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Monday Nov 08, 2021

Tips on choosing where to retire

Deciding to move into a retirement village for your golden years is usually a big move. And even once you decide to take the plunge, other important choices follow.

Our experts offer the following advice on considering if living in a retirement village is suitable for you and choosing the right one.


You need to consider what you can afford, as the costs of senior living range drastically from entry-level to luxury, says Aview Properties's Gus van der Spek.

"Consider the level of independence you want – do you want to live in your own unit, in frail care or in a development with health-care facilities on site? Consider what level of community and the kind of lifestyle you want as well."

Another consideration is location, says Phil Barker of Renishaw Property Developments, and into this decision needs to be factored the ability of the local municipality to provide basic services.

"It is well worth seriously considering those lifestyle estates that are in control of services, especially water and waste removal," Barker says.

Once a location has been decided, you should visit a number of villages to assess their ability to provide basic services, as well as your top three needs – first-class security, affordable health care and a thriving community.

The next important consideration should be to establish who the developer is, says Rabie director Mariska Auret. It is crucial to purchase from a reputable developer with a proven track record in retirement developments. "Ensure that you do your homework in terms of what is available in your price range, not only the initial capital cost, but the monthly expenses.

"Factors such as enjoying 24/7 security, having access to primary health care, a clubhouse and other facilities are important. Being part of a community is one of the greatest benefits to a great retirement lifestyle."

John Webster of Widenham Retirement Village also believes checking the developer is the most important thing to do when considering retirement villages.

"What is their track record and how strong is the balance sheet? Check the contract and have a lawyer check it for you too. Are you represented on the body corporate or are you represented in the managing committees?"


Making your final choice is often difficult as the living units of many retirement villages are generally the same, he says. The difference, however, comes in what you do in the garden and what you do in the house.

"Choosing the right village is probably a more important decision than choosing the right type of house. Remember to downsize. Your children don't want all your heirlooms. If they do, give them to them now before you move into your retirement home."

Barker says downscaling is often a challenge, so advises you to critically assess your needs to ensure you don't over-capitalise.

"Choose accommodation options (and a climate) that promote outdoor living. If you don't love the show unit when you walk into it, walk away."

In addition to checking the developer's credentials, Van der Spek says you should find out about their pet policy – whether pets are allowed.

You should also find out what services and amenities are available on site and what level of medical care is available.
Auret also notes: "Your needs will change as you age, so choose carefully with your future in mind – not only your physical requirements but also your financial capabilities.

"What is your lifestyle and your ideal location? Are you close to your loved ones? Do you like to entertain? Is there a garden? Do you have a pet? Make sure that where you choose to move to supports and complements your lifestyle."


The benefits of this model, Van der Spek says, include:

No property transfer: This makes life-right living a more affordable option, as there are no transfer duties, no VAT and no bond registration fees involved.

No special levies: Life-right holders are far less likely to face hidden costs and special levies. Developers of a liferights village are required to produce a transparent statement declaring how levies will be calculated, as well as a two-year projection of what levies will be.

Developers have a vested interest in property value: The developers are committed to maintaining the conditions of the unit, the facilities and the village as, when the life right terminates, ownership reverts to them.

Extensive facilities: Living in a modern village with extensive on-site facilities and access to health care is of major benefit to retirees and relieves a lot of the stress that would be a part of living in a freehold property.

Resort-like living: Secure, communal living which provides all the advantages of homeownership without the hassles of repairs and upgrades, garden upkeep, insurance and home maintenance leaves a lot of free time for a stress-free retirement.

Sunday Tribune31 Oct 2021BONNY FOURIE


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