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Matters for consideration when preparing to purchase into a retirement village

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  • Have you consulted available guides to retirement villages?
    • Few are available in South Africa, however the availability of Google Search provides ample info on villages in a particular area.
    • is a service with a fairly comprehensive directory as a place to start looking.
  • Are you looking for a Retirement Village with a range of services?
  • A normal residential estate with security?
  • A Lifestyle Estate with a range of amenities and services?
  • What are YOUR Specific requirements?
  • Consider the location of your children and close friends
  • Consider the proximity of specific services important to you
  • What forms of occupation would you consider?
    • Life Right (Life Lease)
    • Freehold ownership or
    • Sectional Title ownership
    • Short or long-term Rental/Lease
  • Do you have a preference for a type of physical structure? (cottage, apartment, etc)
  • Do you want flexibility of care provision?
  • What monthly levy costs can you afford? Do you have a current budget that you can use to see how it will be affected?
  • Do you want to have care in your own home available?
  • What other services must or should be available?
  • Are you aware of the risks of buying into a phased or mixed-use development?
  • What level of escalation in levy costs can you cope with annually?


  • Be sure that a sales mandate is in place between the seller (the developer if it is a new estate) and the sales agent.
  • Ask whether there is price flexibility/negotiability and what is flexible in terms of the property being built for you or sold to you if it is new.
  • Clarify the snagging process (resolution of defects in new buildings)
  • Ensure that the NHBRC warranty is in place (if applicable)
  • As for the constitution/s and legal structure of the village – this includes the management and conduct rules
  • Ask for the minutes of last 3 Trustee meetings and the last AGM of the Association/s or Body Corporate
  • Clarify the village debt/financial situation – this should be part of the last AGM documentation, but if you are unsure, ask someone to take you through them.
  • Ask what the Levy Stabilisation mechanisms are (how are financial reserves built up by the village?)
  • If important to you, enquire regarding the
    • Age profile of residents
    • Gender profile of residents
    • Health profile of residents
  • Ask about the activity levels of the village (including social responsibility etc)
  • Does the village comply with the terms of the Housing Development Schemes for Retired Persons Act 65 of 1988? Is the title deed endorsed as per the Act?
  • Review the Conduct rules and make sure they are acceptable to you
    • Pets
    • Visitors
  • How much downsizing will you have to do to fit into your new home?


  • Ask for introductions to your new neighbours by your agent or by the Estate Manager.
  • Is the village pet friendly?
  • Does the village have and enforce architectural guidelines?
  • Does the village enforce their conduct rules?
  • Are there speed limits in the village?
  • Are short-term leases allowed in the village? Are AirBnB and other very short-term rental services allowed in the village?
  • Are visitors allowed to stay overnight or for extended periods?
  • Are residents allowed to trade (business operations) from their units? (Working from home as opposed to trading from the unit where customers are coming and going)
  • Which social activities will you get involved in?
    • Gardens
    • Library
    • Sports
    • Bar
    • Workshop
    • Bridge Club
    • Community activities (social responsibility)


  • Do you have agreement on what “retirement” means to each of you?
  • Have you recently stopped working? How will you adapt to the new realities?
  • Have you given yourselves a month or two to settle down and adapt or are you rushing decisions regarding retirement living choices?
  • Have you ever lived together 24/7?
  • How good is your general communication?
  • Have you drawn up and agreed on common and separate bucket lists?
  • Are your financial matters in order?
  • Do you both understand the “retirement” budget?
  • Are you going to be living off a fixed income?
  • Have you considered what exciting, fun things you will pursue?
  • Which roles will be shared and who does what?
  • What do your children expect from you and you from your children?
  • Are your legal matters in order? Estate planning? Last Wills and Testaments Do you have a Living Will or clear instructions from you regarding end of life?


  • What are you planning to do about your physical health?
  • What are you planning to do about your Mental health?
  • What are you planning to do about your Spiritual health?
  • What hobbies will you be pursuing?
  • Are you able to cope on your own?
  • Have you considered an adult learning programmes?
  • Do you intend to do part-time or full-time work during your retirement?
  • Have you considered volunteering with an NGO / Charity?
  • Do you have a “big project” to keep you busy (like writing a book or getting that Diploma?)

To read more about the services provided by Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd, click here.