Both Sides of the Fence

To live gated or un-gated — that is the question. Living in a gated community offers many benefits but also has its downsides, which should be considered carefully before making your final purchase decision.


The Benefits

• Security. A gated community means comings and goings are monitored. It is much less likely that strangers will enter your neighborhood. This means less criminal activity and less solicitation.

• Exclusivity. There is a certain implied prestige associated with gated communities. Over time, gated communities have made their way into the fabric of the American Dream, and have firmly stayed there for decades. Gated communities tend to have stricter policies regarding home quality and design, which generally equates to better, more comparable home prices.

• Pedestrian friendliness. Gated communities eliminate “drive-through” traffic that other neighborhoods can’t avoid, which make is a lot safer for family walks and for children to ride their bikes.

The Concerns

• The Homeowners Association. HOAs have many rules and regulations through which they maintain neighborhoods. After a while, these rules can seem incessant or become a headache — especially if you want to make changes to your home or throw a significantly sized party.

• High cost. All of the above benefits often mean homes in gated communities are priced higher. People pay for security and a safe location. You also will pay HOA fees in a gated community to pay for those benefits, which means higher monthly living costs.

• Privacy. The real privacy concerns do not come from outside the gates but inside. Gated communities tend to be close-knit, which can sometimes make privacy hard to find.

Remember, all gated communities are different and will have their own rules and ways of doing things. It is important to check out several different neighborhoods before writing off the lifestyle completely — or alternatively, signing on for the long haul.





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