Are you thinking of buying a home in a gated community? Did you know there are different types of gated communities? Several types, in fact.

There are things you need to know before you buy, like what type of gated community are you looking for..

Do you want an all-age community? A particular lifestyle? Country club? Retirement community? Equity country club with golf, non-equity country club, boating or something else?

When someone talks about gated communities, you may think just houses behind a gate. It could be, and yet it could be so much more.

Gated Communities

Gated Communities

There are regular gated communities, the kind you’re probably thinking of. Houses within an area that are gated. Simple.

Communities like this do exist. They’re usually all ages. There may be a clubhouse, pool, tennis court, playground, or they may have no amenities whatsoever.

Gated communities can and do vary from one location to the next.

Lifestyle Gated Communities

There are gated communities catering to people involved or interested in getting involved in certain lifestyles.

For example, golf communities are for those who love to golf. There are tennis communities, boating communities, farming communities, beach communities, evergreen communities geared towards nature, gated communities with dog parks, 55+ communities and more. Whatever your passion, I’m pretty sure you can find a gated community that will fit. There is something for everyone in today’s world.

Lifestyle in a boating community is centered around a marina or yacht basin. Makes sense. A gated beach community would be centered around the beach. Golfing community is geared towards the sport and the clubhouse. Communities with dog parks may be for those who love dogs. And so it goes.

You can take it a step further and combine two of your passions. Let’s say you have dogs and you’re looking for a 55+ community. You should be looking for a pet-friendly 55+ community.

55+ Gated Communities

55+ communities today run the gamut from less expensive to ultra luxury.

Years ago, people retired to inexpensive condos in Florida and Arizona. That’s what many people think of when you mention 55+ or senior communities today – that is, before their REALTOR® explains.

Those inexpensive condos still exist, though they are no longer inexpensive, and there has been a huge turnover or two since that time!

55+ or active adult communities of today, as they are commonly referred to, are nothing like they used to be. Yes, they are gated communities that cater to the over-55 crowd, but they are not the communities of years gone by. From moderately priced to million dollar plus and everything in between, you can find a 55+ community that fits your lifestyle.

Senior communities today are active. Some are very active with people are out playing pickle ball, tennis and swimming all day. They’re riding bikes, walking dogs, and working out in fitness centers, among other things.

Research The Community

Some 55+ communities are quieter than others. Some have activities where you can be busy all the time. Others fall somewhere in between.

Lifestyle in the 55+ communities is usually centered around the clubhouse. Resort-style pools along with state-of-the-art fitness centers, aerobics, water aerobics, Pilates, yoga, cafes and billiards. Pickle ball is one of the hottest sports today. Many baby boomer communities have their own leagues. There is also tennis, bocce ball and arts and crafts. And clubs. Let’s not forget the clubs!

There has been a resurgence of mahjong and cards, canasta and bridge in the over-55 crowd. Naturally, there are cards rooms in the 55+ communities, which are often full. It doesn’t take much to find a game. Or poker or billiards. Whatever your preference.

Many of the gated 55+ communities have social directors, much like the country clubs. When buying it is essential to research the fees because there can be hidden costs when buying.

Equity Country Clubs

Equity country clubs are golf clubs.

An Equity country club requires a new buyer to post a mandatory equity bond, which may or may not be refundable. This is something you must check into prior to purchasing a home.

In addition to the bond, there are annual dues to be paid, either golf, tennis or social, trail fees, food and beverage minimums that must be met, and any assessments for renovations. Country clubs are aging and have to keep up to bring in younger people. In order to do that, they need amenities that the younger crowd wants like spas, restaurants, and more.

Equity clubs don’t just redecorate. They usually take it to the ground and rebuild, then assess the members. Most members don’t mind as they like their amenities to be top notch.

The equity, annual dues and assessments are in addition to your homeowner’s fee.

Living in an equity country club can be quite costly. If you are considering buying into one, you need to get this information upfront.

Non-Equity Country Clubs

Just as there are equity country clubs, there are also country clubs with no equity. These are gated communities with golf and there may be a fee involved, but there is no bulk equity money to be put down upon moving in.

Types of Gates

Communities can be gated a few different ways. There are manned or guard-gated communities, which are exactly what they sound like. There is a guard at the gatehouse as you approach the community. Either your name will be left by the homeowner, or they will contact the homeowner before you will be allowed entry into the community

There are gated communities without guards. They can be gated by telephone entry. When you approach the community, you scroll down the list until you find the homeowner you’re visiting, push the button and it will call them. You are granted access by the homeowner.

Virtual gates are newer. As you approach the entrance, you are greeted by a voice welcoming you. You state your name and who you are there to visit. After showing identification, you will be allowed entry. This is an interesting concept. They usually have cameras, as well.

Rules and Regulations Are Important

Living with the rules and regulations comes along with living in a gated community. Most people really don’t mind, as they want to be part of the community. They want their community kept looking nice.

Rules and regulations vary from one community to the next. It could end up being an essential consideration before purchasing.

They can range from what colors you may paint your house to how many times you can rent your house or condo per year. The homeowner’s association may not allow any type of signage on your property or they may require a certain type of fence. This helps to keep a more uniform look.

For those with pets, there may be pet restrictions. If you’re an animal lover, you need to check this before you buy. Buying and selling a home with pets can be challenging when there are restrictions.

In Summary

As you can see, there are many types of gated communities and plenty to choose from. As a buyer, it helps to find common interests with the people living there.

Of course, there are some people who never leave their home. Some people who have never been to a clubhouse, and that’s fine. If that works for them, great.

But, for the majority of people who move to a gated community for a certain lifestyle, either with friends or to meet people, it’s a nice way of life.

Life is short. Enjoy it!

Elyse Berman About the author: The above article on what to know about gated communities was written by Elyse Berman. Elyse is a seasoned REALTOR® in Boca Raton, FL, as well as a retired court reporter.

She focuses on pet-friendly real estate helping buyers and sellers. She also helps people who have no pets! A local resident for 27 years, her knowledge of the Boca/Delray/Highland Beach/Boynton Beach real estate market is extensive.

Areas of service include Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Highland Beach, Boynton Beach, and surrounding areas.