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Buy a home now that will be suitable for your old age, say the experts

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Retirees will need to be close to a grocery shop and possibly also close to relatives or friends.

South Africans who opt to buy property in their younger years and then live in that home when they retire need to consider some important factors. Although everyone hopes for a healthy retirement, it is always better to provide for the worst so that you are not left in a compromising position if disaster should strike, says Remax’s Adrian Goslett.

“Everyone’s body deteriorates with age, so you’ll want to avoid properties with multiple storeys or properties with steps between levels in case your mobility is hindered. For the same reason, you will also want to avoid properties that have baths and no showers.”

He recommends buying a property that is close to a hospital covered by your medical aid. “It’s no use being five minutes away from a hospital that you would never want to be admitted to.”

Location has a big role to play as retirees will need to be close to a grocery shop and possibly also close to relatives or friends. Retirees want to find a neighbourhood that offers safety and security.

“You might want to avoid areas that are still developing unless you know what the proposed plans are for the vacant land nearby,” Goslett warns. Another point to consider is that moving comes with a host of its own costs that retirees would ideally like to avoid when living on a retirement fund, not to mention the physical and mental strain a move can cause.

“Buyers would therefore do well to purchase and relocate to a property that can be suitable for their retirement before they actually retire.” For buyers wanting investment properties, with the aim of selling them or using their rental income to fund their retirement, Just Property Invest’s Minette du Plessis recommends doing a comparative marketing analysis. “The right area is important in terms of growth and rental potential. Amenities play a big part too. Make sure there are malls and schools close by, and easy access to major roads. Security is another important consideration. 

“On a weekly basis we are seeing clients who are looking for investment vehicles alternative to retirement annuity funds. They realise they won’t have nearly enough to survive when they retire and want to invest in property.” Ian Badenhorst, managing director for Seeff Country, says more affordable small towns along the coast, such as in the Southern Cape, are seeing increased demand for holiday and retirement homes.

With little commercialisation and traffic, yet being close to bigger centres for medical, shopping and other conveniences, villages such as Kleinbaai, Cape Agulhas, Witsand, Jongensfontein and Gouritsmond are now “ideal choices”. “The weather is also excellent with plenty of sunshine and a healthy lifestyle which is appealing for holiday and retirement buyers.” Badenhorst says Lightstone data shows that 50% to 70% of buyers in these villages are above the age of 50.

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