It was no surprise to anyone when Jenny Roberts and her husband Denis moved into Hometown Australia’s Lakeland Community in NSW, five years ago. “We always said when the time came to downsize, we would probably come here,” Jenny says. “We both love Buff Point.”
And there have been no regrets. “We both liked it right from the day we moved in.”
Jenny points out that everyone is different and needs to weigh up their options, but for them, land lease living with Hometown Australia has had many benefits.
Jenny says this was the number one reason for their choice. Having lived in Buff Point on the NSW Cemtral Coast for 30 years, she likes having long-time friends and family close by. She also enjoys being near the lake.
“I had a friend who moved into a retirement village in Sydney,” she says. “It was block after block of big units. I didn't want anything like that. This kind of living in a smaller, friendly community appealed.”
Hometown Australia has more than 50 communities across Australia. Each location is carefully selected for its beautiful natural surrounds or urban ambience, along with proximity to important amenities and services.
Many communities are in popular lifestyle destinations, such as New South Wales’s North, Mid-North and Central coasts; Queensland’s Fraser, Sunshine and Gold coasts; and South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. If you prefer the buzz of city living, there are communities in Sydney, Brisbane and Toowoomba.
- Social life and friendships
Becoming part of a welcoming community was another key selling point, especially as Denis’s health was declining and they knew his time was limited. “A big part of our decision was knowing that when Den passed away, my life would keep on going with everything I was involved in here.
“We’d been here two-and-a half years before he passed away, so we were quite well entrenched and the transition for me was very easy. There was no upheaval with having to find new friends. I don't know if it would have been like that had we still been in the other house.”
Hometown’s communities have facilities that encourage connection, such as social clubs, bars and communal facilities.
Jenny is very social and loves the camaraderie. “All the neighbours get on really well. There's a mixture of personalities and everybody is interesting.” And Jenny’s not alone. Surveys conducted by Downsizing.com.au show 62 per cent of over 50s were motivated by the idea of joining a supportive and helpful community.
She adds there’s no pressure to socialise, but “if something goes wrong, we all look out for each other.”
Jenny also loves the security of community life. “I can go out and leave the front door open and you know nothing's going to happen. You're not going to have a 30-year-old move in next door who's going to be partying every night of the week.”
- Choice and control
The freedom to modify their home was another deciding factor, Jenny says. “There was only one house available at the time, and I must admit I didn't like it when I first saw it. But then the manager said you can do what you like to the inside. That was a huge selling factor. We could knock down walls and put our own stamp on it. Now I just love it.”
Hometown Australia offers a wide range of quality homes, both new and pre-loved, providing plenty of options to suit your needs and budget. Often, they are considerably more affordable than other properties in the area.
Many over 50s moving to these communities have money left over after selling the family home, which can help top up retirement savings.
- Transparent costs
To anyone thinking of land lease living, Jenny stresses considering the financial aspect. Her friend who moved to Sydney discovered she would face significant exit costs she didn't know about before moving in. Hometown Australia doesn’t charge exit fees, and no stamp duty is payable when you purchase your home.
Jenny also likes not having to pay council rates. “I pay my own electricity and gas, but I can control how much I want to use.”
She also likes the control you have over selling. In land lease communities, you buy your home and lease the land it’s on. “They don’t dictate what you sell your home for,” Jenny says. “You can set your own price.”
Unlike many other retirement living options, you also get to keep 100% of your capital gain as a cash profit when you sell your home.
Jenny is very happy they chose to embrace land lease living with Hometown Australia. “The friendships you forge in these places, the security they offer and the socialisation – the benefits outweigh anything else.”