Behind closed gates: does living in a gated community make a difference?
PUBLISHED: 16:14 23 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:14 23 September 2015
Any property behind a pair of gates seem special somehow. It's the whole 'restricted entrance' feel that it alludes. It feels somewhat more exclusive and even illusive as well. But is life behind the gates all that different?
Gates feel regal.
So the appeal of living in a gated community makes sense. But aside from the materialistic effect it has, there are plenty of other more practical perks. But does it really make a difference in the long run? Are house prices more expensive behind those gates we covet so much? Is it worth it? Does the novelty wear off?
Gates are there to intimidate to some degree. And while you don’t necessarily want to make your guests feel unwelcome, you will want to give this impression to unwanted visitors. Namely thieves, who will find it harder to access homes in a gated community than they would a house without a perimeter fence. Criminal activity is reduced - but not unheard of - in these types of residential areas.
Similarly, door-step pests, such as salesmen, cold callers or even trick or treaters at Halloween are less likely to pester you if your home is behind gates.
Some gated communities integrate natural sources of energy (solar, wind or water) into the design of the housing. It’s normally the case that this type of neighbourhood is custom-built to be set behind gates, rather than an existing street being turned into a secured private street. There are green gated communities that use advanced building science with eco-friendly materials to promote water conservation, indoor air quality, and just healthier living in general.
You’re less likely to be affected by traffic noise, pollution and congestion in a gated, private road. More often than not, these communities will lead to no-where - cul-de-sacs and dead-ends. It’s rare for a gated street to be a through-road or a main road. This makes them safer too. Children are freer to play in the garden or ride their bicycles in the neighbourhood without the fear that they will run into a busy road. Speeding cars are less of a risk too.
There’s a localised sense of community in a gated street. It’s likely that you will get to know your neighbours, seeing as only a certain amount of you live in the road and you are all part of an individual closed-off space. This is always beneficial to where you live, making day-to-day life more pleasant if you get along with those living around you. It might not turn out this way, but a gated community does feel more familiar. Street parties are popular in this type of neighbourhood and the children might be more inclined to make friends with their peers next-door.
There is likely to be a higher standard of home quality, and stricter building codes in a private street. This can be positive or negative in some cases, as homes behind a gates might all be designed the same. This might take the uniqueness out of your home, if your community follows the precise same design in all its properties. However, this isn’t always the case.
Nonetheless, uniformity can mean comparable sales and better value for all the homeowners within the community. This might also mean that homes within these neighbourhoods are typically not available for sale at the same time, adding more of a kick to a potential sale.
Gates can be a blessing and a pain. Whether they are gates to a single private residence or at the entrance of a gated community, they can sometimes be troublesome. If they are electric, what happens if they stop working? You’re either trapped inside or locked out. If they are manual gates you’ll have to get in and out of your car upon entering. Delivery drivers might not know how to get access to the road if they can’t work out the gate system. If the gates use registration censors, this might prove to be an irritant when you have visitors. Any potential faffing can be annoying for the people trying to get in and for the residents of the houses nearest to the part of the road where the gates are located.
But is it more expensive?
Gated communities are thought of as more expensive and they certainly can be. It depends what size the houses are within them, where abouts they are located, the area...
Sometimes the gate maintenance, private security or upkeep of the communal garden areas are worked into a house price or tenancy agreement. Check with the council on your rights as a resident. If the road is privately owned, who foots the bill if a pothole or pavement or street lamp needs attendance.
As with any investment, doing your homework pays off. The few cons that come with a gated street are worth investigating, and if these negatives aren’t deal breakers, living behind gates can be as exclusive as you imagined.