Looking for the right property in which to settle down for your retirement is both exciting and daunting. The excitement begins with planning something new and fresh at a time when you get to slow down, escape the rat race and enjoy your silver years. You imagine a home that caters for a far more laid-back you. But planning for a future that is essentially unknown can be a little daunting.According to marketing manager for Celebration Retirement Estate, Charl van Niekerk, people usually look to buy into an active lifestyle with the very best amenities, as well as leisure, social and medical facilities. They also look for something that will offer a good return on investment.“Frail-care facilities and state-of-the-art security are probably two of the most important determinants of where to buy.”Celebration Retirement Estate issued a press release offering important tips to consider when buying a retirement property: Ownership structure In a retirement lifestyle development, ownership structures vary between life rights and full ownership. A life rights agreement means that onebuys one the right to occupy the property or unit for as long as desired, but the occupant never owns the property and cannot bequeath it to anyone after passing away. With full ownership, you own your property in the retirement development and an undivided share in the common property. You therefore reap the full benefits of the capital growth and you will be able to bequeath it to your loved ones. Developer’s track record Buy from an established developer with a proven track record in developing retirement properties. Check out their completed projects and whether they delivered as promised.This is especially important when buying off-plan in a new development, as you will typically be buying off an artist’s impression and the developer’s promises.Check whether the developer has the ability to deliver on the promised facilities and amenities, and whether a qualified and competent developer, managing agent and service provider are appointed. It is therefore crucial that you look at the developer’s track record and experience. Managing agent’s track record The managing agent must also have a well-established track record, be a member of the various bodies governing the industry (such as the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the National Association of Managing Agents) and have a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. The managing agent is responsible for the financial management to the Body Corporate, and assisting with maintenance, management and smooth operations. This role comes with significant responsibilities and trust. Locality to amenities Proximity to amenities, both inside and outside the retirement estate, is important.You want to be close to hospitals, shopping hubs, churches, entertainment, social spots and transport routes. Within the estate, look out for recreation and lifestyle facilities such as a dining room, gardens and walking routes, frail-care and on-site medical services, as well as other conveniences such as a hair salon, library and social club. Monthly costs Know what the levies are and the annual rate of escalation. These should make sense when compared with the monthly expenses and upkeep of a house, along with all the security costs, maintenance and risks of being isolated in an advanced age. Changing healthcare and mobility needs There is a lot to think about when choosing a retirement estate, but one of the key things to consider is the ability to meet your changing needs within the same development. Earlier people are looking for free-standing homes where they can enjoy their garden, the outdoors and their independence. Later, should their health and physical abilities change, they can move to a smaller apartment and access home-based care, or even move into a frail-care facility for 24-hour care if required – all within the same development. Design aspects, such as wheelchair ramps built at the correct inclines and wide enough doorways, are equally important at all entrances and exits to your home and within the estate facilities. Security Security is a crucial consideration. With advancing age comes increasing vulnerability to opportunistic criminals. Ensure that the lifestyle retirement estate provides state-of-the-art security measures such as 24-hour security and patrols, access control, electric fencing, number plate recognition, CCTV surveillance and personal emergency buttons linking you to the on-site security and medical services.