6 things to consider before signing on the dotted line of your retirement property
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By Phil Barker
A RETIREMENT property is a major investment that requires significant consideration. And, while many put this off until later in life, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the various retirement options.
To make the process as simple as possible, here are six factors for every investor to think about before signing on the dotted line.
1. What does the levy include?
The first thing to ask about is the cost of the levy and what this will include. It’s worth comparing the levy amount against levies of nearby properties to ensure it’s in line with what’s expected. The levy should also cover several costs, so that the investor is not having to worry about additional monthly expenses on top of the levy. A great retirement property will charge a levy which is inclusive of security, health care, fibre optic wi-fi, building insurance, maintenance, use of communal facilities as well as various services such as garden refuse, postal and transport. It’s also worth asking about the likelihood of a special levy which could be required for upgrades and repairs – although in newly built retirement estates this is unlikely.
2. Is there home-based care?
Health care is a major component of retirement estates but the trend has shifted from frail-care centres to home-based health care. This allows residents to enjoy all the benefits of health care and support from the comfort of home. When looking at a retirement estate, it’s important to ensure they have quality health-care services, with home-based care a definite consideration. And this isn’t just for when a resident is ill. Home-based care encourages a healthy lifestyle and regular check-ups to prevent the onset of more severe conditions. It also gives residents the ability to remain independent while enjoying more customised health care. For those requiring rehabilitation, specialist assistance is available to speed up recovery and improve quality of life.
3. What are the opportunities for fitness?
Research shows that regular exercise keeps you young. A study by the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, analysed people over the age of 70 who exercised regularly for years. The scientists discovered that the participants’ hearts, lungs and muscles were in equivalent shape to those of people in their forties. Continued exercise in retirement years is vital to healthy living, which is why there should be facilities available for regular activities. Swimming pools, nature trails and a nearby beach ensure ample opportunity to maintain a high level of fitness.
4. What are the security features?
The levy costs should cover 24-hour security, but it’s worth asking what security features are afforded property owners. A top-end retirement estate will include aspects such as electrified perimeter fencing, hi-tech security cameras, 24-hour patrols, and a very quick reaction time. An established estate would have good working relations with law enforcement including community policing forums, security organisations and police, as well as the option of panic buttons. However, residents don’t want to feel like their imprisoned. The security measures must be as unobtrusive as possible to provide security without a feeling of restriction.
5. What is the fibre and wi-fi connectivity like?
Modern retirees are often working part-time – or even full-time – from home. This means access to high-speed internet through fibre optic connections. It’s important to check that the retirement estate offers quality wi-fi connectivity to the home for a convenient work-from-home option. And in terms of entertainment, with streaming services becoming a dominant feature for music, movies and shows, having uninterrupted internet connectivity is a must in the technological age.
6. Where is the property based?
The mantra “location, location, location” is everything when it comes to a retirement property investment. Nature-based living is certainly on the rise, with investors looking at elements like nearby nature reserves and indigenous gardens that encourage a healthy ecosystem, as well as expansive views. Other considerations should be proximity to retail, sports and health-care facilities.
Phil Barker is managing director, Renishaw Property Developments.