Gated Communities-Phoenix Real Estate

by Lavine Team on July 29, 2010

phoenix real estate communitiesGated community or non-gated community? Many Canadians feel that they need to be in a gated community for security reasons and for feeling more confident about a lock-n-leave type vacation or seasonal property.  We frequently get asked if this is a necessity or not.

The reality for the availability of these types of communities is that just as where you probably come from, most communities are not gated down here. However, there are several that are for a variety of reasons… some are in an upscale portion of a nice neighborhood. Some are on a tract of land in an established community that sat undeveloped for a long time that may be surrounded by a nice area or could be in one that appears to be declining. Some are in 55+ areas while some others are for added security in a sketchy looking neighborhood! Would you want to be in an area where you wouldn’t want to leave the gates to go for a walk at night?

We actually have mixed feelings about gated communities as they create a false sense of security. Many times that I have entered a code at the gate and when driving through, 1 or 2 more cars have followed in behind. And you don’t need a code to get out once you are in. Many gardeners, pool maintenance people, pizza delivery guys, other labourers and an untold amount of other visitors are given an access code to get in. Once in, a visitor that really shouldn’t be there, might  feel more secure by not being seen by patrolling police cars. Some gated communities will also have a hired security person patrolling within the gates but many do not. We can get into many gates just by entering commonly chosen number combos and we’re not the only ones to have figured that out. So are you really any more secure?

The types of gated communities that are the most secure are the ones that have guards at the gate that screen you prior to entry and record your name and license plate number….usually there are photos of you and your car as well. Most gated communities are not guarded and the ones that are generally have more expensive homes and have much higher HOA fees to cover the added costs for this area expense.

So as a result, most of the homes that we sell are not in gated communities. Just like you would for your primary home, a good security strategy starts with picking a good neighborhood. If you choose an area that has lower crime stats compared to others, that has a good feel to it with nicely kept properties and an absence of derelict vehicles on the street, that has schools with a good reputation…these are all good ways to zero in on neighborhoods.

Another good rule of thumb to increase your security, as you should in your primary residence back home, is to have a security system with visible window stickers (possibly the most effective deterrent). Modern security systems available can actually allow you to turn on lights, adjust furnace/AC settings, and arm/disarm right from your cell phone.You can also buy a video monitoring system that enables viewing from your computer too! Perhaps you can entrust one of your neighbors to keep an eye on your house once you get to know some of them. It could be a good idea to not tell others that you are leaving town or that you’re a part time visitor.

There are also companies that offer a house checking service weekly or monthly starting at around $30-35. We can refer you to a few, one of which is run by a dual citizen like me who got tired of shoveling snow, sold off everything they owned in Calgary, moved to the Phoenix area and started up a house checking service. Many of our clients have friends and family that visit their home throughout the year so that there is always activity happening there.

All of these ideas will contribute to a more secure vacation home.

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