What they don’t tell you about living in a domain
A gated domain offers security, plus a range of appealing facilities to boost the holiday atmosphere. However, while there are some great benefits to buying a luxury villa in a domain, it’s important to get to grips with the reality of these urbanisations, so you can make an informed buying decision.
My take on the matter? Domains are a great option for many buyers, but there are a few factors that may not appeal to you personally. Here’s more information.
What Exactly is a Domain?
A domain is a purpose-built development; sometimes also referred to as a complex, urbanisation or private community. No two are alike, but generally speaking, you can expect a range of amenities within your domain; such as a club-house (with perhaps a café, a games area; that sort of thing), restaurants, a golf course, spa, communal pool or a gym. However, these don’t come for free. In return, you’ll be paying a service charge to cover expenses, and these costs are dependent on how prestigious the domain is. Think of it as a way to have everything you need on your doorstep, without having to venture beyond the gates.
What Are the Perks?
As well as having access to all the amenities, villa / apartment maintenance is usually on offer too, though this comes at an additional cost. That can be a real godsend if you’re not in the property much, as someone will pop in for you and check everything is in order. Sometimes cleaning is included, though it’s important to check before you buy. Other services are usually on offer too; such as car cleaning, gardening, pool cleaning and so on; and all communal areas are maintained as standard.
Security is another big draw, particularly for those with children, who appreciate the peace of mind that a domain can offer. In addition to being within a gated community, home-owners can benefit from other forms of security too – such as surveillance cameras and on-site security guards. This is ideal if you’re intending to lock up and leave the property for an extended period of time.
Are They More Expensive?
The luxury villas aren’t necessarily costlier than their counterparts outside the domain, though this depends on how exclusive they are. For example, if you wanted to buy a holiday home in La Zagaleta in Spain, you’d probably want to use its top of the range golf course, and membership comes with a hefty price-tag. Golf membership and service charges can drive the annual costs up dramatically depending on how prestigious the course is – but then if you’re looking for exclusivity, this is likely to be a worthwhile investment.
The service charges can really ramp costs up too, and as a rule, the more impressive the location / amenities, the more you’ll be paying. It’s a wise idea to keep tabs on charges, as these can be subject to change. The easiest way to do this is to stay in contact with the community and attend the AGMs.
What About Privacy?
Gated domains are often ideal if you’re looking for social interaction, as you’re a part of a community. This is particularly appealing to families with children; for obvious reasons. However, some luxury domains are designed with greater privacy in mind, and it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your lifestyle.
Any Other Options?
If you like the idea of having access to amenities, but don’t want to be a part of a gated community, you can always buy a luxury villa close-by. For example, if you want to use a resort’s golf course, you could invest in a property that’s just a short stroll away, then use the money you’ll save to buy a golf cart to drive to the course! You may laugh, but we’ve known buyers who have done exactly that. It’s a smart move, as prices are significantly less for properties outside, yet you’ll probably get a similar style of property, not to mention more spacious dimensions.
We’d always recommend visiting a domain before you commit to buy, as this gives you a solid idea as to whether it’s right for you. If possible, spend some time there. Test out the facilities, talk to other community members, and get a feel for the place. After you’ve visited, come back and discuss with us, and we’ll take on your feedback and come up with the best options, based on your preferences. We also recommend viewing other properties outside the domain too, so you can make a fair comparison.
Are you a fan of the domain lifestyle, or does it not appeal to you? Share your thoughts with us.
Managing Director and Founder