Post # 1
So Fiance and I are going house hunting this Fall. I’ve already started looking on the internet. We are actually really interested in moving into a gated community! I am turned on by the privacy of it, visitors have to phone us to open the gate, when we have kids they can ride their bikes and such because it’s not a through street, etc. Not to mention, we can still be close to family but won’t have surprise visits all the time. I’m wondering if any of you bees live in a gated community and what your pros and cons are to it?
Post # 3
I’m not a gated community fan. It’s just not my style. Good luck with the house hunting. It can be a real pain, but it’s worth it when you find the right house!
Post # 4
I live in a large gated townhouse complex (but much smaller scale than a gated community, haha). There are perks to it because it makes you feel a little safer, but it is also annoying. If you ever want people to stop by, say just to drop something off, you have to make sure you are home. Delivery people have to be given special instructions to get to you or you have to meet them at the gate. There are other things too, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head. It is just annoying to me, I hope to never live in a gated community again.
And don’t let the gate fool you that the community is safe, people who want in know how to get in :/ I would rather pick a safe, non-gated community to live in (plus I live by the beach so unless I want a $2 million dollar home it is unlikely I will find a housing community that is gated).
Post # 5
I grew up in one. I’m not really for/against it but I’ll give my opinion on some of your comments.
Turned on by the privacy of it – Not sure what privacy this may be. If anything the neighbors seemed more in each others business because we were in a gated community.
Visitors have to phone us to open the gate – True. Can be a pain for your guests and for you though when you have to call the guard before each friend arrives. Also scheduling any type of maintenance or deliveries can be difficult. Too much security can be a pain to deal with (some check their ID’s etc) and too little security obviously defeats the purpose.
When we have kids they can ride their bikes and such because it’s not a through street, etc. – True, but there are many neighborhoods that aren’t gated and aren’t through streets. Our neighborhood did have nice sidewalks and nice wide streets. Parking was limited on the street so all that was nice. One of the things I did really like was street lights.
Won’t have surprise visits all the time – Ummm, yea, kind of hard to avoid this one. If a guest is at the gate house and the guard calls your house. Its kinda obvious if you tell the guard, no please don’t let them in right now.
Best wishes! If its what you want, totally go for it. Here are a few other good things.
Amenities: Often time there is a clubhouse for residents to use. Great for throwing parties but not at your house. Tennis courts, swimming pools, etc. However, these often come with very high homeowner association dues.
Restrictions: Things like not being allowed to have pick up trucks, no parking on the street, matching mailboxes, any structural changes must be approved, etc. Some up here even require approval to cut down trees over a certain diameter. If you were to have a camper or boat, sometimes it can’t be stored there.
Post # 6
While you gain more privacy, I don’t think you gain safety. I’ve read articles about how gated communities are not really completely gated, and I’ve seen it for myself enough — its really an illusion, and it can attract thieves actually.
To be candid (since you asked, after all) I think that gated communities come with a lot of elitism and homogeny — like caszos said, you have to have your mailboxes all the same and everything. It’s a little too Stepford for me! I have a close friend who lives in a gated community and loves it, but I’d rather live in a more economically/racially diverse community that isn’t so closed off.
Post # 7
I grew up in a gated community and hated it, (my parents got fed up and moved out when i was in college). Everything was so regulated by the HOA. You couldn’t have your garage open longer than a few minutes, your landscaping had to be the same as everyone else’s, etc etc etc.
No my parents live on a culdisac and I wish we lived there when I was younger. just as safe and private but not as restrictive or creepy.
Post # 8
Beyond homogenous yards etc., you also get homogenous people… My taste is for a little more diversity, personally. I’ve found that the best communities that I’ve lived in are where everyone watches out for each other (usually because of challenges facing the community).
Post # 10
It’s funny but in Houston the most exclusive, expensive neighborhoods are NOT gated. Granted, some of the big $$$ estates have their own gates or security but many don’t. It’s mainly the middle-class suburban subdivisions that are gated.
Post # 11
Thanks guys for the opinions! You made me really see the reality of it, especially all you former gated comm. residents! We might just find a nice culdesac or a property in a secure neighborhood.
Post # 12
My brother and his wife live in a SMALL gated community in N. Houston. For the few times a year I’m in town, and the maybe once of those that I actually meet them at their house… It’s a pain. Even though we know the code. They’ve even had their dog escape and as they were about to get him a neighbor just opened the gate, let the dog out to a VERY busy street. Luckily it all turned out OK, but those gates are not the end all be all of keeping danger out, or kids and pets in.
I think the main thing, is to make a list of what’s important.
i.e. School System, Safe neighborhood for the kids, sq ft, bedrooms and bathrooms.
When you house hunt, focus on the things that you can’t “fix.” You can try but you can’t just paint the school system better. Where the house is can’t change, etx. You can replace floors, repaint walls, redo kitchens, etc….
Know what you NEED, i.e. Privacy in general… and let your relator lead you to the best house for you.
It’s a hard long process, but it’s worth it in the end.
Post # 13
It seems like you’ve been inspired by the answers.
My husband thought he wanted to live in a gated community until we visited one. It was a nightmare trying to get in to see the house. We had to wait outside of the gate until the realtor arrived. It happened to be located on one side of a major highway with no access from the other side, which was another big drawback. Plus, I managed to convince him that the homogenity of the community in terms of house style, landscape, and population was not something we wanted to live in or raise our children around. I also don’t agree that they are any safer than Main Street, USA.
We just bought our house in May and we’re absolutely loving it, so I’m excited for you as you begin this journey.
Post # 14
I live in a gated community and while there are aspects of it I really like, there are also negatives.
First the positives. I do feel safe living there. We have 24/7 security, the gate is manned at all times and a second guard patrols the area in a vehicle. The grounds are pretty and well maintained. There is a committe that needs to approve any major landscaping changes, home paint color changes, etc. so things look pretty consistent and good. We have a lovely club house that offers amazing meals and nice events.
The negatives would be the lack of diversity, meaning in the homes themselves. In some sections a lot of the homes look alike. I built my home and had to have a specific roof tile and color and had only a few choices for my exterior color. A neighbor had used some lovely river rock as a border for the garden. It was deemed not approved and she needed to remove it…….it looked great. You are limited in terms of what you can place in your front or back yard…example fountains, etc.
Overall I like it…….
Post # 15
As an architect trained in urban planning…I can not recommend gated communities from an environmental or social standpoint. Due to the “closed loop” nature of the road plans, it is harder for residents to walk for exercise. Studies have proven that residents in these communities walk less and this can reduce overall health. And walking less menas driving more, which is bad for the planet. From a social standpoint, stable neighborhoods are made up of a mix of income ranges, which a gated community by definition does not allow.
Post # 16
We live in a gated community and honestly the gate does not do anything in regards to privacy etc. Unless there is a gaurd there 24/7 then anyone can get through the gates by following someone else into the community. And there is a code. Everyone gives the code to their friends and family so the gate does not really matter.
In our area it gives the home owners association a lower insurance premium because of the gates. The worst part is that they are broken all the time!
Not that our neighborhood is totally cute but it would be just as cute if the gates were there or not.