Whenever someone refers to a “gated community” the phrase immediately conjures up an image of security guards in a walled off compound. Gated communities are especially popular these days and residential developers highlight this as one of their many sale attributes to promote their developments. Many foreign home buyers are concerned with security – understandably so when their holiday homes unoccupied over periods of days, weeks or even months.
In gated communities, the common roads within the development, gardens, swimming pool, rubbish disposal, security and facilities like gym are all managed either by the developer or a property management company. Sometimes these services are then farmed out to specialized service providers. Additional services like villa management including maid & cleaning services can be included should a home owner require such services. The advantages of sharing such common services is the costs… It’s a numbers thing, the more properties share the services, the cheaper it becomes for an individual home owner. Ultimately too, home owners have the comfort and assurance that all such services are taken care of even if they are a thousands of miles away and that if anything goes wrong somebody will attend to the matter while they are away.
On the other hand in stand alone properties, owners have the freedom to pick and choose a service provider and if they are not pleased with the service provider, they can terminate their services and hire someone else. In a gated community unfortunately even if a service provider – the pool cleaners, for example are not doing a good job, you can’t just terminate their services. The matter has to go to an owner’s committee to be discussed and debated on and have new companies bid for the job. By the time this is all gone through, your pool will be a nice algae-green colour. The same applies for the gardeners, security & maid services and other common area services.
But while standalone properties score when it comes to getting rid of poor services, gated communities win hands down for security, the biggest concern for absentee owners of standalone properties.However in this digital era, security cameras & video surveillance systems are a common feature and most home owners have them installed so that they are able to monitor their property from wherever in the world they are. Even electrical fences are in common use now as well as the use of a basic security system to a highly sophisticated one. For stand alone villas, there are no common area fees payable and home owners can freely decide if they how far they want to go in terms of security. Technically overall management costs of standalone properties can be much lower than that of gated communities if a home owner manages the property well.
Common area fees for a property in a gated community in Phuket is approximately THB 12,000 to THB 25,000 per month. This is usually payable to the management company, in advance, every quarter. However in very low density developments or ultra high end developments the common area fees can be much higher than this due to the smaller number of home owners sharing the cost of top-end services for the ultra high end developments.
Published on the 8th November in the Phuket News