The popularity of living in gated or private communities has been rising in recent years. It used to be that gated communities were thought of as being only for the rich. But today they are becoming more and more popular with middle and upper middle class families. Security is usually given as the biggest reason for choosing to live in a gated community. Among the other reasons people are attracted to living in these communities are protecting property values and lifestyle. Many gated communities are
designed with amenities built around a particular lifestyle with golf courses, tennis, swimming pools or equestrian facilities. One of the newest gated communities in the Blowing Rock area is geared to the active outdoor lifestyle - miles of mountain hiking trails, trout streams, clay shooting, horseback riding.
In the mountains of North Carolina gated communities are usually located on some of the most desirable land in the area. Often set on ridge tops with beautiful mountain views, these gated communities were created through careful developer planning and are governed by POA rules which create an environment where home values hold up extremely well.
Aside from the gates or walls, the second most defining characteristic of gated or private communities is the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or Property Owners Association (POA). The POA is made up of all the owners of the development. The POA is responsible for collection of the association fees and making and enforcing the “rules” of the community. It is often also responsible for maintaining the public aspects of the community, such as streets, security, trails, water features and recreation facilities.
The rules set by the POA can vary a great deal, depending on the individual development. Typically the POA will have rules pertaining to upkeep and appearance of homes within the development, specifying the acceptable range of house design styles and the minimum acceptable sizes of the homes, the colors of paint on outside walls, types of exterior finishes, types of fencing, guidelines for landscaping, rules for storage of boats or recreational vehicles, rules for 'pets'.
Some gated communities or restricted subdivisions are more 'relaxed' than others. Some have a few basic rules, collect fees used primarily for snow removal and road maintenance and have no architectural review for new construction or for exterior remodeling. Other gated communities have extensive, specific rules.
Gated communities aren't for everyone. Certain types of gates do not operate well in our mountain "breezes" and in the blustery winter snow. If a property owner violates the restrictive covenants, it is up to the other property owners to take legal action to bring the violator into compliance. Before you buy in a community, have your attorney check the restrictive covenants of any subdivision, gated or not, to review the restrictions in that community and to determine how compliance will be enforced.
With strong protection of property values, increased security, less traffic and amenities for your specific lifestyle, gated communities offer an appeal to more people each year.
There are several gated communities in my market with various types of amenities. Contact me to receive information on these communities. Entry prices for building lots start in the $50K range for a gated community close to Boone or Blowing Rock and go to $100K – $500K. The less expensive lots are usually NOT mountain view lots or they are steep topo lots. Occasionally you will find a bargain lot less than $50K that has a decent topo in a gated community near Boone or Blowing Rock.
One of these gated communities is Arrowhead Subdivision, which is located about 4.5 miles from Main Street, Blowing Rock. On a scale of casual subdivision to highly restrictive gated communities Arrowhead falls in the middle of the class - reasonable restrictions about styles of homes while not being overly rule-obsessed.
One important restriction which Arrowhead property owners put on themselves is a restriction against vacation rentals. Some subdivisions permit short term vacation rentals and some do not. Arrowhead Property Owners chose to create a more permanent feel to their neighborhood by not allowing vacation rentals less than 30 days in length which makes their community feel less transient. If you are seeking a home which you want to rent out as a vacation rental make sure you check the restrictions for that neighborhood.
Arrowhead Subdivision is in excellent financial position due to conservative management by the POA over the years. The Arrowhead POA is well capitalized - this is a critical factor when assessing the strength of any subdivision or gated community - ask for the most recent financial statement when you are considering buying into a specific subdivision - look at the line items for the yearly budget and see what the POA has in reserve. Ask if the POA has the power to collect dues which are unpaid.