Choosing a residential estate
The one that’s right for you26th Mar 2021
There are so many fabulous residential estates from which to choose that you can be forgiven for feeling a tad overwhelmed. But, don’t be intimidated by the cornucopia of choice. Many of them will suit your needs, but some may be just perfect for you. It’s worth doing your homework.
What are you buying when you buy into an estate?
Okay, obviously you are buying a home, so you will need to ensure that the home satisfies all your requirements for size, location, affordability, etc. But there is so much more to buying into an estate than just buying a home.
An estate is a community, and it comes with a load of fabulous opportunities and facilities – and some responsibilities and constraints. So, before you commit, do a sober cost-benefit analysis to ensure that you get all the bells and whistles you need, that you are not paying too much for things you don’t need, and that you are joining a community in which you will feel comfortable.
Most estates have some fabulous communal facilities, which may include things like:
- golf course
- fishing dam
- sports facilities like tennis, squash
- a gym
- a running track through natural areas
- access to the ocean or a river
- boat docks
- , etc., etc.
If you are a keen golfer or rider, you will probably have strong feelings about moving onto a golf or equestrian estate, but you may think that – if you don’t ride or play golf – these facilities are unlikely to affect you, except perhaps as scenery. Well, you may end up being surprised. Before you commit, check if there is any chance you may end up being expected to pay extra levies for golf course rehabilitation after a flood, or for some horsey-oriented expense that you can’t even begin to imagine.
And, also, check how accessible those facilities are. You may think that, while you don’t play golf, it would be nice to stroll on the golf course, perhaps with your children and cute little Yorkie. But that may not be permitted, so you could end up gazing at the golf course from your stoep, wishing you had moved into an estate with less golf and more walking trails. And, if you think that you will enjoy strolling up to the stables to pet the horses, and maybe feed them some carrots, you may find that this will not be encouraged.
So, if you like the look of the facilities, check that you will be able to use them as you fantasise – swim in the dam, fish in the river, ride a jet-ski in the marina or whatever.
Estate Living is all about community but, obviously, you can’t interview every existing resident to find out if you will like them. But you can look at the demographics. If you have young children, you may not want to move into an estate full of retirees (they’re not all in retirement estates) or ‘swallows’ who only live here for the summer, and then flit off to the northern hemisphere leaving the neighbourhood a tad Mary Celeste-like. On the other hand, if you work from home composing symphonies, or penning the great African novel, you may not want to move into an estate populated largely by young families with lots of joyfully noisy children.
Seriously, read the rules and regulations before you even consider signing. Will you be allowed to erect a JoJo tank? If you drive a Harley, find out what the deal is with your coming home at one in the morning. Will you be able to hold your Thursday night book club, which does – admittedly – get a little raucous? Can you smoke in the public areas outdoors? Is there a chance you will be subjected to your neighbours’ book clubs and/or outdoor cigarette smoking?
Do your research
You’re on the Estate Living platform, so you are already halfway towards doing all the research you need. Check out our estate reviews, download our app, and search our extensive archive of articles for the things that interest you, for example, fishing, eco-estates, wine or wildlife. You will find the perfect place if you do your homework.