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Build or buy for old age?

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Many older folk are adapting their homes for the frail years.

Moving mom-in-law to a frail care retirement village made Mrs Mac and I realise we are also not as young as we used to be.

It made us think that maybe we need to start thinking about the future, even if moving to a retirement village may be something that will only come to fruition in 10 years’ time or more.

Last Sunday when driving to Stellenbosch, I suggested that Mrs Mac Google retirement villages so we could pop in to one that sounds amazing when you hear it advertised on the radio. When she started quoting prices and monthly levies I decided this is not something one can do quickly.

It could mean a whole different investment strategy for us, or certainly a massive lifestyle change to ensure we remain fit and healthy so we can keep working and not have to “retire” into a “retirement village” as the costs are high.

This led me to think it was time to invite an estate agent around for a chat to find out what our current residence is worth. I am pleased to report that the lady who came to see me with only four hours’ notice was extremely professional and knew about the building side of homes rather than just the selling pitch.

She assured me the “new generation” of agents are much more aware of the need for full disclosure from sellers, and that an inspection by an inspection company such as HouseCheck is the way to go.

She mailed me a valuation the next day, which burst my bubble a bit, but it has cemented the fact that at this point in time it is cheaper to buy than build. I could not rebuild our current home for what I could sell it for.

I mention the above two points to make everyone aware that you do need to do some serious planning for your future and retirement, especially as it appears we will all be living longer. It is important to consider whether you will move or adapt your home.

Our property pages last week in the main body of the newspaper carried a big write up about whether to buy or renovate.

Added to this, while estate agents may be aware of the importance of full disclosure by a seller is, I wonder if some of the new disruptors on the market who don’t use estate agents know this.

And now, to end with an apology: I have told you many times I am at the back of the queue when it comes to matters technical around computers. I recently discovered that my mailbox was full and that I might have missed emails over the past week. If anything has bounced back to you, please send again.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: Like us on Facebook



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