For many Americans, a home in a gated community is a goal that will verify wealth and success. When you live in a gated community, there’s a sense of privilege that comes with owning the property at that address.
If you wish to purchase such a home in the Houston region, there are plenty to choose from. The Woodlands is one of the most highly valued areas, and it can boast of an array of prestigious, gated neighborhoods.
These include Carlton Woods in Sterling Ridge and Carlton Woods in Creekside. Other popular options outside of The Woodlands include Arlington Terrace, Eaton Square, River Hollow, Fannin Station, Hudson Forest, Indian Trail, and Westhaven Estates.
But as is the case with any home-buying decision, there are pros and cons associated with purchasing a residence in a gated community. In this article, we’ll explore those potential positives and negatives.
This should enable you to make a more educated decision about whether this is truly something you wish to pursue or not.
The Pros of Gated Communities
Gated communities are highly prized for a reason. Residents enjoy many benefits when they may call one of these neighborhoods home, including:
1. Greater Privacy and Security
This is one of the main reasons that celebrities and other public figures prefer to live in gated communities. As the name states, there’s a gate.
In order to get past it, you must possess some sort of access code. This keeps out unwanted visitors and intruders and gives homeowners inside the luxury of being able to relax at home without having to deal with lots of riffraff or nosy intruders.
2. Lots of Amenities
Every gated community is different, but most of the top ones offer residents a variety of amenities and perks. These can include any or all of the following: swimming pools, playgrounds, parks, dog parks, hiking trails, exercise facilities, game rooms, golf courses, tennis courts, bike paths, and jogging trails.
When you have options like these in your neighborhood without having to share them with outsiders, you’re more likely to take advantage of them. All you have to do is walk out your front door and there they are.
3. First-Class Neighborhood Upkeep
Part of the allure of a gated community is that it’s clean and well kept. In order to maintain this condition, most of these kinds of neighborhoods put HOA fees toward regular maintenance and upkeep of common areas, including roads, curbs, sidewalks, and parks.
Some even include property landscaping as part of the deal, which means you don’t have to worry about mowing your lawn or trimming the shrubs. Talk about a major time-saver!
Let’s not pretend there isn’t a little bit of status that comes with living in a gated community. Whether it’s justified or not, people associate these neighborhoods with success.
By residing in one, you automatically enhance your personal reputation. In professional and social circles, this can help you climb further up the hierarchy.
The Cons of Gated Communities
For every benefit associated with a gated community, it could be argued that there’s also a negative. At the very least, some people will feel that certain issues and factors make such neighborhoods less than desirable. Here are a few of those.
1. High HOA Fees
All the luxuries and amenities mentioned above are nice, but they typically come with a substantial price tag.
HOA fees in a gated community often amount to hundreds of dollars a month. So in addition to the mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, you also have to plan for HOA fees in your budget.
2. Lots and Lots of Rules
When you live in a gated community, you automatically agree to live by the various rules and regulations of the area. If you’re someone who prefers control and autonomy, this can get irritating in a hurry.
“There are rules for visitors, tenants, gatherings, exterior paint color, siding, yard, fencing — rules, rules, rules,” real estate professional Sarnen Steinbarth explains. “The lack of control over your property means limited opportunity for financial returns. The community restrictions can be particularly negative if you plan to use the property as a rental or investment property.”
There are also logistical problems associated with living in a gated community. Having a friend over for a visit? You’ll have to make sure you give him or her a gate code or visitor pass ahead of time.
Hosting a party at your house? You’ll probably have to run it by the HOA in order to arrange for adequate parking. Issues like these might appear minor initially, but they can get frustrating after a while.
3. Longer Commute
Although this is not always true, most gated communities tend to be located in the suburbs. And since you’ll have to deal with entrances and exits via gate, it’s not necessarily convenient to run a quick errand at any time. For people who prioritize convenience, gated communities may feel limiting and burdensome.
4. Snobby Neighbors
A handful of gated communities can be characterized as truly communities in every sense of the word. All the neighbors know one another, kids play in the streets, and something’s always going on at the clubhouse.
But there are also plenty of gated communities that are more snobbish and off-putting. People often live in gated communities as a way of isolating themselves and enjoying complete privacy.
When that’s the case, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find it difficult to make friends with the people down the street. If you’re an outgoing person who comes from a closely connected and active neighborhood, this can be a difficult adjustment.
Let Green Residential Help
Whether you’re looking to buy a home in a gated community, traditional neighborhood, or on a large tract of farmland outside of the city, Green Residential is here to help you find the home of your dreams.
Since we’re a family-owned and -operated real estate company that has more than 25 years of history in the Greater Houston Area, you can rest assured that, when you choose Green Residential, you’re working with the best.
Contact us today and we’d be happy to provide you with more information on what this exciting process looks like!