Gated communities date back to the Middle Ages, when royalty would protect their families and loyal followers by building gated enclaves with fortified towers, moats and drawbridges during times of pestilence. Centuries later, these communities are more prevalent than ever.
No longer exclusively associated with expensive homes, there has been a surge of secured residential communities being constructed for people of all income classes. If you're considering moving to a gated community, weigh the pros and cons below to see if it's the right fit for you and your family.
The ProsA gated community restricts access to outsiders and privatizes normally public spaces. These secured communities typically require a special entry system, like key cards and entry codes, and often have a security guard upon entry. Families that choose to live in a gated community enjoy several benefits:
- Sense of safety.
- Feeling of community.
- Neighborhood watch.
- Reduced traffic.
- Stricter community rules.
- Higher property value.
The ConsAlthough private and relatively safe, gated communities have disadvantages that prospective buyers should take into consideration:
- The integrity of a gated community is based upon the integrity of its residents. Criminals can reside within a secured community, and visitors can also be of concern.
- Living in a gated community can be more expensive. They often bring higher HOA fees due to the impending costs of gate guards and neighborhood maintenance.
- Fences and gates can cause a false sense of security. Residents might let their guard down making them easy targets for burglars.
- Fiddling with gate cards, checking in with security guards and waiting in long car lines when coming and going can cause aggravation.
- Access by emergency vehicles can be slowed down.
Extra Precautionary MeasuresEven those who live in a gated community need to ensure that their family and valuables are being properly safeguarded. Homeowners should take these extra precautionary measures whether in a secured community or not.
- Add a security layer to sliding doors and windows by installing a pin into the frame that prohibits it from opening more than a few inches.
- Many gated communities use supplementary security measures to ensure its residents are being properly protected. Surveillance cameras, infrared sensors and motion detectors are common forms of secondary security tactics. If your community does not take advantage of secondary measures, look to installing surveillance cameras for peace of mind.
- Leave your front curtains closed so passersby can’t take a peek at your home décor and valuables. Also, if you’ve made a large purchase, like a new television or appliance, don’t leave the box outside for all to see.
- Give the appearance that someone is always home every time you're away from the house.
- Whether you have a security system or not, put up a sign in your yard or stickers on your windows to fake out potential thieves.