When it comes to addresses, gated communities are undoubtedly among the most coveted. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in an exclusive neighborhood that offers unparalleled privacy, beautiful houses, luxurious amenities, and access to world-class golf courses?
If you plan on buying a house in a gated community, this in-depth guide will prove to be invaluable. It will discuss everything you need to know about such developments, including their perks, the different options available to you, and the best-gated communities in Orlando.
CONTENT AT A GLANCE
- Advantages of living in a gated community in Orlando
- What kinds of gated communities are there?
- What are the top gated communities in Orlando?
- Ready to look at gated communities in Orlando?
Advantages of living in gated communities in Orlando
To live in a gated community is to be in good company. After all, it’s the preferred address of the wealthy and the influential. Aside from being a status symbol, however, exclusive neighborhoods also offer:
- Safety and security — One of the biggest perks of moving to a gated community is the full security and privacy it offers. In such a neighborhood, entry is strictly limited to residents and their approved guests. That’s why crimes like burglaries are exceedingly rare because only a select few are granted access and security personnel closely monitor all entrances and exits. Street traffic here is also much lighter compared to public roads so you can feel confident about letting your kids explore the community.
- Privacy — If you’re a person who desires peace in your corner of Florida, moving to a gated community is for you. With very few people allowed beyond the security gates, there are only a few strangers and prying eyes to worry about. Instead, the people you’ll come across will most likely be your neighbors or fellow community dwellers.
- Tight-knit community — The relatively small number of people who reside in exclusive villages helps foster a strong sense of community. After all, when everyone knows everyone else, it’s easier to form friendships. Many of the communities are also themed or centered around an activity (such as golf clubs), which attracts like-minded residents. Such developments also have many amenities that promote socializing with neighbors, including clubhouses, swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, and restaurants.
- Leisure amenities — If you want to enjoy a leisurely lifestyle, buying a home in gated communities in Orlando is a wise decision. Such developments boast many amenities that allow you to unwind and mingle with others after a long day of work. Play a game of tennis with friends on the weekend, beat your personal swimming record at the private pool, get your heart pumping at the fitness center — all these and more are possible. Exclusive villages also have green spaces like community parks and trails where you can reconnect with nature and recharge your spirit.
- Reduced vehicular traffic — Commute times in Florida can be quite long, with the Florida Department of Transportation saying it takes 28.4 minutes per trip on average. If you live in a gated community, however, you can drastically cut down the time it takes to reach your destination. This is because traffic is largely composed of residents who enter and leave the neighborhood. As such, you can lessen the time you spend on the road and enjoy more time with your loved ones.
- No salesmen at your door — Traveling salesmen may be a dying breed in the age of e-commerce but thousands of them still knock on doors peddling their wares. It’s an honest living but it can get quite annoying for homeowners. Since non-residents cannot enter a gated community, however, they will be the least of your worries. The only knock on your door you’ll receive is from neighbors you know and love.
- Top-of-the-line homes — Want a home that suits your every want and need? Then a luxury property is what you’re looking for. And it just so happens that gated communities in Orlando are almost exclusively composed of high-end houses that boast a broad range of desirable features. These properties spare no expense in making everyday living more comfortable and enjoyable, thanks to features like gourmet kitchens, high-tech home theaters, private wine cellars, and well-appointed home offices. You’ll also find a range of luxurious amenities such as pools, saunas, outdoor entertainment areas, home gyms, and the like.
- Higher home values — A home in an exclusive subdivision might be pricey but it’s a great investment, nevertheless. Houses in these projects tend to have higher resale values, meaning you can make a tidy profit if you ever decide to sell. This is largely due to the presence of a homeowner’s association (HOA), which sets rules and regulations that govern the upkeep of both the neighborhood and individual houses. In fact, a study by George Mason Universityfound that properties in communities with HOAs fetched up to 6% more on the market.
- Child-friendly environment — Parents who are concerned about stranger danger can breathe easy knowing that only authorized people are allowed inside gated communities. This also means that your young ones can bike around the neighborhood without weaving through a parade of cars. Kid-friendly amenities like playgrounds, community parks, and swimming pools allow them to have a good time with their friends, too.
- Prestige — Nothing says “you’ve made it” quite like owning a home in a guard-gated suburb. And it’s not just because you’re living next door to high-net-worth individuals and celebrities. Prestige comes from the fact that only a limited number of homes are available in an exclusive village and you happen to own one of them. There’s also a sense of accomplishment in being able to give your family the best possible neighborhood to live in — one that’s safe, quiet, and inviting.
What kinds of gated communities are there?
While gated communities in Orlando invariably offer the height of prestige, there are actually different types of developments to choose from. These include:
- Country clubs — These are communities designed around a certain leisure activity, such as golfing. When you buy a home here, you’ll also have to buy a club membership to gain access to the various amenities. You’ll have to pay monthly dues for the upkeep of facilities on top of your HOA fees, as well. On the upside, you can enjoy tee time any time you wish since the golf course is within the community. Do note that some country clubs allow you to purchase a home without getting a membership. These are called non-equity communities.
- Planned communities — In this community, real estate developers consider the needs of future residents and factor them into their master plan. For instance, if the project is geared towards outdoor lovers, it might feature expansive parks and dedicated biking trails. If the community has a grander scale and is designed to be a self-sustaining township with its own shopping center, entertainment district, and recreational facilities, it can be called a master-planned development.
- Themed communities — These are very similar to the above-mentioned developments but they are centered around a certain theme or locale. A good example is a lakefront community where all homes have a view of the water. Another type would be mountainside developments where homes are nestled among the trees and have panoramic views of the area. These are often used as secondary or vacation homes, though many folks also live in them full time.
- Over-55 communities — As the name suggests, these communities are geared towards retirees or those nearing retirement. In contrast to assisted living facilities, this kind of development offers plenty of leisure activities and caters to people who can still manage themselves, hence the nickname, “active adult communities.” Daily life revolves around the clubhouse and there’s often a social director who plans daily sports matches, group exercise classes, card games, and the like. At least one person in the household has to be 55 or older to live here, though some communities allow up to 20% of the residents to be younger than the qualifying age.
- Luxury communities — The crème de la crème of gated communities, luxury developments are the playground of the wealthy. While most exclusive villages offer a high-end lifestyle, the latter truly ups the ante with features like a full-service marina, multiple-acre lots, and golf courses designed by famed landscape architects. The sky’s the limit when it comes to these projects — whether you want a private ranch or your own slice of forested land, you can have it here.
What are the top gated communities in Orlando?
Now that you have a better grasp of what gated communities are and what benefits they offer, you’re likely eager to know which ones in Orlando are the best. These are some of the most desirable projects that you will find here:
- Alaqua Lakes— Residing in Alaqua Lakes means being close to nature. The gated community stands on 750 acres of lush land and is master-planned to preserve the natural landscape. It was developed in 1998 by Taylor Woodrow, one of the largest custom home builders in the world. Within the gated entry are some 500 beautiful custom and semi-custom homes that usually cost around $1.5 million on average. The centerpiece of this deluxe community is its seven-acre clubhouse that has tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, a full-sized basketball court, a soccer field, and a renowned fairway. This sprawling recreational facility is also adjacent to a number of small but scenic lakes — hence, the name.
- Alaqua — Another luxurious golf community, Alaqua is located in the scenic Markham Woods corridor in Central Florida. The community was built in two phases between 1987 and 2011. Homes here sport a distinct Mediterranean or modern style and typically cost $1.1 million. Several A-list celebrities and professional athletes own property here — further proof of the gated community’s prestige. As a sister community to Alaqua Lakes, this development also has access to the country club and its high-end amenities. The development is close to Interstate 4 and is around 17 miles away from Downtown Orlando.
- Heathrow — There’s a reason why Heathrow is a top-of-mind choice for those who wish to move into gated communities in Orlando: it’s part of the highly desirable Lake Mary area of Central Florida. This luxurious neighborhood boasts excellent landscaping and mature trees that lend a truly relaxing atmosphere. It’s also home to a 36-hole championship golf course designed by Tom Fazio. Of course, a luxurious clubhouse adjoins the fairway, boasting features like an athletic club, Olympic-sized pools, and clay tennis courts. As you’d expect, the lakeside views are truly a sight to behold.
- Heathrow Woods — Good things come in twos at Heathrow, and its sister community Heathrow Woods is every bit as impressive. Each home here is custom-built and measures up to 10,000 square feet. Properties often also stand on an acreage, giving residents more than enough space to pursue the lifestyle they want. Fittingly, properties command a premium, with median listing prices sitting at a lofty $1.4 million. You’ll get more than your money’s worth, however, as you can enjoy clubhouse facilities like a fitness club, spa, tennis courts, and a championship fairway.
- Lake Forest — Lake Forest seamlessly marries nature and structure throughout its 538-acre sprawl. Take a walk around the community and you’ll spot mature oaks, a 55-acre lake, and expansive conservation areas interspersed with exquisitely designed homes. Residents here enjoy resort-style amenities, including a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, junior Olympic-sized pools, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and canoeing/kayaking facilities. The neighborhood regularly holds community events and hosts social groups so that residents can mingle with each other. For the excellent lifestyle that Lake Forest offers, it bagged the Grand Aurora Award for the best community in the Southeastern United States. A typical home here will set you back around $720,000.
- Isleworth — There are many ways to describe Isleworth, but “grand” is especially apt. Its 600-acre sprawl is home to equally expansive estate homes with floor areas of up to 17,000 square feet and lot sizes of over one acre. This gated community also boasts an 18-hole championship golf course originally designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer. Its luxurious clubhouse is no less renowned, being named as one of the Top 100 Platinum Clubs in the World. And that’s saying nothing of the beautiful series of lakes within this high-end community’s territory. Elite neighborhoods naturally have elite real estate prices, as homes here have a median list price of $4.1 million.
- Keene’s Pointe — Keene’s Point may be composed of 14 different neighborhoods but it has a singular focus on delivering a high quality of life to its residents. The heart of this gated subdivision is its Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, which features holes that will surely challenge your skills. Another highlight is the 24,000-square-foot clubhouse that has luxurious amenities, as well as a pro-golf shop and two restaurants. Keene’s Point sits along the shore of Lake Tibet Butler, giving residents easy access to the water. A collection of parks serves as the ideal place to unwind and take a breather, as well. You’ll be living right in Disneyland’s backyard, too, so you’ll likely see its nightly fireworks right from your home. If you’re buying a house here, expect to pay an average of around $1.1 million.
- Lake Nona — If you want to pursue an active lifestyle, Lake Nona is the gated community for you. Residents of this deluxe neighborhood benefit from free fitness classes, a bike-sharing program, and 44 miles of trails. Furthermore, it is home to the U.S. Tennis Association’s National Campus, where kids can receive free instruction from highly qualified coaches. One can’t mention this community without talking about its vaunted 18-hole golf course, designed by none other than Tom Fazio. Its clubhouse is equally noteworthy, having earned a spot on both Platinum Club® of the World and Platinum Club® of America. Buyers can choose from a broad selection of high-class homes, including cul-de-sac properties that offer the utmost privacy. Homes in the community list for around $560,000.
Ready to look at gated communities in Orlando?
A home in a gated community is a major investment, which is why you need an agent who specializes in this segment. Luckily, Frank Benevento has over 20 years of experience in luxury real estate, giving you access to the best exclusive villages in Orlando. He has sold over $35 million worth of properties and is the top agent by volume in Seminole County for 2020.
As proof of Frank’s excellent service, his past clients have given him nothing but glowing testimonials. Take a look at just some of them:
“Simply put, Frank is the best real estate agent I have worked with in my extensive history of buying and selling homes. He is easy to work with, professional, punctual, patient (especially with my kids), thorough, and timely in his communications. Coming from out of state on short notice, he made the showing, offer, and closing processes as stress-free as possible.”
— Heather B.
“Frank Benevento’s work ethic defines the term ‘professional.’ He sets a high bar for every other realtor. His personal integrity, commitment to each client’s success, and command of market dynamics make working with him a pleasure. Frank puts his excellent listening skills to work by establishing a true partnership with each client.”
— Dave F.