Top Tips for Buying Property in a Residential Estate
The popularity of estates and other gated developments has grown enormously in the past 20 years, and it is estimated that there are now about 6 500 closed golf, wildlife, wine, equestrian and lifestyle communities in South Africa, containing approximately 350 000 homes.
1. Your lifestyle needs
Be sure to choose an estate that speaks to your lifestyle, or one to which you aspire, and which provides the school, sports facilities and security provisions that are important to you. If you want to watch wildlife from your verandah, for example, your first choice will probably not be a golf estate.
On the other hand, don't discount a clubhouse, restaurant or wellness spa that might add to your enjoyment of whichever estate you choose.
2. New versus established estates
If you can, pick an established, organised and operational estate. Most very new estates have teething problems and it is good if you can avoid these. If you can't, try to get involved in a positive way and help to ensure that the estate will be well-managed going forward.
3. Check out the HOA
Even if you are buying into a well-established estate, check to see that it has a strong Homeowners' Association (HOA), a track record of good management and good financials.
The absence of these can make a seemingly good investment lose value in a very short amount of time.
4. Check the rules
Check the rules of the estate carefully to make sure you will be able to live by them, even if you don't love all of them. Estates can only run well if everyone is on the same page.
5. What is the levy?
Find out what the monthly levy is and what it covers. Remember that you will have to pay your own municipal rates, homeowner's insurance and maintenance costs as well as the levy.
6. Buy sooner rather than later
Commit to a purchase as soon as possible. Estate property sells at a premium, but its value generally also increases faster, so even if you have to settle for a smaller property initially, you will be in the right market sector and able to "buy up" within this sector in due course.
If you leave it too late you may cut yourself out of the estate market for good.
Author: Property 24