Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
DURBAN - Investing in a retirement village is a major life decision that requires extensive research and serious considerations. 

It’s important to remember that a retirement home, while possibly the last home you will invest in, is likely to be a place you reside in for decades so it has to meet all your specific needs.

Phil Barker, managing director of Renishaw Property Developments, said that the Renishaw Hills mature lifestyle development on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has been designed to put quality of life first.

“We analysed retirement development models internationally and locally to ensure we were providing residents with a holistic retirement investment that was financially accessible while also creating an inviting living space,” said Barker. 

If you are looking to invest in a retirement home, Renishaw Hills have outlined 8 pitfalls to avoid.
1. Location
A retirement estate might appear to have all the necessary facilities and amenities, but location is vitally important when investing in property. You will need to consider the proximity to medical facilities, retail centres, entertainment and transport networks. If you’re retiring to an inviting coastal space, you will enjoy constant visits from afar. 

2. Construction  
You need to look at the building materials and check that the construction companies and architects working on the retirement estate are all properly accredited. 

3. Levy Costs
When researching retirement estates, make sure you understand exactly what is included in the monthly levy because this is an ongoing cost that should make retirement living easier. Things to consider are maintenance and insurance costs, garden services, internet access, security, healthcare options and the use of estate facilities. 

4. Healthcare Services
When it comes to retirement, health has to be a consideration, even if you are in peak physical condition when you invest. Retirement estates may offer frail care services, have a frail care unit on site or have no healthcare facilities at all. 

5. Purchase Model
Currently the two main purchase models for retirement estates in South Africa are Sectional Title properties or Life Rights. With the Life Rights’ model, you are investing in a home for the remainder of your life, but essentially do not own the property. Sectional Title is the separate ownership of units in the development, with the undivided share of common property. 

6. Opportunities
When you retire, hobbies will take a more central role in your life so you need to ensure that your particular interests are catered for at the retirement estate. Check what facilities are available, the terms of use, whether there are any social clubs or community initiatives in the area, what sports or outdoor excursions are around. 

7. Home Configurations
When investing in a retirement estate, you have to consider long-term health restraints rather than your current abilities. This means elements such as the stairs and home layouts need to be carefully considered. Even a single step, gentle gradient or uneven flooring can create untold hassles later on.

8. Developer’s Background 
Find out everything you can about the estate developers so you’re assured are looking out for your best interests.