If you're in the market for buying a new home, there are a number of factors that affect your decision. Things like school ratings, neighborhood crime watch, and local shops and eateries are important.
But most people neglect to weigh the pros and cons of living in a gated community. So are gated communities safer? Read on to learn more.
Safety within a Gated Community
When looking for a home, you might already have a list of things that are important to you. Living in a gated community might help check off some of those factors on your list.
A private residential community provides a number of safety perks. For any visitor to access your home, they'll have to go through a security gate and/or guard. This adds an extra layer of safety to your lifestyle.
If you are plan on having a family or are already raising one, a gated community could be a safe choice for your loved ones. Your kids will be able to play outside without worry or concern for stranger danger.
Usually, open streets mean people may drive at risky speeds. Gated communities often times have a strict speed limit that keeps drivers at a safe speed and can help save lives. They also often have speed bumps to make the occasional hurried neighbor slow down.
In a gated community, you have the benefit of knowing who your neighbors are. This helps when raising children and having them play outside.
Solicitation is Limited
Solicitors will have a harder time trying to get into a gated community since all visitors usually must announce who they are there to see. In most complexes, the security guard must receive the green light from the resident to allow the visitor in.
This usually happens through a phone call at the front gate when the visitor arrives at the gate. Though this adds time to your visitor's commute, it provides an extra layer of safety to keep strangers out of the community.
Delivery services and mailmen must also check in with security in most gated communities. This helps maintain a familiarity with the traffic of visitors, and security can keep a tight eye on anyone who enters.
Security presence can also decrease the amount of criminal activity in the area. The privacy can also help keep the private streets private at night, giving you a better chance for a good night's sleep.
A Variety of Amenities
With the security element of a gated community also comes privacy. For homeowners in a private community, access to amenities is a huge plus.
Often times, gated communities come with clubhouses that feature facilities like pools, gyms, and sometimes even rec rooms. This means you will only be sharing a pool deck with your neighbors and not your whole town.
Some private communities also have an event room, which is convenient for hosting birthday parties and activities year-round.
Depending on the size of your gated community, it may also offer up green space or a park area. Some communities will also have lakes or ponds with fountains.
This can be great for families with pets who wish to have a convenient space to walk around in after work. This can help establish more of a sense of community as well. To find out more about these perks, read our page.
However, the more amenities and services that a gated community offers, the more it likely costs to live there. Usually, there is a monthly community fee that covers security and maintenance costs. This is known as a homeowners association fee.
These costs help cover the costs of maintenance for lawn mowing services, street cleaning, tree-trimming, and other upkeep labor. If your community has an automated gate instead of a guard, you'll be paying for the maintenance and repairs of the gate.
But they can easily escalate to a cost that may not be worth all the perks. These costs are also likely to rise every year, depending on your area.
Certain Restrictions May Apply
With a homeowner's association, it's likely that there will be a number of rules that apply to every home within a community. If you plan on throwing a party in your gated community home, you may have to check what the curfew hours are.
Some communities opt against house parties or loud music after certain hours, and those hours may be quite early for your lifestyle. It's also possible that such rules will come into effect a year or two after you purchase your home.
Homeowner Associations are usually run or influenced by residents themselves, so if you're interested in having a say in what goes, you may want to get involved.
Things like parking might also affect the activities you can host. Some gated communities enforce strict rules regarding visitor parking to limit how many people enter and exit the community.
Your guests may also experience heavy delays getting into the community on weekends or holidays, which can affect your plans.
If you like decorating or adding home improvements to your home's exterior, you may be restricted. Some private communities also have strict rules regarding the look of the homes.
You may have heard the term "cookie-cutter" homes in reference to these suburban communities. That's because oftentimes these communities are enforced to have their homes all look the same.
Things like paint color and lawn choices might be regulated against your favor.
Are Gated Communities Safer?
So are gated communities safer after all? In short, gated communities offer a variety of amenities and perks that make the home-owning experience feel more protected. But with those benefits often comes a hefty HOA price.