the property every single time. Secondly, your guests will have to go through the hustle of satisfying the security criteria before they can reach your home. If you are hosting a party, you must get a pass for every one of your guests. Additionally, some gated communities only allow contractors and other workers at specific times. This can be frustrating in case you urgently need their services outside of the permitted hours.
Another drawback to living in a gated community is the sense of social isolation it brings with it. Every time you enter the property, you leave behind ordinary life and enter a place where only a few people are allowed. If you don’t have family and friends within the community, you may end up feeling lonely and depressed.
Gated communities offer a quality of life that most other neighborhoods can’t. From restricted access to top-notch security features to regular maintenance services, living in these homes can feel quite like living the dream. However, there are drawbacks to this life, the most prominent one being the high cost of living associated with gated communities. If you are contemplating moving to a gated community, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of living in a gated community. If the pros outweigh the cons, by all means go ahead and make the move.