Gated Lakefront Communities in Ohio: Pros and Cons
There are several types of lakefront communities across Ohio; reservoirs, state parks, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy lakes, private lakes, etc. And each one comes with a certain set of rules, settings and an environment that makes living at each type of lake different than the others. Today we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of living in gated lakefront communities in Ohio.
To start, gated communities are a sub-section of the private lake type; meaning that these communities have HOA’s and are generally only allow member and member-guest access to the community. The HOA provides a security gate at al the entrances that prevent non-members from entering. Examples of gated communities would be Candlewood Lake, Hide-a-Way Hills and Cinnamon Lake.
PRO #1 – Additional Security
This one is probably the most obvious result of having a gated community. Gates can play a huge roll in keeping crime down at lake communities, especially since secondary homes have a higher probability of getting burglarized than primary residences. Gates are also a cheaper way of bolstering security than say a constant police patrol. With the gate at entrances anyone who enter the community has to be a member or a guest and they are kept track of. It makes you feel safer at night knowing that anyone with ill intentions would be barred at the gate; literally.
CON #1 – Guest Inconvenience
Going off of the first Pro, this issue may be more of an issue at some lakes than others. Since gated communities are members only a lot of lakes allow certain family members such as children and parents to enter without you as long as they’re registered with the gate office, but some extended family (sometimes that includes siblings) may not be able to enter without you with them. Not to mention that if at anytime someone comes to visit you at your lake house you need to arrange a pass for them at the gate. Make sure to think about your own family situation and who all would be using the lake house before choosing a strict gated community.
PRO #2 – Less Traffic
This one may not seem like a big deal to some, but if you’ve ever been to some non-gated lakes then you would understand why cutting down on traffic could be a blessing. People drive far too fast over the speed limit along the main road, and if you have children or want to use a golf cart it can make you a little nervous. With a gated community, since only members and guests can come in, there are no vehicles on the road just passing through or that shouldn’t be there. Everyone wants to drive at a reasonable speed because they live there. Not to mention that anyone coming through the gate has to literally stop before entering, preventing them from cruising into the community at top speed. Parents can feel a little safer letting kids ride their bikes around, and everyone can enjoy their golf cart a little more without looking over their shoulder as much.
CON #2 – The Mail / Addresses
This one may not be as big of a concern for some as it is others, but it is something to think about. A lot of gated communities such as Candlewood and Lake Buckhorn, you’ll notice that all the mailboxes are at one location inside the complex. much like an apartment complex. Mail is not delivered directly to your home, this is due to the fact that all the addresses at the complex are the same, just separated by unit and lot numbers (or some other type of similar system).
CON #3 – Cost
This one can be a big one if you’re looking to keep costs down of owning a lake house. But when you do the math constructing a gate and paying someone to monitor it costs money. So as a resident you’re going to see a higher HOA bill at gated lakefront communities on average compared to other lakes, especially considering that a lot of public type lakes don’t have HOA fees. Make sure to check how much the additional security and protection are going to cost you before you decide on the lake to live at.
CON #4 – Lack of Privacy
Again, another con that isn’t considered as large as a factor as other items. This one is more for the people who are very privacy conscious. Consider this: every time you have someone come visit you whether it be family, a friend or guest, the security office keeps track of who comes and goes. For most this issue may be irrelevant, for some it may not be. Just food for though.
Side Note – Scheduling Showings when Selling a House
This issue only arises when trying to sell a home inside a gated community, but the fact is that in today’s world almost everyone has a realtor. Now we would prefer, and try, to bring most buyers to all of our own listings but sometimes that doesn’t happen. And even if it does I know that I personally don’t live at any of these gated lakefront communities. So every time someone wants to see the house and they have an agent that doesn’t live there an appointment needs to be made to let them in. I have seen in several cases where an agent, and potential buyer, was turned away. That also means that exposure of your listing becomes diminished because no-one is seeing the sign in your yard that doesn’t already live there. Some gated lakefront communities in Ohio have slower markets, in part because since they’re gated people don’t have the opportunity to go on a Sunday and drive around to look for houses for sale. In fact a lot of gated communities are so private that few people know about them (which is were we come in). Now that being said we do have several agents who live at the lake that they specialize at, and can easily show and arrange showings at these gated lakefront communities. The reason why this isn’t listed as a con is because some people like knowing that the agent and buyer who come to see their house become registered at the security gate. It can be convenient to know who went through your house.
PROS vs CONS
If you read through the whole piece, which I hope you did, then you may have noticed that there were a few more cons than pros. The trick here is to give each pro or con weight based on your personal preference. Rank these issues in importance and judge them accordingly. For some the additional security alone outweighs all the cons combined. For some they want something a little more private, where they and their family don’t need to check in with anyone when they want to go spend a weekend alone. Talk to your lakefront specialist and figure out where these issues land in your priority list and if a gated lakefront community in Ohio is the best lake for you.
Written by Justin Shelton Lakefront Consultant – The Lake Team