So, you’ve decided on the house type you want to have and have a general idea of where you want to live in the city or province. The next consideration you would like to think of now is where exactly you want the house to be situated. Would you prefer living alongside the main road, somewhere completely far from others, or having a place inside a gated community? If you’re thinking of choosing the last option but aren’t sure of your decision yet, here’s a list of the benefits of living in a subdivision. Understanding these aspects of living in a housing subdivision or gated community can hopefully help you narrow down your options when you go through the process of buying your dream house.
But first, what exactly is a subdivision?
By definition, a subdivision is a piece of land subdivided into smaller pieces of land, which is referred to as lots. Technically, subdivisions are primarily residential, although some can also be commercial. For housing subdivisions, they can be described as communities of homes. In the Philippines, more often than not, these subdivisions are gated and are referred to as gated communities.
Why live in a subdivision?
Safety and privacy
One of the main reasons people prefer living in a subdivision is the sense of security and privacy they can get. Living in a gated community, you won’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of living near the main road. The walls surrounding the community also offer protection from unauthorized people.
Residents and visitors would have to go through the subdivision’s gate(s), ensuring that those who can get inside live there or are authorized people. Subdivisions also come with their own security features. There are security guards stationed at the gates, while guards even go around the community for daily patrols for some subdivisions. Usually, residents are issued car stickers so that the security guards at the gate will be able to immediately identify an incoming vehicle as either a resident or a visitor. If the latter, a driver usually is being asked for a valid ID to be left at the guardhouse and, in return, shall be given a car pass after verifying the destination. Other subdivisions also have CCTV cameras and other security equipment on the walls of the subdivisions themselves.
Access to amenities
Well-developed subdivisions usually come with amenities for residents that they can easily access to make their living experience great. These can include swimming pools, parks/playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, gyms, chapels or churches, and community centers, among others. But, of course, the number and type of these amenities would depend on the developers, size, and homeowners of a given subdivision. This means that it’s expected that you’d find more amenities available in more expensive or bigger subdivisions.
Sense of community
Living with other residents within a gated community also means you’ll get to have some neighborly interaction (if you want to). Besides potentially encountering them when you step outside for a jog or when you use an amenity as mentioned above, you’d expect the homeowners association (HOA) of a subdivision to hold activities or events that you can attend. For example, some organize community trick-or-treats or Zumba sessions in a clubhouse, and of course, the community meeting,
Some usually allow homeowners to set up their small businesses within a subdivision. So, for example, you can get acquainted with your neighbor who owns a sari-sari store or become a regular at a carinderia on the other street. However, these establishments normally have to go through the application and approval of the HOA for some specific rules and regulations and limitations.
Having a house in a subdivision also means you get to live in an area with less pollution than living outside. You’re expected to follow a set of rules set by the HOA, which usually includes ensuring you live in a clean subdivision. For example, some subdivisions have an efficient garbage collection and disposal system, while others have rules that contribute to air pollution (ex., Burning trash). Some subdivisions also have clean-up drives or community cleaners that keep waste away from the streets.
What are some downsides?
Since you’ll have access to amenities and other benefits of living within a gated community, you would also have to pay additional fees. These association dues go on top of other monthly payments that you need to take care of, and depending on the subdivision you choose to live in, they can cost a lot. These fees typically go to the employees of the HOA (who take care of the management of the subdivision), amenities and parks maintenance, garbage collections, bills of the HOA office, security guard salaries, and others.
As mentioned, living in subdivisions also means that you have to abide by the common association rules. For some, this can include potential changes or upgrades that you’d want to work on in your house, such as the height of your home, fencing or size of a garage, vehicle parking, and sometimes even the paint that you use. While others are fine with this as it keeps the houses more uniform, these restrictions can be an annoyance to some.
Is living in a subdivision right for you?
At the end of the day, it all boils down to you and your preferences. Would the benefits be enough to outweigh the potential drawbacks? Or are the fees and restrictions too much for you? Since subdivisions in the Philippines have different developers and HOAs, the rules and amenities you can find also vary greatly, so it’s vital to conduct your research before zoning in on a house you want to buy.
Hopefully, this list of benefits and downsides can help you narrow down your options and lead you one step closer to purchasing your dream house!