Gated communities are residential developments with defined entrance and exit points and are attractive to some buyers because they offer a sense of exclusivity, privacy and safety. Residents of gated communities often feel they have their own little slice of heaven guarded against the outside world. But what lies beyond the gates and is a home in of these neighborhood a right fit for you and your family?
There are a number of pros and cons of gated communities. To get a better idea of how they operate, here are a few things to consider.
Pros of Living in a Gated Community
Security & Privacy
The biggest advantage to living in a gated community is privacy and safety since only residents and invited guests can enter the gates. Criminal activity is reduced in gated communities, and peddlers will have a difficult, if not impossible, time knocking on doors trying to sell something. This is not to say, however, that you won’t be the victim of crime in a gated community – the gate acts as a deterrent, not a foolproof solution.
Gates Limit Traffic
Traffic and speeding cars are reduced behind the gates, making it safer for children to play and ride bicycles within the neighborhoods. And, there are social benefits to living in a gated community, such as a community center or events that promote group activities for families to get to know each other.
Stricter Building Codes
Another positive of gated communities is a higher standard of home quality and stricter building codes that promote uniformity in design. Translation – more comparable sales and better value for all the homeowners within the community.
Homeowners in gated communities also generally have a higher pride of ownership and keep their homes in better condition. Along with that, gated communities create a scarcity effect, with few homes within these neighborhoods typically available for sale at the same time, adding to a sense of exclusivity.
Cons of Living in a Gated Community
Cost of Security Services and Repairs
Gated communities often come with higher asking prices and costly HOA fees to pay for things such as gate guards, private security, roads and maintenance. Since most roads are designated private, as a homeowner you may have to pay to repair potholes or repave a bumpy road. Negotiating with neighbors may be difficult.
The safety of gated communities is dependent upon the quality of the system in place, as well as the surrounding areas. Not all gated communities have live guards and automated gates aren’t very difficult to breach once someone gives out the code to the pizza delivery guy.
Annoyance of Waiting to Get In
Assuming the gate is guarded by security staff, waiting in line at the gatehouse can be a real nuisance, especially during holidays or if you get a new car and it doesn’t have the sticker yet. Anyone who comes to your home will also have to be added to the approved list and visiting hours may be limited for contractors and other workers. You will most likely need to call down to the gate every time a visitor is expected.
Location of Your Home within a Gated Community
Be aware of properties located just inside the gates or within view of the gates, as they may see a dip in value. While gates may be a value-add, they are not when you can see them out of your kitchen window.
Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees
HOA fees alone can make affordability a problem. The HOA is made up of all the owners of the development and is responsible for collection of the Association fees and making and enforcing the rules of the community. The HOA is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, parks, etc.
The rules set by the HOA can vary a great deal, depending on the individual community. Typically it will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the colors of paint on outside walls, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping and storage of boats or recreational vehicles. Before you buy, you should thoroughly understand how the association works; it can affect not just your finances, but also your quality of life!
Four Popular Gated Communities in St. Petersburg, FL
Bayway Isles is a gated, deed-restricted neighborhood consisting of two islands in the southwestern part of the city. The islands are home to almost 200 families and a variety of single family homes, condos and townhomes. The community extends southward from the Pinellas Bayway causeway into the waters of southern Boca Ciega Bay.
The Caya Costa neighborhood is located on the Riviera Bay, a protected area just off of Tampa Bay in the 33702 zip code. It consists of about 230 homes that was developed in mid-1980s. Many of the homes in Caya Costa are waterfront with access to Riviera Bay. There are also a few homes are sitting on the interior lake with no access to the big water
Situated on a serene 88-acre site that includes a beautiful 24-acre wildlife preserve, nature trails and boardwalks on Boca Ciega Bay, the 360-home community offers an elegant common area, while 3 swimming pools, tennis courts, and a 2-acre beach with pavilion add amenities and grace to the 46 single family home sites and 7 condominium buildings. The homes here feature contemporary Mediterranean architecture with friendly front porches and garages tucked discreetly in back. This style of community is very unique to this area, and homes don’t pop up for sale here very often.
Placido Bayou is a 361 acre neighborhood is filled with 10 ponds, 636 homes and several preserve areas. It is home to various kinds of wildlife and birds. Some homes have water access to Placido Bayou which leads out to Tampa Bay. Townhomes and single family homes range in price from $200,000 to $1,000,000+.
For more about gated communities, properties for sale within them, call to The Mesimer Team at 727.686.2859.