You’ve decided to buy a property in a gated community. But you wonder, “Is living in such a place something you’d like?” Although it sounds quite upscale, gated living comes with both perks and a few drawbacks. Here, Realtor.com offers a candid list of pros and cons of gated communities from the perspective of real estate agents, as well as residents who know firsthand what it’s like to live inside.
The vast majority of cars and people inside your gates will be residents, a few visitors, and very few service or delivery providers. You will not get many, if any, solicitors other than your neighbors’ kids selling items for school fundraisers. Even if you’re an A-list celebrity or a high-ranking executive, you can breathe easy knowing that any prying individuals will be kept at arm’s length.
All gated communities have a homeowner’s association. That means that, along with your new home, you may acquire a pool, private park, kids’ playground, off-leash dog park, hiking trails, jogging and bike paths, exercise facility, community clubhouse, golf course and tennis courts. Although you’ll have to pay a monthly HOA fee to cover these perks, having them all nearby may be worth every extra penny.
Upkeep that’s kept up
HOA dues also include the regular maintenance and landscaping of common areas, roads, sidewalks and curbs in a gated community. This maintenance might even cover your own front (and back) yard, which means less mowing for you.
You can forget about speeders or frantic commuters who randomly zoom through your neighborhood looking for a shortcut to work. If you like peace, quiet and few cars on the road, a gated community could be your dream neighborhood.
Let’s face it—it’s kind of luxurious
Most people gain a sense of extra protection and well-being from living in a gated community. There’s also a feeling of exclusivity, like a bit of a status symbol knowing you have something that a lot of other people don’t.
More time in the car
Many public amenities such as schools, shopping centers, groceries and medical facilities have to be outside the gates, and as a result, can be farther away for residents. In other words, you’ll likely expand your drive time.
Remember all of those grand perks mentioned above? Let’s revisit who’s paying for them. Homes inside gated communities tend to be more expensive than equivalent homes outside the gates because of their desirability.
Your creativity may be stifled
If you want to make a particular aesthetic enhancement to your home—perhaps an unusual garage door or solar-paneled roof—you might not receive the approval from your HOA. Some people like having strict rules to follow, but if you’re more of a rebel, you may need to rethink your home search.
Trickier access for deliveries
In many gated communities, homeowners are given a number code that opens the gate. If a glitch occurs, you could be temporarily out of luck. And if you give your plumber/pizza guy enters the wrong digits, deliveries you actually want quickly can get be detained.
Hosting parties just got more difficult
Gated communities usually require that each guest be registered ahead of time and gate passes be issued before an event. Passes sometimes are forgotten, and homeowners often find themselves spending a significant amount of time calling up the gatehouse to give entrance confirmation, when they should be spending that time playing host to their guests.