Best property choices for seniors

Berry Everitt
MD - Chas Everitt

But then what? Should you rent or buy again? And if you buy, what type of home should it be?

Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, says the advantages of renting - especially if you choose an apartment or sectional title townhouse - are less responsibility for home maintenance, generally good security, more freedom to lock-up-and-go, and avoidance of the extra costs associated with home buying and ownership, such as transfer duty and bond registration costs, insurance and rates and taxes.

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says renting for a while is probably also a good idea if you are "between homes", that is, not sure where you want to settle in retirement.

"However, there are also disadvantages - the big one being the uncertainty about how much rentals will rise in future, and how you will continue to make these monthly payments, especially if you're on a fixed income that is being steadily eroded by inflation.

"If you have children, you may also worry that renting is just eating up their inheritance."

So, says Everitt, a better option for many people is to buy a sectional title unit in a secure complex, especially if you can use the proceeds of your home sale and buy the unit outright.

"In such complexes, there is a monthly levy to pay, but it gives you much the same freedom from maintenance chores as rent - and you have an appreciating asset to show for your trouble."

Looking ahead, however, you may wish to combine your current residence with planning for possible health-care needs in the future, in which case you should be looking to buy a home in a retirement village with its own assisted-living and frailcare facilities.

"Here, too, you will be paying a monthly levy but the trade-off will not only be in home and garden maintenance but in peace of mind about what will happen to you if you become ill or too frail to manage your own home.

"Well run retirement complexes will usually also have a levy stabilisation fund to help keep a lid on future increases - and once again, you will have an asset to leave to your heirs."
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