Is Living in a Gated Community in Westchester County for You?
Westchester county is one of the areas with the highest quality of life in the state of New York. Based on recent data, it has the second-highest life expectancy rate in the state, a very high resident-to-physician ratio, and very low child mortality rates. It's no wonder both families and senior citizens see it as a great place to move and enjoy their lives.
One decision to take when living in Westchester county is whether you prefer staying in a gated community or not. These residential estates provide numerous benefits, such as additional security, more privacy, and the presence of like-minded individuals, but they also come with various drawbacks.
In this article, we will focus on the main pros and cons of living in a gated community in Westchester county.
Pros of Living in a Gated Community
#1 Higher Levels of Security
One of the main reasons people choose a gated community is the increased sense of safety and security. These residential areas are designed in a way that makes it difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain entry and deters criminals from breaking in and committing any misdeed on the premises.
Strong gates and fences usually protect these communities. Some internal areas may benefit from the additional protection of the same commercial security doors used in banks and offices. Moreover, gated areas use advanced access control systems, such as passcodes, intercoms, and even voice or facial recognition solutions. This ensures that only residents, staff, and individuals with explicit authorization can enter the premises.
Video security also plays an essential role in keeping gated communities safe. Devices like cameras and motion sensors are often installed in strategic locations to monitor the activity within and around the complex. Moreover, video analytics can be used to detect suspicious patterns and alert the staff or the authorities of any potential threat.
The use of advanced alarm systems is another key feature of these communities. These include fire alarms, intruder alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors, which can safeguard both lives and properties.
Some gated communities also have their own 24/7 security personnel whose only job is to constantly patrol the area and respond swiftly to any potential intrusion or incident.
#2 Additional Privacy
Living in a gated community allows you to enjoy a much higher level of privacy than other residential solutions. When your house or condo is next to a public street, your privacy ends when you get out of the door. Sometimes, you don't even have full privacy when you're inside your home unless you keep all of your windows closed at all times. In contrast, living in a gated community means that you can walk around an entire outdoor private area, and only a limited number of residents can observe your activities. This is just not possible in the average suburban neighborhood, let alone the central area of a metropolitan city.
#3 Less Traffic and Noise
Gated communities are usually located far from busy streets and highways, which allows their residents to enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere. The only cars that can access the community are those belonging to the residents, staff, and occasional guests or delivery workers. As a result, the area will have much lower levels of noise and air pollution and much more room for walking, jogging, or engaging in group activities. On top of that, the lower frequency of cars and bypassers makes the area much safer for your children to play or elderly residents to cross the street, which can give parents or relatives extra peace of mind.
#4 Additional Amenities
Another major advantage of living in a gated community is the availability of numerous amenities that are often not available in regular neighborhoods. In addition to basic features like private roads, well-maintained ground, and lush landscaping, gated communities typically include exclusive amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds. This is great if you plan to move into a gated community with your kids, as they will have plenty of fun activities to enjoy in the safety of your own neighborhood.
They may also offer services that are exclusive to the community, such as pet sitting, housekeeping, and, as previously mentioned, dedicated security staff. Sometimes, communal facilities such as community centers and a clubhouse are also included in the gated community.
#5 Higher Sense of Community
Living in a gated community can also positively impact your social life, as relationships between residents tend to be stronger and less impersonal than those in a public residential area. After moving to a gated community, you'll soon develop a support group of neighbors whom you rely on for help and advice. You can also expect to assist each other in emergencies, such as when you need to borrow something or watch someone else's kid. Your children will also develop close relationships with other kids their age, with whom they can play and develop lasting friendships.
#6 Higher Property Values
Buying real estate in a gated community can also be very advantageous as an investment. The asset's exclusivity, higher standard of living, modern structure, and (usually) quality construction material certainly means having to pay a higher sum to buy the property. However, in the long run, you will also likely see its value growing at a much higher rate than in public areas. This is especially true if you buy the property in a very desirable part of the state, like Westchester county.
Cons of Living in a Gated Community
#1 Higher Cost
Obviously, all the benefits we mentioned in the "Pros" section don't come for free. The higher number of amenities and services, as well as the levels of safety, privacy, and community life, translate into a higher cost than living in a non-gated neighborhood. This refers both to the amount needed to buy or rent the property and the higher monthly or quarterly HOA fees involved. HOA stands for Homeowner Association, the entity responsible for the upkeep of the shared areas in a gated community. Obviously, the amount of HOA fees can change significantly depending on the size and type of community. They can be as low as $100 a month in certain cases and as high as $1,000 a month in others. It's very important to conduct your research thoroughly when buying real estate in a gated community and take into account not just the current market value but how much it will cost to manage the property in the long term.
#2 Stricter Rules and Limited Freedom
Another cost you'll have to pay for the higher safety and privacy that gated communities provide is the fact that they usually have stricter rules than non-gated areas. This can significantly limit your freedom because you must abide by certain rules that are necessary to keep the area secure and comfortable for its residents. Gated communities may also limit the presence of businesses and services within the private area. For a business to be allowed to operate within gated communities, there must be approval from the homeowners association.
#3 More Difficulties for Guests and Delivery Staff to Access The Area
Another issue you may encounter if you decide to move to a gated community is that it can be harder for your guests, delivery people, or service providers to access the area.
Based on your community's size and the security measures in place, your visitors may find themselves waiting long times at the guest or needing many complex instructions before they can finally get to your property. This can be irritating, not just for the visitors but also for you, as it may require a lot of effort to just achieve something as simple as inviting your relatives or best friends to your home for dinner. This is also true for deliveries and other service providers. In some cases, you may even need to pre-authorize access to the community for these workers, which can be annoying when all you're trying to do is to receive a small Amazon package or have a gardener trim your lawn.
#4 Fewer Interactions with Those Outside of the Community.
While having a close community of neighbors and staying away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world can be very pleasant from a certain point of view, it may also induce a sense of isolation in the long term. This may result in fewer opportunities to meet strangers and develop new relationships that can enrich your life. Moreover, having access to many amenities inside of the community may pose the risk that your entire life will happen inside of this private area. While you will benefit from all this comfort, you may feel like you are missing out on some of the unique experiences that come with living in the city.
In conclusion, living in a gated community may be a great option for certain people looking for safety, comfort, and stability, but it also comes at a cost that includes higher expenses, less freedom, and a possible sense of isolation. It's important to consider all the pros and cons before deciding to greatly affect your everyday life.