Market Conditions, National

The Times You May Wish You Had Chosen a Gated Community

Gated Entrance
Published on September 10, 2011

This weekend is a time of reflection about our vulnerability which we became acutely aware of on September 11, 2001. What we recall, after the horror of watching the television that morning, is the insecurity we felt as a country for a long time after. The attack happened during the height of NFL football season, a time when no one wanted to be at large gatherings anymore. We were afraid to drive over bridges or be near nuclear power facilities. We questioned our water supply and the postal mail.

As we pulled ourselves back together, we remember the compassion and visible expressions of love by American’s during the tragedy. Our strong resolve pulled us through. Watching our generation age, we notice Baby Boomers becoming more insecure, especially with the state of our economy. In times like these, you may wish you had chosen a gated community to live at retirement. Why?

Living in a big city in a tightly secured condominium building, we take for granted not being on guard 24/7 regarding our surroundings. We feel safe and enjoy the privacy. In a high rise condominium building, it is unlikely that an unwelcomed visitor would pass through security. The word ‘gated community’ is a blanket label but has distinct differences as it relates to security and safety. Here's what we see as we visit and score the ideal places to live in the Southeast:

Gated communities left wide open - what’s the point with having a gate?

Gated communities left open during the day, gates closed at night

Gated communities with access codes - no fun when the code system doesn’t work

Gated communities with laxidasical security - basically a guard waving hello

Gated communities with rigid security - requiring your driver’s license and authorization to enter

Gated communities with barrier walls and rigid security

Ironically, despite the different levels of security, the monthly homeowner association dues are not much higher. Larger master planned communities tend to have tighter security and more property owners to share with the expense. The smaller gated communities are more casual about it and sometimes we wonder, why bother with a gate? One of our colleagues told us she never locks her front door. We wondered if she lives in the Garden of Eden? Today, leaving your door unlocked is risky on so many levels.

Beyond the security levels at gated communities, it is the sense of community and the outward expression of love which helps folks feel more safe and secure when owning a second home. In larger gated communities, there are organized social clubs, where neighbors share common interests and build close friendships. At a time of need, these close bonds between neighbors are priceless on an emotional level adding value to gated communities. 

During the bird flu epidemic, my alarmist sister tried to convince me American’s would experience a horrifying pandemic and thousands of people would die. Thankfully, she was wrong. What we did learn from the experience is how unprepared we were for catastrophic events. Do you have enough food, water, medicines and baby items to endure 2-3 weeks without leaving your home? We hadn’t before then. In Florida, the hurricane season reinforces this issue every year. When Floridian's are in the center of the cone zone, our grocery store shelves are cleared out within hours. 

Gated communities are more cohesive environments where if you don’t have something you need, your neighbor probably will and will share it with you. If you’re out in the boonies, don’t count on quick aid during a time of need. Be prepared when owning a second home. The Federal Government has subtly been preparing us for future catastrophes. Have you seen the billboards and television commercials - Are you Ready? I see them in every state on the Interstate 95 corridor. FEMA’s website has a wealth of information.

Get a Kit

Make a Plan

Be Informed

Honoring the victims of September 11th and their families, please take the time to get a kit, make a plan and be informed. Share this information with your family. Share this information with your neighbors. Share this information in your gated community.

If you're searching for a ideal places to live Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina or Tennessee and if security is important to you, we're happy to share with you more specific security observations we've made. This is how we help folks in the real estate market. Just reach out and say hello. It's our pleasure to help!