Guard Gated Community vs Unmanned: Pros & Cons For Both Types of Gated Communities

Should You Live in a Guard-Gated or Unmanned Gated Community?

Most homeowners love the added safety, security, and privacy afforded by living in a gated community. But how does someone choose between living in a guard-gated or an unmanned gated community? There are advantages to both types of communities, so it usually comes down to personal preference. Some people appreciate the 24/7 presence of gate guards to keep out unwanted visitors. Others prefer the ease and comfort of modern unmanned systems. Here's a closer look at the differences between these two types of gated communities and the advantages of each when searching for gated community homes.

6 Reasons to Live in a Gated Community

1. More Safety and Security. There are only three types of people inside the gates of a gated community: those who live there, guests of residents, and service employees. Random passersby can't simply walk around in a gated community.

2. More Privacy. Gated communities are quiet, and fewer people are around due to their closed nature. Morning commuters can't take a shortcut through the neighborhood on their way to work.

3. Slower Traffic. Almost all gated communities have speed bumps to slow traffic down. Stopping to get through the gate makes a driver pause and realize they're entering a residential zone, which will likely have pedestrians walking around. Many communities also enforce speed limits and give out tickets to residents who attempt to drive too fast.

4. No Solicitors. People in gated communities never need to worry about unexpected door knockers or solicitors. They're not allowed through the gate in the first place.

5. Enhanced Property Values. Gated communities are almost always under the stewardship of a homeowners association. The HOA of a gated community sets standards for landscaping and the external appearance of every home. When every home in the neighborhood is uniformly well-kept and beautiful, it raises property values for all the neighbors.

6. People Are More Neighborly. People living within a gated community often have a shared sense of community. Many of the best gated neighborhoods have shared amenities that everyone maintains through HOA fees. These usually include a private clubhouse with a fitness center, a pool, tennis courts, and other amenities that the general public cannot access.

Guard-Gated Vs. Unmanned: What's the Difference?

What's the Difference Between Guard-Gated and Unmanned Gated Communities?

A guard-gated community is one with human guards on duty at the neighborhood entrance gate every hour of every day of the week. The guard(s) control access through the gate and check every person's ID or entrance card so they can allow only property owners in. An unmanned gated community uses one of several different types of technology to control the community's gate.

Unmanned gates are sometimes referred to as automated gates. Modern gated communities are increasingly using smart technology for residents to control the gate. For example, residents will have private access to a smartphone app that allows them to open the gate at the push of a button on their phones. These systems even allow a homeowner to open a gate remotely for family or guests. Older unmanned systems may use a card reader, a magnetic lock, or a personal PIN entered on a keypad.

Advantages of Living in a Gated Community With No Guard

A gated community with no guard relies entirely on technology to control access. Every resident can open the gate independently with a garage door opener-type device, a smartphone app, a keycard, or a PIN/keypad combination. Many communities also take photographs or videos of every license plate as it's entering the gate. This puts every adult in the community in control of the neighborhood's safety. 

No one gains access to the community unless someone allows them in. There are multiple ways an unmanned gated community can let visitors in. Some systems use an intercom system that will ring the resident's home. Others use a smartphone app that can remotely open the gate for a friend or relative. Another advantage of this type of access system is that if a code is ever compromised, it's pretty easy to reset the system with a new code and provide it to all residents.

Benefits of Living in a Guard-Gated Community

Guard-gated communities have an extra layer of security when compared to unmanned gates. The guard on duty screens every person entering (or attempting to enter). A single guard can also monitor every entrance/exit to a community through a CCTV system. Guards can also keep a log of every vehicle and person entering and exiting the gated neighborhood.

A homeowner's association (HOA) usually covers each guard's salary. This makes the cost of guards more affordable for everyone in the neighborhood since all residents share the expense.

Another nice thing about guard-gated communities is that the guards learn who every resident is over time. Someone with an access code can spoof an unmanned system, but a guard can't be spoofed. If they don't recognize someone trying to get into the neighborhood, they can check their ID and license plate against their records and ask questions.

Finally, guards can open a gate manually if it fails. All technology will fail eventually for a variety of reasons. If a smartphone app or another system fails to open an unmanned gate, the resident could be stuck outside the neighborhood until someone comes along to remedy the situation.

Gated Communities Are about Lifestyle

There are many pros and cons of living in gated communities. One of the biggest pros is the extra security from a guard-gated or unmanned gated neighborhood, which gives residents peace of mind that their property is safer. Deciding which type of gated community is right for any potential homebuyer will come down to their preferences for how much security and convenience they want.

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