Gated communities are popular in and around Central Florida for many reasons. In addition to giving residents an added sense of security, gated communities often include desirable amenities and a feeling of community that can be harder to find in another type of neighborhood. But gated communities are not perfect for everyone, and before moving into one, there are a few factors to consider.

Are You Ready For The Added Hassle?

If you like to live spontaneously and have friends or family stop by anytime, living in a gated community is going to require you to make some adjustments. Any guests you are expecting have to be put on a list or called into the acting guard on duty. Once they arrive, your guests may have to answer questions and show an ID in order to enter. These are typically only minor inconveniences, but on weekends and holidays, the process can take a while, especially if there is only one guard on duty.

By contrast, some communities do not have a guard on duty. Instead, they choose to use a security code and intercom system which residents can use to get in. Visitors use the intercom to call residents and gain access. The issue that commonly arises with these communities is that some residents choose to give out the code to visitors, delivery people, pizza guys and other people who need temporary access. This makes the gate system less than secure. The major advantage of these systems is that they provide a layer of security without carrying the cost associated with having a guard on duty.

Added Security and Amenities– at a Price

There is no doubt that a gated community is safer overall than a non-gated community. Many of these communities also offer added features, such as sports fields, swimming pools, community clubhouses and well-maintained roads. With less traffic overall in the neighborhood due to the restricted access, children can play freely and ride bikes with less direct supervision than in open neighborhoods. But that added safety and convenience comes at a price, which you will be partially responsible for. The homeowner’s association fee that you pay for annually covers these items and can increase over time as your neighborhood gets older and requires more upkeep.

You Can Change Things, But Only if You Participate

If you are unhappy with the security or protocol of your gated community, you can affect change by becoming involved in your homeowners association. While this can be time-consuming, it is one way to be sure that your gated community operates as efficiently as possible.

While living in a gated community certainly has its perks, it’s important to keep in mind that a gate is not a guarantee of security. It’s up to you to decide how much safer you feel living in one of these areas, and whether you feel comfortable paying more to do so.