Once a family has decided to move to a gated community, it is time to choose the best community for their values, stage of life, and interests. There are many types of gated communities to choose from including special interest ones that focus on things like golf, riding, water activities, young families, retirees, green living, and more. There are gated communities with homes starting in the low $200,000 and ones with homes in the millions.
Choosing a Gated Community
Once the decision has been made to move to a gated community, it is time to find the correct one for the family. People who are looking for a gated community in Florida have many choices. Look for a community near where family members work and go to school. Check out how close shopping and other services are to a planned community.
Study family finances and choose a gated community that is affordable. Remember, the cost of the house is not the only expense to consider. There will be a homeowner association or HOA with monthly fees and other charges. Study the development information along with the home cost and ask for an accounting of all community expenses.
Study the HOA rules and restrictions to see if they are acceptable. Some HOAs have really picky and restrictive rules. Can you live with the rules and restrictions? If the rules are not compatible with family values, interests, and lifestyle, keep looking. There are choices for a quality housing development for everyone.
Gated Community Amenities
When the family has a list of gated communities they can afford and that have HOA rules they can live with, the next consideration is amenities and special interest focus. For those who love living on or near water, there are planned communities with water access. There are new planned communities that are near the Florida coastline but with a special feature called lagoons.
These new lagoon communities feature man made lagoons of up to 7 acres of clear, clean water that are up to 10 feet deep. The lagoons have sandy beaches surrounding them. It is like living in a resort the year round. The lagoon has amenities such as water slides, swimming and paddling, a swim-up bar, kayaking, and more.
There are palm trees, cabanas, and lush landscaping to enjoy near the lagoon and the land surrounding the lagoon includes a beautifully planned community of many sizes and styles of homes, parks, trails, clubhouses, and more amenities.
Tour the Gated Communities Before Deciding
Each gated community offers different amenities, HOA rules, pricing, and more. Ask to tour the communities that look good on paper or in the Realtor’s office. This will allow you to get a feel for the community and which houses are available for purchase at what prices. There are pros and cons for every gated community that must be considered, and a tour will help.
Are safety and security considerations? Some gated communities have automated gates with key cards. Others have gatehouses and guards that check identities before letting people enter the gates. The guards cost more but offer a higher level of security.
The downside of gates and guards is that it is harder to get in and out of your own neighborhood. It is also harder for your guests or workers to get into the neighborhood. At certain times of the day there might be a line of residents waiting to get passed through the gate. You must give the guards at the gate a list of guests and workers you want let in.
The advantages of gated communities for many people is the added safety and security. Though there is still a chance of crime, it is lower than in non gated communities. Because access is limited, residents do not have to worry about traffic noise, cars racing down the street, or through traffic.
Don’t worry about being bothered by door-to-door salespeople or other solicitors. They won’t get passed the gate. This will be especially useful during election years.
Living in a Gated Community
Getting used to living in a gated community might be a challenge for some. Any beginner’s guide to gated community living should start with the admonition to read the HOA rules and restrictions from cover to cover. If you know the rules, you won’t be as likely to break them inadvertently.
There may be rules and restrictions concerning the color and materials used on each home, the landscaping allowed, the number of vehicles allowed, and so on. They may cover pets and guests. These rules are restrictive, but they also have the advantage of keeping home values high.
Getting the Most Out of Gated Community Living
Once the family is moved in, get to know the amenities that are available and what social opportunities there are. Gated communities offer opportunities to meet neighbors and make new friends. There are often planned community events such as open-air concerts. There may be private tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools, nature walking trails, and more. Some gated communities have club houses where exercise, dance, and other classes are held.
Gated communities have both benefits and downsides. People who choose to live in gated communities are willing to live with housing conformity, HOA restrictions, and the higher expenses for the benefits. Benefits such as safety and security, privacy, and exclusivity are important to gated community residents.
Higher Home Values
Higher home standards lead to higher property values and an easier time selling property when it is time to move. The sense of community, social opportunities, leisure facilities, and amenities offered by gated communities are big draws for many couples and families.
Happy, successful living in a gated community depends on carefully choosing the correct community within the family budget. Then balancing the gated community restrictions with the many amenities offered to residents. Taking full advantage of the recreational and social opportunities offered by gated communities leads to a happy living experience.