Are you thinking of downsizing? If so, you will be wondering what’s available and what will suit your needs – a smaller, lock-and-leave home that will allow you to travel more, a land lease community, a retirement village or assisted living? You might even consider renting for the rest of your life so you have the flexibility of moving quickly to follow friends and family or the sun.
For many people, the transition to a retirement community will take time to plan and execute. But once you’ve made your decisions, you’ll feel liberated, with the burden of a large house and garden lifted. You’ll have so much more time to travel, socialise and exercise.
While some retirement villages, mostly ones run by religious organisations, offer stages of accommodation, from independent living to higher care, many are more geared towards community, convenience and security, with amenities such as a pool or shared meeting places.
Tip: If you’re doing some long-term planning, the retirement communities that offer different levels of accommodation sometimes let you pay a deposit to secure a place in assisted living in the future.
Do you want to be close to family and grandkids? What about volunteering, hobbies, travel or having a lovely garden to potter in? And your location will also hopefully give you joy, whether that means living in a city with access to culture and entertainment, or somewhere with parks, nature reserves or the ocean close by. Downsizing is about creating new opportunities to enjoy your retirement, your way, so take some time here to think hard about what makes you happy.
Retirement village, land lease community or assisted living?
This will depend on your financial situation, your lifestyle and preferences, and your need for care. Remember that retirement villages and land lease communities are geared to independent living with wonderful facilities and amenities while assisted living is tailored to helping you manage daily life and requires more personnel.
- Retirement villages are geared towards independent living and allow you to buy your own home, with ongoing fees for facilities. When you choose to move on, you might be able to sell your home through a real estate agent or the village sales agent might re-sell your home for you. Generally, you have a competitive choice as to how you sell your home.
Note that, depending on your original contract, you might need to deduct deferred management fees from the eventual sale price. Make sure you fully understand your contract and get expert advice before signing up.
- Land lease communities are a newer arrival in the property market. Here, you own the home but rent the land your home sits on, and enjoy the facilities and security of the community. Many land lease communities are in beautiful locations with access to important amenities, making them an increasingly popular choice.
Assisted living facilities are for when you need more care, such as meals or personal care. To apply for assisted living, you need to be assessed. When the time comes, you can start this process by visiting the government website, My Aged Care.
Some retirement villages offer additional assisted living apartments, and all retirement villages can help organise in-home care services if you need them and you are eligible.
So where do I start? Next steps
The transition to a new living arrangement is a big decision at any age, and it’s worth taking your time to ensure you’re making the best decisions. Here are some tips for getting started.
- Start talking to people about your plans. Let your family and friends know you’re thinking of moving into a retirement village or care facility, and get advice and ideas from them.
- Talk to your accountant or financial adviser about retirement planning and what the sale of your home will mean for your financial situation.
- Think about timing. When do you want to move? You’ll need to go through your belongings, declutter and then get your home on the market. Give yourself plenty of time to make the transition so you don’t feel rushed.
- Research your options: do you want to live in a land lease community, a retirement village or a smaller apartment or villa? Do you want to stay where you are or move to a new area, perhaps to be closer to family?
- Start visiting places to see what feels right, and what availability they have. You may need to wait for a while for a place to come up, so it’s good to start looking early.
- While you’re doing this, it’s a good idea to research options for higher levels of care you might need in the future, and let your family know your preferences.
- Apply for your chosen place.
- Once you have a place and know when you can move in, it’s time to sell your home. Use a trusted solicitor to prepare your contracts so you understand exactly what you’re signing up for.
- Move into your new home and enjoy your new lifestyle!
Making moving to a retirement village easier
We know that the process of downsizing, decluttering and cleaning can be overwhelming. The good news is there are many places you can go for help. Internet platforms like Airtasker and Oneflare allow you to post a job and set your budget. Whether it’s replacing washers in taps, cleaning, gardening or general handyman work, you should be able to find someone who is willing to help. Don’t think that you have to do it all yourself or that family and friends are the only ones who can help.
Want to learn more about making the most of your next 30 years?
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest.