Choose the correct retirement home
(Adapted from the Beeld supplement 19 November 2010)

You’ve worked your whole life to get what you have now. Now you have to make difficult decisions about your future (which lies ahead). The advantage is that the right choice influences the rest of your life. Look before you leap. Many retired people step into a trap due to not doing their homework when planning to buy their retirement home. This is after they have been looking forward to retirement their whole working careers.

Obtain assistance from your family as well as your financial and legal advisors before you go ahead with a contractual agreement that will bind you. The following guidelines can assist you to compile a series of questions in order to take an informed decision on your retirement possibilities:

• Do you want to buy on sectional title, life right or do you want to rent? Sectional Titel
Keep in mind that a rental contract can be terminated that will leave you without a roof over your head. Long term rental can become quite expensive

• In which area would you like to live in? Walk to all amenities Remember that the selling price is always higher in more affluent areas. Make sure that your retirement center is close to a shopping center.

• What is your price range that you are looking at? From R 489,900- Make sure that you can pay in cash for your property of choice, but ensure that you have enough money left over for your medical aid (hospital fees) and for your levy.

• What are the payment requisites? On registration Payment is usually due with occupation.

• Do you prefer a loose standing unit, simplex, duplex or a unit in a tower block? 3 Floors with lifts. Be careful of loose standing units if you are afraid of isolation. Duplexes’ stairs can be a problem and tower blocks usually have smaller rooms.

• Do you choose a unit with one, two or three bedrooms? 1 or 2 bed options Reflect on whether you need more than one bedroom.

• Is there a clinic or a full-time nursing facility available? Emergency bed and 24 hour medical service Emergency and full-time assistance (frail care) in the complex is very important even though one might be in good health when you buy.

• Do meals get served daily? Yes For how long will you be able to prepare your own meals and sustain yourself?

• How much is the levy and what does it cover? R 1,750- service levy Obtain a list with services and tariffs and check what services are included in the tariff.

• Get a copy of the latest balance statement and any other financial statements. Study the expenses and profits. New body corporate

• Is there a reliable, electronic security system? Yes, panic button and reaction service Is the terrain fenced in with 24 hour reaction between the units and the security company? Confirm that there are enough parking spaces in the area.

• Who manages the Home Owners Association (HOA) and what do their services entail?
Is the Board of Trustees or HOA responsible and trustworthy? To be appointed

• To what extend does the owners have a say in the decisions taken by the Board of Trustees or HOA? 100% owner control Do the owners have at least 50% representation on the committee? Are they involved in decision-making or can they only recommend.

• Is there a shopping centre in the area? Yes 2 Even though there is transport available, it might be only once or twice per week to the shopping mall and other amenities. Medical facilities and banks should also be within easy reach.

• Is the developer/controlling body financially healthy? New development Ask for a copy of the purchase contract, as well as all other relevant documentation you will have to sign and study thoroughly.

Having read this you are now better prepared to make the right choice as to where you want to spend your golden years.