Pros and cons of buying a house in a gated community

Gated communities provide residents with a sense of exclusivity. However, they are far more expensive than similar properties elsewhere and living in those will also be costlier

If you have Hiranandani Estate in Mumbai, you have its equivalent in Gurugram with DLF’s Westend Heights. If you have Hargobind Enclave in New Delhi, you have Sunny Brooks Community in Bengaluru.  In Hyderabad, while you have Boulder Hills, there is Marvel Aurum in Pune. Gated residential communities are just everywhere, meeting the housing needs of millions. Different from regular communities, these walled residential complexes with manned entrances promise higher security to an exclusive community.

That gated communities have become a world-wide phenomenon – India included – is a common knowledge.  The opinion, however, is divided on why these walled estates promising exclusivity and higher security continue to lure home buyers globally, especially in countries like India, where with vast populations, affordability plays the most crucial role in property purchase decisions.

 

What is a gated community?

Gated communities provide residents with a sense of exclusivity—with all those superior amenities accessible within an enclosed space and out of bounds for the outsiders.  To the human mind, the idea that they are in the company of their own type and status is quite gratifying too—only a certain category of buyers are allowed to purchase homes; not to mention, they would have to meet the ‘able-to-afford criteria’ also.

Wikipedia defines a gated community as ‘A form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterised by a closed perimeter of walls and fences.’ The irony is our respect for such exclusivity doesn’t inspire us to go as far as picking an independent house altogether, even if there are cost-related advantages in choosing that option. As humans, we feel safer in the company of other humans, especially if another wall happens to guard our four walls.

“Gated communities are a self-designed arrangement that residents’ welfare associations come up with, to safeguard independent house in their area. These are more prevalent in north and south Indian cities, where the ‘bungalow culture’ has been traditionally active and preferred,” says Abhineet Seth, CEO, Adodekraftz. “Buyers’ preference for independent plots in Delhi and Haryana, gave birth to what are known as the ‘builder floors’ in freehold zones. Subsequently, RWAs were formed and they started making arrangements for security and other community-level services through contributory charges,” adds Seth.

What amenities could you expect in a gated community?

Apart from security personnel guarding the entrance round the clock, gated communities boast of amenities such as club houses, swimming pools, community halls, play grounds, sports club, etc.  One will have power back-up and parking facilities if they are a member. A more premium gated community will have on the premises restaurants, cafes, shopping complexes, children’s play area, spa, clinics, etc. An even more premium gated community would offer you valet parking, private swimming pools and personal elevators, among others.

 

What is the price range in gated communities in India?

As is expected, homes in gated communities are priced higher than regular homes because of the safety and exclusivity factor they provide. However, the prices vary depending on the location, the facilities and developer brand.  In big Indian cities, the price range for units in gated communities start from Rs 75 lakhs and goes up to several crores (up to Rs 20 crores). Remember, more the facilities, the higher the price tag.

For instance, a resale unit at Hiranandani Estate can cost Rs 1.80 crore and at Sunny Brooks Community in Bengaluru, the resale price is Rs 1.10 crore.

 

Pros and cons of buying a house in gated community

 

Pros and cons of buying a house in a gated community

 

The pros of living in a gated community

Let’s dwell on the positives of investing in a unit within a gated community. Not only would you socialise with people with similar social status but also be the owner of a property which wouldn’t lose its sheen because of the impeccable maintenance year after year. If you were to sell this property, it would fetch a good return on investment. This also has to do with the fact that only a certain number of units would be up for sale in this exclusive community.

“From an investment perspective gated communities are a good option, as most of these zones are located in premium areas. The building quality of homes in gated communities is also better since they are individually operated,” says Seth.

Those who plan to live in their homes for the rest of their lives would find the amenities actually quite convenient. For instance, one need not look for places outside to host their kid’s birthday party or any other family event. Since everyone in the community has to maintain a certain standard, construction-wise, the aesthetic beauty of the space is never out of place. This is something that happens in a typical neighbourhood, where every individual chooses his own sense of style, ultimately killing even the slightest chance the area might have had at maintaining any aesthetic appeal.

 

The cons of living in a gated community

We all know buying a home in a gated community would be more expensive but living in those is also going to be costlier. Gated communities keep their sheen on through regular maintenance and offer security on expensive safety upkeep. This ultimately costs the homeowners. Your monthly expense of that account is much higher than someone who lives in an independent property. If you were to buy such a property, it is of utmost importance to personally examine the arrangements made to maintain both these aspects of the gated community.

Then, there could be several other little inconveniences. Your visitors would have to get your permission to enter the premises and might also be asked to park their vehicles outside. Surely this is for the higher purpose of maintaining security, but this could amount to a regular hassle for them and you. Also, you would be troubled if you have hired workmen to get a job done at your home. There are specific gates by which entry and exit are allowed, only in certain hours within a day. In India, where work contractors are often hired for construction-related works, this type of time constraint pose major challenges in getting the job done. All in and out movements of residents are also tracked, which would cause inconvenience every day.

You would also have a location disadvantage if your house falls close to the community walls as noises and disturbances would continue to enter your four walls all day long.

 

Tips to buy property in a gated community

  • The unit should be located in the middle so that entry and exit movements don’t disturb you all day long.
  • Pick a trusted builder to enjoy after purchase quality services. The quality of services might go bad after a point if you have not invested with a builder with good track record.
  • Get a clear estimate about what you would pay as maintenance charges every month. Go ahead only if you are comfortable with a lifetime of making that payment on a regular basis.
  • Gates are not enough. Please check what arrangements are in place to guard the entry and exit points.
  • Gated communities lying far from the city centre may offer peace but they also run a higher risk of attracting criminals, especially during work hours when people are away to offices. Keep that factor in mind when picking a gated community.
  • A gated community might not be for you if you prefer a comparatively free lifestyle. Gated communities have their own set of rules which every resident has to abide by.
  •  A gated community might not be for you if you want to have a house stating your personal style. You will have to follow certain guidelines as member of the community.

 

FAQs

What are gated communities?

Gated communities are high-security residential complexes offering a variety of premium facilities to residents. Since large areas are needed to develop them, they are mostly developed away from the city centre.

Are gated communities completely safe?

How safe a gated community is depends entirely on the arrangements made to ensure security there. Buyers are advised to investigate this thoroughly before they make a decision to invest.

Is entering a gated community a crime?

Outsiders aren’t allowed to enter the premises, unless they have permission from residents to do so. Entering the premises without permission would amount to breaking and entering.

 

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