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Choosing a home to suit your life stage

A homebuyer’s life stage will largely determine the type of property that will appeal to them and meet their requirements, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He says that this is due to the fact that a home is often a reflection of the owner’s lifestyle.

Goslett looks at the different property investment options available for each life stage.

While hitting the books

“The ideal residence for a student is a low-maintenance, lock-up-and-go unit, featuring a communal pool and/or entertainment area that enjoys proximity to their tertiary institution of choice. Sectional-title units that are located in secure complexes are particularly sought-after among students across the country. A property that is also close to other amenities such as shopping centres and entertainment areas is perfect for students with limited transport,” says Goslett.

He adds that in many cases universities will list off-campus accommodation on free property listings that are handed out to their students who cannot be accommodated on the premises

“Buying an apartment or home where the other rooms can be rented out to students, especially if parents have one or more children who study or intend to study at the same tertiary institution, can be a good long-term real estate investment,” says Goslett.

He advises students to consider the following affordable options:

·         Renting a garden cottage in someone’s back yard
·         Renting a room in someone’s home
·         Renting a room in a student commune
·         Renting an apartment

The up and coming

“This is the right time to start thinking about buying your first property. If possible a young executive should pay off their student loan as quickly as they can and start saving for a deposit. This will assist them in the bond approval process,” says Goslett. He adds that buying a property will certainly be one of the most important investment decisions a young executive will ever make, seeing that the market value and prospective price appreciation of one’s first property will have a financial impact on just how much one can spend on future real estate investments.

According to Goslett, due to the fast-paced lifestyle of the young and upcoming executive, an apartment, sectional or full-title unit in a 24-hour security complex or estate is ideal. “Young executives are very similar to students in terms of what meets their needs. Lock-up-and go units that require little maintenance and upkeep will also suit this stage of one’s life,” he says.

The newlyweds

The large majority of people tend to only purchase their first property once they are married or in a committed, long-term relationship. “While young couples’ lifestyle requirements may be similar to that of the young executive, in terms of their property criteria, however, they are slightly different in the sense that they may consider a property that can also serve as their future family home as they start to settle down,” explains Goslett. “Because property is a long term investment, and it is important to view property with future plans in mind.”

Types of properties to consider include:

  • Buy-to-renovate properties
  • A freestanding full-title home in a security estate or complex
  • A sectional-title unit in a security estate or complex

A happy family

“Buyers purchasing a family home are looking for stability because they usually have many responsibilities and commitments in this stage of their lives. The number of bedrooms and other features such as a swimming pool and size of the garden should play an important role in the decision-making process, while proximity to good schools and easy access to shopping, health and medical centres should also be taken into careful consideration,” says Goslett.

He says that buyers looking to purchase a family home mostly seek larger, freestanding full-title properties with features such as a swimming pool and entertainment areas.

The Golden Years

“Often retirees tend to downsize because a large family home no longer meets lifestyle requirements. The ideal property for a retiree is a smaller property which requires less maintenance and gives the retiree the freedom to lock-up-and-go at any time of the year for any given period of time. A smaller property is also more affordable and retirees can look forward to monthly cost savings on rates and taxes, utility bills, insurance and repair costs. Some retirees may have additional needs and many upmarket retirement villages offer 24-hour access to on-site frail or health care facilities,” notes Goslett.

He adds that retirees generally have three main options when purchasing a retirement property which are Sectional title, Share Block Scheme and Life Rights or Occupation Rights. Each option will have its respective benefits and should be considered carefully before the retiree makes their choice.

“Regardless of a homebuyer’s life stage, it is always important do the necessary research and purchase a home in the right location.  This is especially important for buyers who want to commit to a long-term real estate investment and see a good return on their investment when they decide to sell,” Goslett concludes.


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