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  1. #1
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    Default Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    So I'm a few years from retirement and want to relocate to the Garden Route. Yes for those of you looking up and right, I want to jump early.

    I've only ever lived in freestanding houses. In fact I've only ever owned one house for the last 30 years. I've always done my own home maintenance and some renovation, and I've always fixed my own cars and bikes in the garage. I've never been much of a gardener but that's on my plate too.

    Now looking for the next place- do I upgrade to something bigger, because property is cheaper there and I can, or do I downgrade to a townhouse and sit and drink on the deck watching other people push mowers around? I've never lived in a townhouse or any type of estate but have experience of flat ownership as a landlord. It's not a life I would be able to tolerate. The wife has done houses and townhouses and prefers the latter.

    My concerns are if I upgrade I'm taking on a huge workload and while I'm still strong now I don't like moving and it might become too much later. If I downgrade to something easy I'm going to have to figure out the car thing. I don't see the point of downgrading the house if I then have to rent an industrial unit somewhere else to store my cars and work on them. I'm not big on sitting still.

    Who has been faced with a similar thing and what did you do and what would you do if you had to do it again?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Where in the Garden-Route are you thinking of relocating to?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    best of both, freestanding house with small/low maintenance garden.

    Whenever I talk to people living in complexes I'm reminded why I dont live in one and why I never want to.
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    I lived in a garden flat in Bronkhorstspruit and told SWAMBO when the kids move, I want to do what that old man did.

    He had two garden flats on the property. I lived in one, he lived in the other and rented out the house. That was his pension. Might be the best of both worlds...
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Raider, looking at Knysna. Either up on the hill with views or down on the water.

    Nitebob, no thanks. Maybe Airbnb but I don't want tenants on my property. I have rental units with agents managing them so I'm sorted for the income
    Last edited by Hagu13; 2021/05/11 at 02:45 PM.
    Rob
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  7. #6
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Freestanding..The levy monies you would have paid on a complex can go to a garden service etc

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Small free standing house on a big yard. Build yourself a lekker big garage / workshop which can be converted in to flats should the day come when you no longer want to work on your cars.
    Pave most of the remaining area and just leave yourself a little piece of lawn and garden.
    "The problems we have today is because the guys who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." - Magnus Heystek

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    My 1st property was a small duplex flat = never again. No privacy.No private yard. Neighbors above,below,left and right.Levies.Rules. Big no.

    2nd property was a Townhouse in a small complex = not again. Same as above. Big no.

    3rd and 4th(current property) was/is a house with a nice big & private yard = Big YES. None of the problems as mentioned above.

    I'm staying in my house until I die or unable to care for myself then I'll have to move into a retirement village .

    My father again moved into a retirement village(at age 66) and love it.

    Different strokes for different folks.
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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    At the grand old age of 48 I was in a position to purchase what I would like to see as my last home - till retirement village time.

    My initial approach was downsize and downsize, the biggest hurdle that hit me however was value for money, the price bracket of decent downsize properties is oversubscribed and you need to be prepared to pay a premium. However moving up in bracket and away from the popular school, shopping areas, that we don't need anymore (kids have their own cars) is where I found what I see as perfect, comfortable living area, manageable space and comparatively safe and secure.
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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Get what you have now or similar, in time as you get older and more stuffed you can downscale or change. You still have all your stuff unless you going to make a huge change re: furniture, lifestyle etc. which you won't like. I retired at 58, best move I ever made.
    Last edited by pwgg; 2021/05/11 at 04:16 PM.
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  16. #11
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    I have been in a position to deal with a number of old people that are at the end of their independent life in the last 5 years or so. The majority of them were still living in the big homes where they raised their children. The majority of them intended to move to an old age home when the time came and even went and had a look at a number of them. Then were just not ready to make the leap.

    It's heartbreaking to see the emotional toll it takes on people when they wrestle with the fact that they are no longer strong enough to maintain the lifestyle they have led for most of their lives. The emotional journey takes so long that by the time they come to a point of acceptance and acknowledge that they need a smaller property or retirement facility/ old age home the property has become so neglected that it has depreciated in value significantly. The amount of work needed will push away the average buyer and the old person is not really in a position any more to deal with the contractors needed to correct. It seems to reach a point where they can't keep up and just sort of give up. One old lady told me flat out that her children can deal with cleaning out the house after she is dead because she couldn't even face going through her posessions to start the downscaling process.

    I personally will want to prepare for that time when I'm more vulnerable to decision making. I think taking a property with a massive yard would be a disastrous decision. It will be neglected when you no longer have the ability to oversee the work needing to be done. Because, yes, you will reach that point. Whether at 70, 80 or 90. I would go lock up and go. While you still have energy you would want to travel anyway and once you don't want to you aren't able to look after a big property with lots of maintenance. Lock up and go makes it easy to go away regularly while you can. It will be cheap to maintain as money is always a concern for those on pension, and the energy you do have can go towards something more meaningful than maintenance.

    The other trend I noticed especially with old men, is that because their identity as men is so intertwined with being strong and capable, it's extremely hard for them to acknowledge when certain tasks become too much and they don't obtain the help they need to get stuff done. This puts a strain on their bodies, emotions and joy in life.

    In addition, after living in the house for the next 20 plus years, the interior is outdated for any future buyers which means appliances need to be replaced, carpets are time capsules etc. These are all things to take into consideration. You can do stuff when you are young and bored, but when you are old and change is extremely hard, it's a whole different ball game.

    Some retirement facilities offer proper houses with access to gardeners, a nurse etc. that allows you as much dependence or assistance as you require. I think these are amazing as they allow to work in your garden when you are feeling strong. But you have access to someone to help cut tree branches or even do all of the gardening on those days you are not able to. You move from your house to the frail care section and personally I think with your community around you it's less traumatic as you age.

    This is a tricky decision with lots to take into consideration. I guess you need to decide whether this will be your final property or not. And be aware that your cold and logical decision now may be overruled by your more emotional self down the line.

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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Some assumptions from me but what pressing need to you feel to move away from the Cape and Melkbosstrand? I gather you have been there for some time and that your wife and probably yourself have some old friends there. As one gets older there is great comfort living, shopping and socializing in familiar surroundings.

    Although the garden route might seem like the land of milk and honey this is not necessarily the case. The need to move to a strange and relatively unknown environment would be the very first thing I would question.
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  20. #13
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Hagu13 View Post
    So I'm a few years from retirement and want to relocate to the Garden Route. Yes for those of you looking up and right, I want to jump early.

    I've only ever lived in freestanding houses. In fact I've only ever owned one house for the last 30 years. I've always done my own home maintenance and some renovation, and I've always fixed my own cars and bikes in the garage. I've never been much of a gardener but that's on my plate too.

    Now looking for the next place- do I upgrade to something bigger, because property is cheaper there and I can, or do I downgrade to a townhouse and sit and drink on the deck watching other people push mowers around? I've never lived in a townhouse or any type of estate but have experience of flat ownership as a landlord. It's not a life I would be able to tolerate. The wife has done houses and townhouses and prefers the latter.

    My concerns are if I upgrade I'm taking on a huge workload and while I'm still strong now I don't like moving and it might become too much later. If I downgrade to something easy I'm going to have to figure out the car thing. I don't see the point of downgrading the house if I then have to rent an industrial unit somewhere else to store my cars and work on them. I'm not big on sitting still.

    Who has been faced with a similar thing and what did you do and what would you do if you had to do it again?
    My dad is like you. Forever tinkering in his garage, doing home maintenance ect ect.

    He is retiring a the end of the year. He has toyed with the idea of moving into a smaller place, but I know he will go mad after a while.

    In our town, complexes have become retirement villages. So many rules. No kids on bikes. No kids playing in the complex. No pets. No music. No skating. No this. No that.
    We had the option to buy in complexes years ago, but I held out, because complex living is only for certain people.

    I would maybe look for a smaller freestanding place where you could still do what you do now, but will allow you to scale down without sacrificing too much when the time comes.
    My ryding: 'n Ding met 4 rubber sirkels en n enjin wat nou en dan aangedryf word met al 4 sirkels

  21. #14
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    The above hold a lot of truth in it but it will depend on the person involved and nobody else can decide on the subject. My mil is currntly going for 89 and she still live on her own in her house in Rhebok between Kleinbrak and Grootbrak and you must see her garden, the envy of all the neighbours all on her own and she say she will die if she can not do her gardening. Still drives on her own over the mountain to the farm at Calitzdorp to visit the sons. The house gets painted and attended to every few years so it is still looking very good. So dicide what you want to do and do it. You are in the same boat as you want to keep your hands busy get a house you can afford and handle by yourself and enjoy fiddling in the garage.
    Goog Luck


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  22. #15
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Hagu13 View Post
    So I'm a few years from retirement and want to relocate to the Garden Route. Yes for those of you looking up and right, I want to jump early.

    I've only ever lived in freestanding houses. In fact I've only ever owned one house for the last 30 years. I've always done my own home maintenance and some renovation, and I've always fixed my own cars and bikes in the garage. I've never been much of a gardener but that's on my plate too.

    Now looking for the next place- do I upgrade to something bigger, because property is cheaper there and I can, or do I downgrade to a townhouse and sit and drink on the deck watching other people push mowers around? I've never lived in a townhouse or any type of estate but have experience of flat ownership as a landlord. It's not a life I would be able to tolerate. The wife has done houses and townhouses and prefers the latter.

    My concerns are if I upgrade I'm taking on a huge workload and while I'm still strong now I don't like moving and it might become too much later. If I downgrade to something easy I'm going to have to figure out the car thing. I don't see the point of downgrading the house if I then have to rent an industrial unit somewhere else to store my cars and work on them. I'm not big on sitting still.

    Who has been faced with a similar thing and what did you do and what would you do if you had to do it again?
    Same age, same position, same location (nearly) for retirement. We thought hard about what to do: buy or build a place, size etc.

    Here's what we will do: build a house (2 bed, 2 bath, small office) single story, just big enough to a) live nicely, b) keep it in shape, i.e. clean and maintain it, c) comfortably house the occassional guests; and d) to make it interesting for potential buyers later on.

    It will have a big (64sq) garage for the cars and bikes and tools etc., a small easy to keep garden, doors and everything just wide enough to get everywhere with a wheelchair.

    When we cannot support ourserlves anymore later in life sell the house and buy into retirement place with frail care etc. (we have a lovely place just 400m away from us and some others within the vicinity), so it will be easy to move later on whilst staying in the same area (mentally easier to move when older, friends can still come and visit etc.).

    We found and bought the perfect stand for our plan 10 years ago, and not to soon we will hopefully be able to retire and start with bulding the house.

    Take your time and don't rush it, hope you will find the right place.
    Last edited by Andreas W; 2021/05/11 at 05:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Some assumptions from me but what pressing need to you feel to move away from the Cape and Melkbosstrand? I gather you have been there for some time and that your wife and probably yourself have some old friends there. As one gets older there is great comfort living, shopping and socializing in familiar surroundings.

    Although the garden route might seem like the land of milk and honey this is not necessarily the case. The need to move to a strange and relatively unknown environment would be the very first thing I would question.
    Yes I know of 2 prominent Couples who moved to Knysna from JHB >> one to Belvedere Estate and the othr to East Head >. Beautiful Properties >. 5 years both were in Cape Town on the Atlantic Seaboard >. If you are going to Knysna then I would go the other side to Brenton on Sea but then thats not the place to have a garden full of Half built cars lying about >> Neighbours wont allow that

  24. #17
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Some assumptions from me but what pressing need to you feel to move away from the Cape and Melkbosstrand? I gather you have been there for some time and that your wife and probably yourself have some old friends there. As one gets older there is great comfort living, shopping and socializing in familiar surroundings.

    Although the garden route might seem like the land of milk and honey this is not necessarily the case. The need to move to a strange and relatively unknown environment would be the very first thing I would question.
    I have an investment property in Knysna and I had it on Airbnb for a few years and used it as my holiday home in off season. I now have a long term tenant but still make several trips a year up there. We are making friends in the town and scouting out properties quite a lot on the web and in person. We have a local pub where they know us. We have a boat and use it on the estuary. So it's not a total unknown.
    Nothing is driving me away from Melkbos as such. I'm just bored as I've lived my entire adult life here. As lovely as it is here I don't surf or fish so I won't be missing anything with a move. Friends yes but it's a short drive to visit either way. It's more that Knysna is drawing me. I moved to Melkbos to be close to work and when I stop working I don't need to be here.
    Rob
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  26. #18
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Betts View Post
    Yes I know of 2 prominent Couples who moved to Knysna from JHB >> one to Belvedere Estate and the othr to East Head >. Beautiful Properties >. 5 years both were in Cape Town on the Atlantic Seaboard >. If you are going to Knysna then I would go the other side to Brenton on Sea but then thats not the place to have a garden full of Half built cars lying about >> Neighbours wont allow that
    Those areas are very inconvenient though. 15 minute drive to get a bottle of milk. And a huuuge change of pace from JNB. We're looking at West Hill or Paradise mainly. quiet but still walkable from town. I've been known in the past to have a garden full of half built cars but now I have a garage full of working ones. Still like to do projects though- at the moment I have the engine out of the Cobra just to freshen up the engine bay. And in the last 2 months I've built a bath box, replaced the braai room roof, rearranged my solar panels and added more, and multiple smaller projects. So I think I need a house.
    Rob
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  27. #19
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Hagu13 View Post
    So I'm a few years from retirement and want to relocate to the Garden Route. Yes for those of you looking up and right, I want to jump early.

    I've only ever lived in freestanding houses. In fact I've only ever owned one house for the last 30 years. I've always done my own home maintenance and some renovation, and I've always fixed my own cars and bikes in the garage. I've never been much of a gardener but that's on my plate too.

    Now looking for the next place- do I upgrade to something bigger, because property is cheaper there and I can, or do I downgrade to a townhouse and sit and drink on the deck watching other people push mowers around? I've never lived in a townhouse or any type of estate but have experience of flat ownership as a landlord. It's not a life I would be able to tolerate. The wife has done houses and townhouses and prefers the latter.

    My concerns are if I upgrade I'm taking on a huge workload and while I'm still strong now I don't like moving and it might become too much later. If I downgrade to something easy I'm going to have to figure out the car thing. I don't see the point of downgrading the house if I then have to rent an industrial unit somewhere else to store my cars and work on them. I'm not big on sitting still.

    Who has been faced with a similar thing and what did you do and what would you do if you had to do it again?
    Move to a place where maintenance will be the lowest cost.
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    Default Re: Retirement house- upgrade or downgrade

    I have looked at the retirement house issue and made some comments in an other thread. We are definitely not moving to the coast. We like JHB area. We see coast and many other areas during our travels. SWAMBO "retired" 2012 and I semi retired at the same time. Two workaholics. We will stay put in the house for now. It is not worth to move to an other house with big garden in some retirement village. Within few years would have to look at moving again.

    What to do in the future? I am busy buying one bedroom flat in a retirement place. Mainly investment but also a place for one of us between house and frail care. House is too much for one person. If it is never used for that it is OK. It brings income. Yesterday we went to see 2 bed houses with small maintained garden in the same complex. Any house coming on the market we will go to see. There are better and there are moderate and not too good houses from location and layout point of view. If a good unit comes available I will put offer in and rent out. I estimate that I get one within the next 2 to 3 years max. Most probably will check some other complexes but one place from house to flat to frail care is not bad for an old person. Within the same municipality where we are now.

    We do have the cottage so the bush is so to say covered. We can easily stay there weeks or even longer if need be for what ever reason.

    That is the plan now with some reasons. Plan can change at any time. We cannot see to the future.

    Plans must be based on facts and not on dreams. One close family member worked for a mine. The mine arranged "retirement training" for the staff. What a brilliant idea.
    Jouko
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