7 questions retirees should ask before investing in estate apartments

The trend of retiring to the coast will likely continue into 2024, with secure estates still attracting a lot of interest. Picture: Supplied.

The trend of retiring to the coast will likely continue into 2024, with secure estates still attracting a lot of interest. Picture: Supplied.

Published Dec 17, 2023


By: Jonathan Acutt

The trend of retiring to the coast will likely continue into 2024, with secure estates still attracting a lot of interest. Within these, retirees will have to consider exactly which type of home style is best suited to them, from free-standing and maisonette to apartment living.

We’ve noticed that a lot of retirees, who are already downsizing, are quite keen on the hassle-free, cost-effective lifestyle that comes with apartments. These are also great from an investment viewpoint as apartments are easy to rent out because of the growing demand for more simplistic living. We advise that retirees consider certain factors when they’re investing in an estate-based apartment to ensure they’re getting the golden years.

1. How many rooms?

If a one-bedroom is the budget limit, that’s fine, but investing in an apartment with at least two bedrooms does make more sense for retirees. The additional room is great for visiting family, particularly for those living on the coast where holiday accommodation is in high demand. This can also be used as an office for semi-retirees and also makes an apartment that much more attractive for potential renters. An additional bathroom, too, will add a lot of value to the unit. It’s well worth comparing prices in estates to find where the best deal in apartment living can be found.

2. What is the layout?

One of the biggest considerations for retirees investing in apartments is whether or not there are stairs. If the apartment is on different floors, there should be an elevator that is powered even when it’s load-shedding. Ideally, retirees should be looking at apartments that are on the ground floor so they don’t have to contend with accessibility issues later on.

3. Is there undercover parking?

Apartments don’t necessarily come with garages and undercover parking, but considering the unprecedented weather that’s only likely to increase in extremity, it’s worth having some kind of parking cover. First-prize is a garage, which can also be used for some storage, but the apartment should come with some form of undercover parking regardless of where it’s located.

4. Is there a view?

Just because an apartment is located on the ground floor, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a view. Those retiring into secure estates are often looking for a relaxed lifestyle in nature, and this should mean sitting from the apartment and taking in those ocean, forest, or mountain views! This is important for mental well-being and also gives more sense of space.

5. Is it secure?

Security is key for all South Africans, particularly those who are in their retirement years. An apartment in a secure estate shouldn’t necessarily require any additional burglar bars or private security, as long as the estate itself is completely secure. It’s important to check whether there is 24-hour security, access control, surveillance systems, and patrols.

6. Who attends to the maintenance?

One of the joys of downsizing is not having to worry about the upkeep of a large property. This becomes even more true in those retirement years. It’s worth checking whether the levies cover building and common property maintenance, as well as landscaping if there is a garden area attached. This is time for rest, not tiring cleaning and DIY.

7. Do we have access to facilities?

Finally, investors must confirm whether the apartment residents enjoy access to all the estate facilities and amenities. For retirees, healthcare facilities are a priority, but keeping active and engaged through sports, clubs, and social events is vital for overall well-being. Apartment residents should have access to all these facilities.

* Acutt is the MD of Acutts Real Estate and the head of marketing and Sales at Renishaw Hills.