Recent trends have shown that home buyers are leaning towards purchasing homes in gated developments and estates.
There are an estimated 6,500 closed lifestyle communities in South Africa at the moment, containing about 350,000 homes and these numbers are constantly rising. These homes are usually 3 times more expensive than a free-standing home, so home buyers often pay higher premiums per month, which doesn’t seem to bother them considering what they are paying for.
However, buying in an estate is not the same as buying a home. Here are a few tips to consider.
No.1 – Lifestyle
When you buy a home in an estate you are investing in a lifestyle. Obviously, it is important that you choose an estate that suits your lifestyle.
It should also provide the necessary school, sports and security provisions that are important to you.
It is futile to buy a home in a golf estate if you want to wake up to watch wildlife!
Having said that, you should not underestimate or discount things like clubhouses, restaurant or wellness spa that might contribute to the enjoyment of the estate.
No.2 – Management
If you are in a position to do so, try picking an estate that is already established, organized and fully operational.
New estates often have teething problems that need to be sorted out before it can be totally functional. This is not how you want to start your new journey after buying a home.
If you are unable to purchase or find an established estate and you are investing in a new estate, try being as involved as possible. Ensure that you contribute in a positive way so that you can make sure that the estate is going forward instead of degrading.
No.3 – Home Owners Association
Buying in a well-maintained and established estate does not automatically mean that the management thereof is always 100% perfect.
It is always a good idea to check out the Home Owners Association (HOA). It should be a fairly strong board and it should have an excellent track record. Their financial should also be immaculate and transparent.
The absence of all these factors could make you change your mind and a good investment might lose its value faster than you might think.
Remember, this is the body that will make decisions in the estate that will affect your lifestyle.
No.4 – Rules
When buying a home in an estate, there are going to be rules which you will have to adhere to. It is not like a house where you are the only person living on the property; there are neighbors pretty close to you and you need to take them into consideration as well.
Make sure that you know what the rules of the estate are before you invest in the estate. You need to be willing to follow these rules, even if you don’t like all of them.
An estate can only function properly if you are on the same page as everyone else.
No.5 – Levies
Find out what the monthly levy is and what it is going to cover. Remember that you are going to have to pay your own municipal rates, homeowner’s insurance, and maintenance costs as well as your estate levies.
No.6 – Timing
Commit to a purchase as soon as possible. Estate property sells at a premium price, but the value increases quite quickly as well, which is why waiting for the right price might be a futile exercise.
Even if you purchase a unit on a smaller property, you will already have a foot in the door of the right market.
In due time, you can ‘buy up’. If you leave it for too long to decide, you might lose out.