Pros and Cons of Buying a House in a Gated Community in Seattle

Sometimes the thought of getting away from the disorganization and chaos of the average neighborhood can seem pretty appealing to the everyday homebuyer. To give you a better idea if you would enjoy the curated neighborhood lifestyle, here are some pros and cons of buying a house in a gated community in Seattle.


As implied by the title “gated community,” you can expect your neighborhood to have a security presence of some kind. 

The security setup differs from one location to another, whether that is a simple, automated gate or a manned guard station and CCTV setup. It’s likely you’re considering moving to a gated community in part for the assurance and peace of mind provided by the increased security, so get the details on the security benefits prior to getting too invested in one of their properties.


With the added security systems in place comes the potential for some awkward situations. 

For example, if you live in a community with an automated gate that requires swiping a card to pass, be sure to have your card on you at all times or you may find yourself experiencing some difficulty getting home. This also goes for any guests you may have over for social gatherings, and each gated community will have a different way of allowing those guests access to your home. In some cases, guest passes need to be issued, and in other cases, the guard station may need to be provided a guest list and guests required to provide ID to gain access. 

Understanding what security is available is the first part, and understanding how the security operates under atypical circumstances is the second part of the equation.


Another aspect that you will likely have to deal with when buying a house in a gated community is the Homeowners Association, or HOA. 

An HOA is a governing and regulatory body that oversees the day-to-day operations, establishes the rules, and works to resolve conflicts within the area. These rules not only help establish order but also influence, if not outright dictate, the generally acceptable aesthetic of the neighborhood. 

If at any point in time you find yourself in a dispute over the rules of the community, the HOA will step in and arbitrate.


Just as much as an HOA overseeing your gated community can be a good thing, it can also come with its issues. 

The HOA has leadership roles that are filled by members of the community, and sometimes those individuals end up letting the power go to their heads. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of leaders in gated communities believing the rules do not apply to them, or fees mysteriously being raised only to turn up someone skimming money off the top. 

An HOA is only as good as those in charge of it, and you’ll want to make sure your HOA has checks and balances that keep it in acceptable boundaries.


One of the largest sets of perks touted in any gated community is their amenities. 

The amenities available may include tennis courts, playgrounds, or even a marina. The potential for added value from the extras is in the eye of the beholder, and amenities are a big part of shopping around for the gated community in which you would best fit.


Since there are so many more features added on to your neighborhood, this requires payments made to your HOA to keep things running smoothly. 

Your HOA collects dues on a schedule – with the amount and timeline for dues provided to you well before you’re signing on the dotted line. 

These dues also help to keep the gated community looking good by maintaining general common areas, including keeping the landscaping looking nice and tidy.

Help Buying a House in a Gated Community

If you’re looking at buying a house in a gated community in Seattle, contact us today at (206) 578-3438!

Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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