Why a Gated Community Might be Right For You
Jul 17, 2013
Gated communities come with a certain ‘stigma’. And this is particularly true in Latin American countries, where the majority of gated community residents are foreigners. There’s a perception that the people living beyond the secure walls are snobby, have a sense of entitlement and have no desire to mingle with the local community.
Although this may be true for some residents (albeit, folks like that can be found anywhere, not just within a gated community), it is most definitely not the norm.
When you purchase a piece of international real estate, you’re investing in your future. Regardless of whether your plan is to live there full or part time, or to rent it out for extra income, you want to know that when you step away or leave the country, your investment is protected. The best way to have any guarantee of this is to buy in a gated community.
Despite there being a multitude of safe areas to live and own property in Latin America, many expats choose to buy or build in a gated community. Here are a few reasons why:
Quality Home Consistency
The layout and environment within a gated community is not something you will find on the local streets of a town in Costa Rica, Honduras or Ecuador. That being said, gated communities in these countries are nothing like what you would find in North America… developers often have a variety of home designs for their clients to choose from, or they can design a custom home. Also, the diverse topography in these countries means that even two identical homes could look very different, just because of the lot the home is built on. Bottom line: no cookie cutter communities and a consistent building standard.
Although every country has its unsafe areas (go HERE to read more about safety in Latin America), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a developer building in a questionable area. And if it is questionable, you may want to reconsider your choice of developer!
A gated community will usually have only one entrance that is monitored 24-hours; very appealing to those living in their home seasonally or for only a few weeks a year. An added bonus: it might be easier to find a dependable neighbor to check in on your home while you’re away.
Instant Expat Community
Regardless of your level of adventure, leaving your friends and family to live in a new country has its challenges… integrating into a new home, learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture, to name a few. A gated community offers a bounty of like-minded people, all at different stages of their relocation process. Having access to folks who have already (or are currently) gone through the processes of moving abroad can be very helpful with the learning curve. Not only can you share information and bounce ideas off of each other, but the instant bond over your similar living situation can create a feeling of comfort and belonging.
When you live in a gated community, all roadside maintenance is covered through your monthly or annual fees, in addition to (in most cases) access to a property manager. Think you’d like a housekeeper, gardener or someone to maintain your pool? By living in a gated community, all of this can be arranged – a huge bonus if you’re still learning Spanish or haven’t quite navigated your way around the local community yet.
The majority of future expats like the idea of buying in a gated community. Aside from the benefits that we’ve mentioned here, the guarantee of a sound financial decision is comforting. Especially if you need to sell your home... a much easier task when all the surrounding homes are to North American standards, and price comparisons/appraisals are tangible.
Not every developer that Where International works with, build exclusively in gated communities. In most cases, there are options to simply buy the land and have a home built, with no further contact with the developer.
What it really comes down to is the lifestyle you want to carve out for yourself. Making the choice to even live abroad in the first place is the first step... and who says you have to stick with your initial decision anyway? Starting off in a gated community is a great way to familiarize yourself with an area and the local neighborhood, without stepping too far outside your comfort zone.
To explore the options that our developers have – in and outside a gated community – visit on a Discovery Weekend! You’ll have a chance to chat with other expats, explore the area and see firsthand what a gated community in Latin America can offer you!