A community for women to thrive

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Category: Community, Update

A community for women to thrive

As Women’s Month approaches, we take pride in acknowledging the growing trend of single female property buyers in South Africa. Over the past few years, Lightstone has reported a steady increase in the number of women becoming property owners, with half of all property transfers now being made to female buyers. This shift towards women’s property ownership is a welcome indicator of increasing gender equality in the workplace, leading to greater financial freedom and economic progress.

Community schemes provide a multitude of benefits that are likely to be particularly attractive to women-only buyers, especially those making their first property investment. These benefits include enhanced safety, security, and shared maintenance responsibilities. Moreover, the lifestyle advantages of community living, such as access to recreational areas and schools, are also appealing to single women and single mothers.

Entering the property market, whether in a community scheme or any other sector, is one of the most significant investment decisions anyone can make. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to thoroughly prepare for this commitment through careful research and consideration. To aid in this preparation, we present some crucial factors to consider before purchasing property in a sectional title scheme.

Educate yourself

Any prospective buyer needs to stay abreast of pertinent information about sectional title property ownership. The importance of women taking responsibility for equipping themselves with knowledge about the community scheme sector and sectional property ownership cannot be overstated. The sector is governed by a host of legislation that may initially seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are lots of helpful free resources available online to make sense of this maze. For example, you can head over to the TRACS website and start your learning journey with the free interactive online course, “Introductory Guide for Sectional Title Owners”.

Do your homework

One of the first things you need to do before investing in property in a community scheme is to look into the financial health of the scheme. Obtain the body corporate’s financial statements to ensure it is solvent, and there is no substantial arrear levy debt. Ensure that the body corporate does not owe the municipality or any other service providers money, as you would be partly responsible for these expenses when purchasing a unit in the scheme.

Before making an offer, find out how much your monthly levy will be based on the size of your unit. Then decide whether you will be able to afford this amount on top of your bond repayment and other expenses. Also, request the minutes of AGM and trustee meetings. This may indicate whether any significant expenditure is being planned which that is not provided for in the reserve fund, as this might result in the body corporate raising special levies or increasing levies.

Examine the rules

Obtain a copy of the management and conduct rules and decide whether these will fit your lifestyle and intentions for the property. For example, the rules may determine whether;

  • you are allowed to keep pets, and there are any restrictions like size and/or type of pets that are permitted;
  • short-term (“Airbnb”) letting is allowed;
  • alterations to your unit are permitted and how to obtain approval;
  • there are any noise restrictions;
  • you will be allowed to run a business from your unit.

Safety and security

One of the main motivations for women to invest in community scheme property is the safety and security it offers. It is true that communal living provides a sense of security and safety in numbers. However, we know that opportunistic criminals would take advantage of any weak links allowing them access to the scheme.

Before signing the offer to purchase, consider the following:

  • Is the scheme located in a safe area and are there any local security companies or community policing forums (CPF) visibly patrolling the vicinity?
  • What security measures are in place in the community scheme? For example, is the perimeter protected with electric fencing, and if so, is it properly maintained and in good working order? Does the scheme offer adequate access control in the form of professional security guards and/or a digital electronic visitor management system?
  • Don’t forget to assess the safety of the unit you are interested in purchasing. For example, how visible is your unit? Although high walls offer a sense of privacy, it also provides a way for criminals to remain unseen. Does the unit already have an alarm system and security gates installed? Keep in mind the additional costs to install security infrastructure after purchase.

Connectivity for smart living

Does the community scheme offer fibre internet?  The past few years have taught us that a fast, reliable internet connection is essential, especially if you are working from home. These days many community schemes already have fibre-to-the-home installed, and unit owners only pay for their internet usage with their preferred internet service provider.

A fibre installation in your community scheme can also enhance security measures such as CCTV, visitor management and communication within the scheme itself. Additionally, access to fast and reliable internet had become a sought-after commodity, and a fibre-connected home will boost the value of your property, should you decide to sell or rent it out.

Common property versus exclusive use areas

Before signing the offer to purchase, ensure that you have a clear understanding of the difference between these areas, and how they apply to your section. (Click here to find out more). If you buy a unit with a balcony, garden or garage they may not form part of your section and the property that you own. You would need to inspect the sectional title plan and/or the rules of your scheme to determine which areas constitute part of the section you own, and which are common property.

Lights on

Does the community scheme you want to invest in have an efficient energy solution installed? More and more community schemes are realising the value of having solar and battery backup systems installed in the scheme – which is crucial nowadays given rising electricity tariffs and unreliable power supply. Not only will you save cost on electricity, and gain energy security, but an efficient energy installation will also boost the value of your property.


There are lots of benefits to purchasing sectional title property, but it is crucial to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. At STS we believe in encouraging gender equality in our communities, and we are therefore proud to be a premier sponsor of Women in Sectional Title (WiST). The WiST platform contains a range of helpful resources to help empower women to take up their rightful place in the industry.