Your home’s location can play a significant role in how much you pay for homeowners insurance. But have you thought about how living in a gated community could impact your premiums?
Think about it: gated communities can be safe, private, and protected—all things that lower the risk associated with your home. But it isn’t for everyone. You should consider the pros and cons of a gated community before deciding if it’s right for you.
Cheaper insurance can be a significant benefit of living in a private neighborhood. It’s an easy way to lower your household spending. When you use Insurify’s home insurance comparison tool, you’ll get a free quote in minutes to quickly see how much you could save.
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What Is a Gated Community?
A gated community is a collection of homes that is accessible only to residents and their guests. The residential community includes a gate or wall that blocks roadways in and out of the neighborhood.
The controlled access might include a guard booth with security staff to ensure only residents or guests pass through. Another option is an automatic gate that residents can open with a keypad or remote control.
Gated Community Pros and Cons
Purchasing real estate in a gated neighborhood can include several perks, such as access to swimming pools, clubhouses, and a security guard. However, homes can be less affordable and have several other downsides that you must consider before deciding if it’s right for you.
Benefits of a Gated Community
Private neighborhoods have many benefits. One of the most significant advantages is the added security and safety of a security gate. There’s also the exclusivity and even an air of mystery that comes with it. Here are other pros of gated-community life.
- Security and privacy: The security gate can prevent unwanted entry, lowering the risk of theft, vandalism, and other crimes compared to surrounding areas.
- Less traffic: Because the gate limits access to the roads, you’ll enjoy fewer cars on the road. That means no speeders or commuters looking for a shortcut to work.
- Lower insurance rates: Many homeowners insurance companies offer discounts for homes with limited access. Security features at each entrance point and a neighborhood watch can provide added safety, which can lower your insurance premiums.
- Supersized amenities: Your new home could include access to a swimming pool, a private park, a playground, hiking trails, an exercise facility, a clubhouse, a golf course, or tennis courts.
Cons of Gated Communities
Living in a private neighborhood can work out well for many people. But like most things in life, gated communities aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. Here are some disadvantages of moving into a gated neighborhood.
- High prices: Homes tend to cost more if they’re in a gated community. The additional privacy, tighter controls on maintenance and home design, and security can drive up real estate prices for home buyers.
- Inconvenient location: Many gated communities are built in outlying areas with limited access to public transport. You may need to drive a considerable distance to get to grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
- Restrictive rules: Gated neighborhoods can have restrictions on what color you can paint your house, how high the grass in your lawn can grow, and what type of pet you can own.
- Gatehouse frustrations: Gated access is a significant draw of private communities, but going through the gates every day can be a hassle. The neighborhood might limit the time contractors can access the area, which could delay a home repair. You also must notify the gatehouse every time a family member or friend visits, so they know to let them in.
Homeowners Associations in Gated Communities
The security, amenities, regular maintenance, and landscaping that accompany limited-access communities aren’t free. All gated communities will have a homeowners association (HOA), which means you’ll pay an extra cost to live in the neighborhood.
HOA fees are required fees that are generally collected monthly from residents in the association. Some neighborhoods may have a voluntary HOA. You won’t be able to take advantage of the amenities paid for by the HOA if you opt out, but you won’t have to pay the fee, either.
Many homes are in an area with a mandatory HOA. If you purchase a home with a mandatory HOA, you must sign documents indicating that you agree to follow the HOA regulations. You could be charged assessments, fees, or fines if you break those rules.
The HOA is responsible for structuring and organizing the efforts to maintain the neighborhood’s common areas, roads, sidewalks, and curbs. It could also include maintenance for your own front and backyard, which could mean less yard work for you.
HOAs and Homeowners Insurance
Besides creating a cleaner and neater appearance, HOAs can also save you money on homeowners insurance.
Residential properties in a community with a homeowners association generally have strict rules, community standards, and a regular security watch. Some even have a gated entrance with a security guard to control who has access to the neighborhood.
That means your home is likely to be well-maintained and have a lower risk of theft or vandalism. Depending on your homeowners insurance company, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance premiums if you belong to an HOA.
Gated Communities and Homeowners Insurance
There’s a lot to think about before buying real estate in a gated community. However, one significant consideration is the potential impact a gated neighborhood can have on your homeowners insurance.
Spoiler alert: you could save money on premiums if your home is in a gated community.
Insurers base their rates on risk, and the controlled access and higher community and maintenance requirements can lower the risk of theft, deterioration, and damage. Lower risk usually means lower premiums.
For instance, your roof’s age impacts premiums because of the increased risk of damage from weather elements as it ages. But gated communities tend to have strict upkeep and maintenance rules, which means you’ll likely need to replace your roof before it becomes a risk.
Private neighborhoods can also increase home security and safety by having a neighborhood watch, security patrols, and a security guard limiting access to the area.
Frequently Asked Questions - Gated Communities
Is it better to live in a gated community?
Living in a gated community has its perks. Imagine enjoying a swimming pool or regular lawn maintenance without the responsibility of cleaning or regular upkeep. However, gated neighborhoods can include maintenance costs that make it more expensive to live there. You may also be expected to follow strict rules that limit the types of doors, fencing, and paint colors you can choose for aesthetic enhancements.
Does a gated community increase property value?
Homes in private neighborhoods tend to be more expensive than similar homes outside the gates because of their desirability. In that sense, it can increase property value. Whether the property holds its value over time depends on the maintenance and upkeep of the amenities and public areas that keep the community looking neat and tidy.
How can I find gated communities near me?
If you’re interested in a gated community, your best option is to contact your local real estate agent. By their nature, gated communities are designed to keep out unwanted passersby, making it difficult to see the homes and amenities the neighborhood might offer. A real estate agent can direct you to private communities in your area and arrange a time for you to view homes for sale.
Is a Gated Community Right for You?
You might think living in a gated community is the top-of-the-line lifestyle you’re looking for as a homeowner. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider the pros and cons of living in a gated community.
You might be subject to monthly HOA fees, which can increase the cost of homeownership. But the strict home and yard maintenance and increased security measures that many gated communities offer could also save you money on homeowners insurance.
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