Gated Communities and Deed Restricted Communities

by Ruth Lorenzen

The popularity of living in gated communities and deed restricted communities has risen in recent years. It used to be that these communities were thought of as being only for the affluent, but today they are becoming more and more popular with middle and upper-middle class families. "Greater security" is usually given as the biggest reason for choosing to live in a gated community, and "protecting property values" is the reason usually given for choosing a deed-restricted community.

Other reasons include "enhanced lifestyle" and "amenities". Many of these communities are designed with amenities built around a particular lifestyle, with golf courses, tennis, swimming pools, or even equestrian facilities. These communities are usually located on some of the most desirable land in the area. Prime land, combined with careful planning and HOA rules create an environment where home values hold up extremely well.

Aside from the gates or walls, the second most defining characteristic of gated or private communities is the Homeowner's Association (HOA).The HOA is made up of all the owners of the development. The HOA is responsible for collection of the Association fees and making and enforcing the "rules" of the community. It is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, parks, etc.

The rules set by the HOA can vary greatly, depending on the individual development. Typically the HOA will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the colors of paint on outside walls, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping and storage of boats or recreational vehicles.

Gated communities aren't for everyone. But with strong protection of property values, increased security, less traffic and amenities for your specific lifestyle, they are appealing to more people each year. Many of the newer condo conversions properties are gated for security and exclusivity (ensuring the amenities are used only by the residents).

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