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Retirees Shouldn’t Delay If The Retirement Plan Includes Downscaling

The economic climate has been tough for a while now, and many of those who have been considering selling to downscale have possibly been holding out until things “get a lot better”, but this is not always the right train of thought, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Residential SA.

“All the basic factors that drive the property market remain the same, whether it’s a good economic climate or bad, if you sell at a high price it is likely you will be buying at a high price and vice versa,” she said.

All the basic drivers of the property market such as the need for families to move to areas with good schools, be near a university or college, have extra space to work from home or to accommodate an extra member of the family or to downscale or move to an estate that has the facilities needed, all continue to be present and all that happens in an economic slump is that some of the demand becomes pent up or less satisfied for a period of time.

While properties at the higher end of the price scale tend to take longer to sell at present, there are still homes that do sell quickly or in a reasonable amount of time, and the market in the R1 to R4 million bracket is showing positive activity from both buyers and sellers.

“There are some properties that sell almost immediately, particularly when priced correctly, and if they’re in high-demand areas because of the schools, such as Rondebosch,” she said. “There are certain areas, such as Constantia, where homes in the R4 to R6 million price bracket are in demand and the stock available that is priced correctly is also selling fairly quickly.”

Waiting until the perfect time to sell your current home, with a view to downscaling, will in all likelihood mean that you pay more for the home you’re retiring to.

“In my opinion, the right approach if you know you will be retiring soon, is to sell as soon as the decision is made and buy in a retirement village so that is the final sale and purchase of your life. The retirement village should have all the facilities you might need as you get older, so that the need to move again will not be necessary.”

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