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Should you buy a home in a residential estate?

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When picturing a residential estate, the image that often comes to mind is one of lush greenery, wide-open spaces, happy families, children on bicycles, and perhaps a friendly Labrador trotting alongside. This idyllic vision is commonly promoted by residential estate developers and their marketers to potential buyers. But is this really the typical South African neighbourhood?

In reality, the decision to purchase property in a residential estate is nuanced and depends on various factors such as personal preferences, lifestyle needs, location, and financial means.

Lifestyle considerations

One of the primary attractions of residential estates is the lifestyle they offer. These estates are designed with ample open spaces and parks, encouraging outdoor activities and community interaction. Residential estates offer safe and beautiful spaces to enjoy the outdoors – without having to manage the maintenance and upkeep yourself.

Upmarket estates often feature amenities designed to foster a sense of community, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails. Activities like playing with the kids, having picnics with neighbours, and taking evening strolls are integral to the lifestyle promoted by these estates.

Safety and security

Safety is a fundamental human need, and many residential estates place significant emphasis on providing a secure environment. Features like access-controlled entry, perimeter fencing, and dedicated security guards are standard in many estates. It’s a basic human need to feel safe and secure, and many estates place key emphasis on offering just that.

Buyers are often willing to pay a premium for the enhanced security provided by these estates, viewing it as a worthwhile investment in their peace of mind.

Property values

The potential for property appreciation is another important consideration when buying a home. You want to ensure that any property you own is one that will appreciate in value over time. Properties in residential estates historically grow in value at a satisfactory year-on-year rate.

Before making a purchase, it is advisable to consult a trusted property advisor for a professional opinion on the growth potential of the property. This ensures that you are making a sound investment.

Keeping an open mind

While the benefits of residential estates are numerous, there are also factors that might not appeal to all buyers. Here some considerations that should be carefully evaluated before making a decision.

  • The neighbours: Everyone desires good neighbours, but it’s important to consider the demographic profile of the estate. For instance, a young family might not find a community predominantly occupied by retirees to be the best fit. Investigating the typical resident profile can help avoid potential mismatches.
  • Building and aesthetic restrictions: Residential estates often maintain visual uniformity through strict regulations on renovations and structural alterations. “Visual uniformity is usually a defining feature of residential estates, and a key part of maintaining the appeal and integrity of the place is ensuring things stay looking the same. Make sure you’re familiar with the rules around renovations and structural alterations to avoid disappointment at a later stage,” Engelbrecht advises.
  • Levies: Homeowners in residential estates are typically charged a monthly levy for the upkeep of communal areas. These levies can be substantial, so it’s important to budget for this additional expense. “Make sure to both budget for this expense as it can be quite hefty, and also make sure you know exactly how the amount is calculated,” Engelbrecht suggests.
  • General rules: Most estates have a set of rules or a code of conduct that residents must adhere to. These rules are intended to protect residents and promote a pleasant living environment. Understanding and accepting these rules is crucial before making a commitment.
  • Making the right decision: Deciding whether a residential estate is the right option for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences and financial capacity. A trusted property advisor can provide valuable guidance to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and expectations.

Found Your Dream Home?

If you have found your dream home, the next step is getting ready to buy it. Start by getting prequalified and applying for a home loan. This preparation can make the purchasing process smoother and more efficient.

In conclusion, residential estates in South Africa offer a range of benefits, from enhanced security and a community-focused lifestyle to potential property appreciation. However, it is essential to consider all aspects, including potential drawbacks, to ensure that the decision aligns with your lifestyle needs and financial situation. By doing thorough research and consulting with a property advisor, you can make an informed decision that best suits your preferences and long-term goals.

Original Article: https://www.myproperty.co.za/news/market-and-opinion/should-you-buy-a-home-in-a-residential-estate-03-06-24

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