Hidden Aspects of a Gated Community

If Doug were to ask you why a developer installs a gate at the entrance to their community, what would be your answer? Go ahead and think about it, as he is 100% confident your answer will not be correct.

Need a little more time??

When a large community is getting off the ground, you drive through and see just two homes, usually a trailer, and head out the gate. You will not have had an on-site agent share with you the community’s vision – which in actuality, could be perfect for you if you are retiring in 1-2 years. Therefore, the developer puts in a gate to direct you to the on-site sales team.

As a by-product, the community has a gate and what appears to be a safer environment. But is it? Doug lived in a gated community for 17 years, and if someone wanted to bypass the gate, easy peasy. But it does keep out Sunday drivers and perhaps unwanted influences.

Are there any negatives to a gated community? Possibly, everyone who owns a house anywhere in America will pay real estate taxes on their home. Part of those taxes is diverted to the city or county road department to maintain the roads, which includes fixing potholes, resurfacing every 10-12 years, and possibly coating the streets with tar from time to time to preserve the blacktop. So, where is the negative?

When you place a gate in front of a community in our area (not 100% sure about other regions), the community residents are 100% responsible for maintaining the roads. County and town road repair people simply drive by the gates of those communities and that you for paying your taxes. However, don’t forget that while you are paying your local government to maintain your roads, you are also paying your Property Owners Association (POA) an additional fee to maintain your roads. Money is escrowed periodically, and budgets are formed on how much the road will cost the residents to maintain. So yes, in essence, you are paying taxes to keep your streets repaired by your Property Owners Association (POA).

As for the cost of maintaining a gate, years back, our community was paying a local security company over $100,000 a year to have someone operating the gate 24/7 a year. Eventually, we realized that we did not need to have someone at the entrance from dusk till dawn (as Chuck and Will usually slept anyways!), so we added electronics to our gates and gave everyone key fobs. Voila, $50,000 was saved each year!

When developers sell out a community, 100% of the costs to maintain the gate is turned over to the residents, but if they do, are the roads still private? If you are ready to find your dream retirement home located in Brunswick County, give us a call today! One of our agents would be more than willing to help you with your search for your home!

Things to Know About Gated vs. Non-Gated Communities

Have you ever wondered why some communities are gated and others are not? Sure, safety is an important reason but let’s face it – we don’t live in a high crime area. The original reason for gated communities was so that visitors and homebuyers alike stop and meet the sales team as they drive in.

Imagine driving through a brand new or relatively new community that has no gates. If you drove though quickly and didn’t get a warm welcome, you’d drive through and drive right on out, right? The sales team wants to speak with visitors to point out all the benefits and amenities that you don’t stand a chance of seeing from inside your car as you drive past the beautiful homes.


While some communities are gated and some have guard stations, not all guard stations have a guard in them. If you drive down Georgetown Road in the Sunset Beach and Calabash areas, you will find just that — guardhouses but no guards. While developers install guardhouses to help sell the most properties, once they leave the community and their portion of paying for the guard disappears the residents have to agree on a future strategy. The residents of Sandpiper Bay and Sea Trail didn’t want to pay for a guard who did nothing more than wave everyone through. Thus there is an unmanned guardhouse.

Choices are either no guard, guard or what is becoming popular is the option of electronically controlled gates that are open during the day and close around 6 p.m. Winding River, Ocean Ridge Plantation, Crow Creek, RiverSea Plantation and Lockwood Folly are some of those communities who have adopted this philosophy/policy. Residents are assigned a keycard to activate the gate when they need entry.

To employ one guard 24/7 for 52 weeks a year and absorb the costs of a guardhouse, it would cost upwards of $100,000 per year. With crime in Brunswick County being much less than where most people are coming from, communities filled with retirees that are generally home quite a bit and keep an eye on their neighbors places, are finding that guards really are an unnecessary luxury.

So, when searching for your perfect location where you can retire in comfort, do some research on the gate situation so that you better understand who is paying for the cost of such a feature and whether or not you feel it’s important to you.

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