Thursday, June 20, 2019

6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Move to a Gated Community

When most people picture a gated community, they imagine a quiet, serene, upscale neighborhood in which security and safety are the number one features and exclusivity is close behind. But gated communities aren’t for everyone.

There are multiple pros and cons of living in these types of communities. While security and safety are great perks, there are downfalls, too. Before you move into one of these neighborhoods, ask yourself the following questions to be sure it will be the right fit for you and your family.

Is a Gated Community Right for You? 6 Questions to Ask Before You Move

It’s an expected fact that you will have to pay for the privilege of living in a gated neighborhood, but is it a cost that is worth it for you? That price tag comes with benefits and disadvantages that you’ll have to weigh before deciding to make the big investment in your next home. For some people, that investment is a sound one as they plan their future, but for others, the amenities and advantages aren’t enough to offset the cost.

Here are 6 questions that will help you to determine whether or not a gated community should be in your future.

1. Can you afford the extra fees associated with a gated community? 

Sure, you expect the houses to be more expensive. They are upscale, more rigidly upheld to maintenance standards, and have exclusivity to them that other homes don’t necessarily have. But they also have dues and costs to cover those amenities.

Most gated communities tack on extra fees in the form of homeowner association dues, security fees, and maintenance fees. Check with the realtor and community’s association before you buy a home that may end up costing you more than you planned.

2. Will the extra security be helpful to you or unnecessary stress? 

No matter where you are, rush hour is rush hour. During busy times, you may have to wait in line to get in or out of the guardhouse. Visitors will have to be vetted and have permission to enter that you may be required to verbally give, anyone working on your home will have to work around visiting hours, and if your car doesn’t have the right sticker on it, you will have to be screened yourself.

If someone else being in charge of your - and your visitors’ - comings and goings bothers you, you may not want to be in a gated community.

3. Do you fit the requirements of the community you are looking into? 

Different gated communities have their own rules and restrictions. Some are family friendly, while others restrict ages to 55 and up or, in some areas, 18 and up only. Some communities will not let you have a vehicle that has a company logo on it and others don’t let you park RVs, campers, or large trucks in your yard.

Verify the restrictions before buying your next home to make sure your lifestyle fits the requirements of living in the community.

4. Will the seclusion still give you the amenities you need? 

To get the exclusivity and safety its residents pay for, some gated communities are far away from easy access to stores and other neighborhoods. If the community you are thinking about is one of these, ask yourself if your lifestyle encourages last minute trips to the store or if being far away from other people and places are worth the extra time it takes to get your supplies or get to work.

There are communities that offer amenities on site, like those offered by South Shore Development. Some of these gated communities provide cafes, entertainment, and shopping all located in their neighborhood exclusively for residents. If you are looking for the benefits of a gated community without the hassle of a drive to the city every day for your entertainment or supplies, you may want to look into these types of living areas.

5. Are you okay with following rules about your home’s appearance? 

Gated communities often come with rules regarding renovations to your home and what you can and can’t do. This includes how your property should look, limitations on plants you can have, and even what color you can paint your house.

Since your home’s appearance affects the property values of those in the neighborhood, gated communities tend to be stricter about what your curb appeal looks like and how you maintain your property. If you are concerned about being told what your house has to look like, check into these rules before you buy.

6. Are you comfortable with the security the community has? 

Just because it’s a gated community does not mean it is crime-free. Ask about the crime statistics for the community over the past decade. Look for patterns. What is the security protocol? Are there cameras set up around the perimeter or in the area itself?

As you learn about the gate protocol for visitors and how easily accessible (or not) the community is, you can make the decision as to whether or not the extra price is worth it. Not every gated community enforces the security protocols, either. By looking at the crime statistics, you’ll be able to get a bigger picture of where the problems are in the community to determine if you feel safe.

Are You Gated Community Material?

Most people who live in a reputable gated community swear by it if they can afford the extra cost. The peace of mind of having extra security to ward off solicitors and unwanted visitors is worth the price alone, but the extra benefits that come with these neighborhoods are often enough to justify the expense.

But not everyone is cut out for gated community living and the higher standards that must be kept up within these neighborhoods. With these 6 questions, you can determine whether a gated community may hold your next dream home or if you should just keep driving by those same gates.
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