Pros and Cons of Gated Communities


When you think of a gated community, what comes to mind? Probably things like safety, security, exclusivity, celebrities, expensive homes, and more. But what else lies beyond those gates? And is a home in one of these neighborhoods the right fit for you and your family?

Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of gated communities to get a better idea of how things operate behind the wrought iron columns. There might be some issues you overlook, which you may not realize until after the fact.

Privacy and Security

  • The biggest perk is privacy and safety
  • And perhaps a lack of solicitors
  • Since only residents and invited guests can enter the gates
  • But crime still happens in gated communities

Gated communities provide a lot of benefits to the residents that live within them, though the amenities don’t come cheap.

The number one reason people choose to live in gated communities is likely the security element. Because a gated community is private, it is more difficult to access than a standard community.

Criminal activity is reduced in gated communities, and solicitors will have a more difficult (if not impossible) time bothering residents. In fact, the only solicitors you’ll probably get will be neighborhood kids trying to sell you magazines and girl scout cookies.

This is clearly a beautiful thing if you’ve ever lived outside a gated community and dealt with crime and/or solicitors. Of course, there is a cost associated.

And there’s no guarantee you won’t be the victim of crime in a gated community. The gate only acts as a deterrent, not a foolproof solution. So you should still keep your doors locked and valuables out of sight.

Also note that some gated communities merely have an automated gate with a keypad, while others have live guards. The latter will be more expensive, but also provide much more security.

Traffic Free

  • Gates also limit through traffic
  • Which means commuters shouldn’t bother you
  • The streets may also be quieter and safer for your family
  • And homes should be uniform and better kept

Traffic and speeding cars are also reduced behind the gates, making it quieter and safer for children to play and ride bicycles within these neighborhoods. You likely won’t have the morning commute using your street as a shortcut either, as much as they may want to.

Another positive aspect of gated communities is a higher standard of home quality, and stricter building codes that promote uniformity in design. That means more comparable sales and better value for all the homeowners within the community.

You shouldn’t have to worry about that weird neighbor with the bizarre lawn display or unkempt yard.

Homeowners in these neighborhoods also generally have a higher pride of ownership, and keep their homes in better condition. Along with that, gated communities create a scarcity effect, with few homes within these neighborhoods typically available for sale at the same time, adding more bite to the value.

There may also be social benefits, such as a community center or events that promote group activities for families to get to know each other.

Expensive Home Prices and HOAs?

  • The obvious downside is a more expensive home
  • Which can eventually turn into a positive if you’re able to afford it
  • You may also be subject to pricey HOA dues
  • To maintain those gates and added security

Let’s talk about the downsides of gated communities, shall we.

For one, or I suppose two, gated communities often come with high asking prices and costly HOA fees to pay for things such as gate guards, private security, roads and maintenance.

Most roads are designated private, so you may have to foot the bill to fix those potholes or repave a bumpy road on your own dime. Good luck negotiating with your neighbors.

As far as security goes, the safety of gated communities is dependent upon the quality of the system in place, as well as the surrounding areas. And there’s a good chance the community won’t be patrolled by a sheriff unless the HOA approves such action. Or if the gated community is an actual city. Most aren’t…

Not all gated communities have live guards either, and automated gates aren’t very difficult to breach once someone gives out the code to the pizza delivery guy.

That being said, crime still occurs in gated communities and you shouldn’t let your guard down just because there’s a nice little fence around your community. Heck, the neighborhood kids could be the ones stealing from you…

The rare gated community that happens to be a real city, such as Hidden Hills, California, will have a police presence, meaning you will need to stop at those stop signs and not speed to avoid getting a real ticket.

The upside is that the cops are there to keep an eye on things.

Waiting to Get In…

  • Here’s one thing you may have overlooked
  • It can be a real pain waiting in line at the guardhouse
  • Especially during holidays or if you get a new car and it doesn’t have the sticker yet
  • Anyone that comes to your home will also have to be added to the list and visiting hours may be limited for contractors and other workers

Assuming the gate is in fact guarded, visitors and contractors may get aggravated waiting in line to come to your home.

Yes, your family and friends may have to wait during busy periods, and you’ll likely need to call down to the gate every time a visitor is expected. This can be especially problematic on holidays when all the in-laws are visiting…

And many gated communities limit the time contractors can come work at your home, and may block them altogether on holidays.

Gated communities are also typically located farther away from businesses and other services, making the commute a bit longer just to drive out of your neighborhood every day.

For example, it could take five minutes of driving just to exit the gates and get back into the real world.

Also watch out for properties located just inside the gates, or within view of the gates, as they may see a dip in value for obvious reasons. Gates might be a value-add, but not when you can see them out of your kitchen window.

While these may not seem like serious issues, HOA fees alone can make affordability a problem. You thought your condo’s HOA was expensive?  Try a gated community.

At the same time, if you do get your hands on a home in a gated community, there’s a good chance your home will appreciate nicely in the years to come. So it could be well worth the price, not to mention the quality of life for you and your family.

Even if you don’t live in a gated community, you can always build a gate around your own property or purchase a condo in a secured building. It’s certainly nice to have some layer of security between your living space and the outside world.


  1. I’ve lived in a gated community for 25 years. Nothing better, though as the author points out, there are very real drawbacks. But once you go gated you never go back!

  2. Another con is that MOST if not all boards go bad as far as they and their friends are above the rules .

    It is very easy for the board Pres to skim money from the padded bill and countless other ways to steal .

    We lived in a gated community in Doral/Miami for 12 years and after the kids graduated we sold and bought a real house not these over priced hamster units .

    I didn’t like it from the beginning due to disparity in those who were above rules and those who weren’t but my wife liked it .

    By time the kids graduated college she had enough .

    IMO MOST if not ALL communities are paying way more monthly fee then they should be .

    We never had any home break ins but yes vehicles were stolen from drive ways .

    If you decide to buy in a gated community do yourself a huge favor and go see it M-F , between 5 and 7 pm or whatever hours you get out of work before you buy .

    Some of these places take over 45 minutes just to drive in .

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Miguel. I agree there are many cons that homeowners should consider, especially when they’re paying for the privilege.

  4. I opted for a home in a gated community when we moved to a new city…just didn’t know it well and figured it was a smart move. Could be a waste of money but I think my family feels a little safer.

  5. we NOW live in a gated community. gating was a disaster from the perspective of a long term resident. fees went way up, community services went down, safety didn’t change, hassle went way up…in the end, the gates become momuments to the people that succeeded in gating the community…THOSE PEOPLE INVARIABLY DO NOT HAVE LONG TERM INTERESTS AT HEART…people that benefit are property flippers, renovators, business that do home destruction/construction, real estate/real estate related services….in rare cases it might be worth it, but unless it’s high density living it probably won’t be

  6. Chris,

    I think folks need to be careful not to overpay for the “privilege” of living in a gated community. At the same time, they have to watch out for the hefty HOA fees that pay for those gates (and guards)…so it can be a one-two punch if the neighborhood turns out to be wrong fit.

  7. Dean,
    I agree that it is safer but in my case the management company was inept and every board we had was corrupt to the point that they weren’t paying monthly maintenance fee and the management company enables it so they would keep them.

    The place was just poorly run with rules only applying to some not others .

    Keep in mind this was Miami .

  8. It is really good they have gated communities like this, but one thing is I would rather not have to go & live over in the first place, if I lived over there I would get out to a safe place in NZ, I hate things like that, I’d feel like I was in a prison

  9. Well, I’m currently conducting a research work on the impact of gated community, and I think what the gate in community is just to paint a notion in people’s mind that the community is secure, which is far from true, it’s only a segregation of social class and infringement of undeserved value!

  10. Adeyinka,

    Interesting, that’s definitely a possible downside to a gated community.

  11. Here’s some research for you Adeyinka. Trump wants a wall built why? To keep the illegals out not in. Same concept for a gated community. Keep them out or at least appear to do the job. We have mostly every demographic living in our neighborhood. So I say you very correct in the segregation comment but its 2 total diff things from what you believe. Work Hard Play Hard!!!

  12. Florida Guy,
    We had vehicles stolen from the gated neighborhood I used to live in which was in Doral . Every year some were stolen. In fact every gated in Doral has that problem but we never had any home break ins.

    I found the apathy of homeowners rather disgusting as far as one corrupt board after another and perhaps less then 12 of us in a 300 house community ever attended meetings nor cared.

    I’ll just say again ”This was Miami” lol and since you are in Florida you understand but I would never set foot in any gated anything again.

  13. Are there any non gated communities, non HOA places to live? I’m retiring, it’s just little o’ me so I don’t need all those extra amenities gated communities offer. I’ve been there, done that and not once used the facilities..

  14. Tiffany,

    Most homes aren’t in gated communities, or subject to HOA fees unless they are in a planned unit development (PUD). So really it’s the minority that are subject to these fees.

  15. Well to add to your research from an Amazon delivery driver’s perspective, it’s the biggest headache in any of our routes. Actually as we speak I’m waiting now for the Leasing office to open and if I wasn’t so far away from the warehouse I would take these customers packages back and get someone else to deal with the hassle of these gated homes and these security codes to get in the doors. I really don’t see the point of them because if someone is going to steal from you the gate is just stopping their car from getting into the community not the physical person, you can easily get past Gates, may not have the code to get in but I’m sure some clever Criminal we’ll figure it out. Bottom line it’s a hassle and us delivery drivers can’t stand them. Why order packages if we can’t get in we do have Amazon lockers that you can have your packages go to, to save all this drama. Sorry that was a little more than my $0.02 lol

  16. I have lived in my gated community for 31 years. The problem is the Board makes unilateral decisions, like “fixing” a golf course for $1 million for only 200 players. Needless to say they are not transparent. Our fees keep going up even though new houses are being built and bought. I feel like I live in an autocracy, unheard and powerless. The board changes every year. When residents realize nothing changes, even getting sidewalks in your neighborhood….rampant apathy grips most residents.

  17. I am looking into a gated community and was wondering about washing my car and my kayak in the driveway I’ve seen a few homes in each of three different gated communities and have yet to see anyone washing a car, although I was only there usually right after lunch in the heat of the day so maybe I just missed it.

  18. Kathy,

    That would probably be a separate issue governed by the HOA in the neighborhood, which brings up a good point that there’s a homeowners’ association in gated communities that sets a variety of rules residents must abide by.

  19. I am developing a property in Oregon but has its own private road, there will be less than 10 homes on the development and a gate at the end of the drive that leads to the development.

    I like the idea of the gate because it will keep the riffraff from just wondering in on their own especially in vehicles, and it will keep the door to door sales people away.

    And all of the houses will have RV parking with full hookups.

    It would be nice not to have the city code enforcement cruising the neighborhood.

    I’m not planning on adding any HOA but there will be some maintenance fees for the road and underground utilities , probably just a single annual fee per home to make sure there is some money in an account to repair a broken sewer line or pothole 4 problem with the gate.

  20. My gated community has only one person working at a time. This person has to handle a lot of other issues inside. There is also lake access to resort. When officer leaves to do other things, the gates are left unattended for anyone without pass. I am concerned about the false idea that you have security. Very aggravated in gate being left unattended.

  21. A gated community is going in next to the house we’re building. It has ruined all our plans. We bought the property for its peace and quiet and the solitude. If we had wanted to live near a community we would have built in town. Now our dreams are ruined. I was planning on expanding my bee keeping operation when I retired but we have to move. Where we currently live is next to a golf course and they use so many chemicals that it kills my hives.
    Add in that the tax assessor is chomping at the bit to increase my property taxes to the point the we can’t afford the property taxes on our almost built home and it’s a disaster for us. Property taxes are part of the reason we’re trying to move and now it’s happening again.
    I’m about to be homeless in my retirement instead of comfortable and it’s all because of this gated community. We spent almost every penny we had to build the new house only to have this happen next to us. No one around here wants to live near a bunch of snotty gated community snobs and now we can’t even sell the house we were building.
    This situation has ruined any plans I had of retiring. It’s ruined the rural area and it’s ruining everything for my family.
    The rich are allowed to come in and ruin everything for everyone and they can get away with it because people like me can’t afford an attorney.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *