When looking for a home to buy in Florida, many people look for houses in gated communities. It is a highly desired feature in new home communities and a priority for many home buyers. Gated communities come with a lot of benefits for people living in them. However, those benefits are not for free.
The most important reason people choose gated communities is the high security. These communities are private and exclusive, and you’ll have a hard time accessing them if you are not a resident. The crime rate is usually low in these communities, and unwanted solicitors are less likely to bother residents.
It’s a great thing to have, especially if you have lived outside of a gated community. Nevertheless, there are costs associated with living in a private community.
Gated communities are not one size fits all. They come in different types and features, and some offer more security and privacy than others.
In this guide, you’ll get to know about the various types of gated communities, many of which you will come across when viewing houses in Florida. It will help you make a better choice and prioritize what’s essential for you when viewing homes.
The first type is the automatic gates. They are are the most common type in Florida as they are cost-effective. There is usually a gate arm that raises and lowers when a car arrives or an aluminum gate that opens automatically. To control the gate, there is typically a button on the garage door. This type of gates can have a call box and a mail carrier. Residents add their names to the call box so visitors can ring them directly to their houses. To grant them access, you can use your phone by pressing a combination of keys that will open the gate. Also, as a resident, you’ll have a four-digit number as your password that will automatically open the gate in case you forgot your opener or there is no one to buzz you in. A major con with this type of gates is that residents usually give out their password to guests and workers. In this case, the community is no longer secured.
Many communities with this type of gates have security cameras unstamped to help solve burglaries.
Communities with guarded gates usually have a guard shack with an attendant. While many communities choose to hire someone for the job, others simply take turns attending the shack.
Residents are considered a priority in such communities, which is why there are two lanes sometimes; one for residents so they can enter the community quickly and another lane for visitors and service people. Residents are recognized by a specific sticker on their windshield, so the attendant lets them pass immediately. It’s the guard’s responsibility to keep an eye on the entrance and exit to maintain the community’s security.
Guarded gates communities are definitely more secure and private than communities with automatic gates. However, it’s not the safest option out there. A major drawback to this type of gates is that they are only staffed during the day. At night, residents rely on the automatic system.
If 24-hour security is a priority, ask about the gate staffing before considering buying in a community.
Guarded Gates with Roving Patrols
The third type of gated community is the ones with roving patrols. It’s the most secure type as it combines all of the above. The gates are automatic, guarded, and have a roving patrol to maximize the security of the community.
Roving patrols are responsible for several security matters around the community. First, they drive around the community to spot anything unusual or suspicious. It’s a great way to prevent crimes before they happen.
In some communities with roving patrols, residents tell the officer before leaving their houses for a long time. The security staff can do house checks while the owners are away to make sure all the windows are closed, etc.
Additionally, the patrols can offer additional services to residents like changing flat tires and guiding visitors inside the community.
You might be wondering if that’s the case, why don’t all communities have guards at the gates and even roving patrols to keep everything in place. The reason behind that is simply the costs. While communities with roving patrols are the most secured, automatic gates are the cheapest. It’s quite expensive to hire a professional to guard the gates and maintain the community’s security. Additional staff requires manpower and the costs of vehicle gas and maintenance.
When the community is newly built, developers take care of the bills of roving patrols, but as the community grows, many of them refuse to keep paying.
In many communities that you will come across, you’ll find an unattended guard shack. The developer tells potential buyers that it will be staffed once enough people move in the community. Then, residents can decide if they want staff guarding the gate as long they pay the bill.
Usually, it’s a good explanation for prospects, but very few residents decide on adding guards. It’s a great idea until they understand the additional costs.
If you consider roving patrols to be a priority in the community you live in, you should go for exclusive well-established communities with everything already in place and thousands of residents who will split the bill. The more residents the bill is spread across, the less each person will pay.
It’s important to remember that there is no perfect solution when it comes to guarded communities. No matter what the procedures taken for security are, there is always a chance that something bad might happen. There is no guarantee that you won’t be the victim of crime, even in a gated community.
The good thing about communities with roving patrols is that when something is stolen, the thief may not be able to leave the community.
Overall, as you search for the right home for you, you have to decide on which type of gated community works best for you.