Pros and Cons of Living in a Gated Community

2008-07-04 Houlgate (148)
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nuneatonolly

Throughout the nation, there are neighborhoods which are set back from the road and surrounded by gates that are guarded by security personnel who monitor the comings and goings of people on the grounds. These gated communities are highly appealing to some home buyers who like the exclusivity, privacy and security that they feel is afforded to them when living in one of these neighborhoods. However, others feel that the drawbacks of living in a gated community actually outweigh these perceived benefits. Whether or not to live in a gated community depends greatly on the things that you value in the neighborhood where you live.

Benefits of Living in a Gated Community

The following are some of the most common benefits that people who enjoy living in gated communities will cite:

  • Exclusivity. One of the things that people really like about living in gated communities is that these are considered to be exclusive neighborhoods. They’re kind of like the modern version of the old walled castle where only certain elite people are allowed in. Of course, if you have the money, you can move into a gated community which wasn’t true of old castles but there’s still the feeling that you’re living in an exclusive place. It’s something of a status symbol that people can show off.
  • Sense of security. The comings and goings of the neighborhood are monitored which tends to make people feel safer about living in a gated community than they would in a typical neighborhood. These areas tend to have low crime rates which confirms the feeling that these are safe neighborhoods.
  • Privacy of the neighborhood. This monitoring of activity does more than create a sense of safety; it creates a feeling that this is a private neighborhood where you can conduct your daily business without a lot of interference from the outside world.
  • Quiet atmosphere and general beauty of the area. The gated community tends to be quiet and peaceful with a beautiful appearance. Landscaping is maintained and noise is controlled so it’s possible to feel really at peace even when living in and around large urban areas.

Drawbacks of Living in a Gated Community

Not everything is great about living in a gated community. Some of the most common things about the gated community that people dislike include:

  • High cost of the home. The homes in a gated community are going to have a higher value than the homes in a typical neighborhood. This adds to the exclusivity of the neighborhood but can be a drawback at the time of purchase.
  • Ongoing cost of living in a gated community. There are additional costs associated with living in a gated community. For example, you may pay higher property taxes to live here or you may need to pay fees to the homeowner’s association here. These cause additional financial drawbacks related to the purchase of the home in a gated community.
  • Rules of the neighborhood. There are rules when you live in a gated community. They may vary depending on the community and can be as strict as what color the homes can be painted to as general as requiring that trash not be left out several days in a row. Some people just want to live in their homes and not be bothered with the rules of the gated community where they could live.
  • Invasion of privacy in the sense of being monitored. People may like the fact that the neighborhood is monitored in terms of the safety it provides but it’s also a little disturbing to know that a guard is watching everyone who comes and goes from your home. Just the hassle of having to make sure to get visitors approved to be let in is too annoying for some people.
  • Sense of elitism. Although one of the main reasons that people like the gated community is because it’s an elite and exclusive community, this is also one of the things that some people don’t like about it. Not all people want to be associated with a home that is “rich”, “snobby” and “elitist”.

Deciding Whether or Not To Live in a Gated Community

For some people, the benefits of the gated community will easily outweigh the drawbacks of living in a place like this. For other people, it’s a no-brainer that the gated community isn’t the right place for them. To determine this, it’s important to consider what you really seek from the neighborhood in which you live. If what you want is what is offered by the gated community, determine whether you can pay the costs that come along with those benefits.