When you are ready to downsize from your family home, you may be wondering if you should purchase a smaller home, a townhouse, a unit or a place in a retirement village.
If you’re thinking a retirement village may be for you, the following checklist will help you choose the right one.
What are retirement villages?
Retirement villages are a popular option among older Australians who are looking to downsize these days, and with good reason.
The solution is often more affordable and easy to live in than a standard unit block. It provides a sense of community and there is a level of support not available in regular housing complexes. Residents still live independently with their own home and a private car space. There are communal areas for gathering and quality homes have facilities including a gym, pool, cinema and games room.
The following checklist will help you decide what’s important to you and whether a retirement village will help you meet your downsizing goals.
- Community living and activities
One of the biggest changes you will have if you choose a retirement village is moving into community living. The first thing to ask is if you will feel comfortable being surrounded by people who want to say hello and check in with you when they see you on the grounds.
The levels of community activities in villages differ so ask to see the schedule before you buy. There are likely to be bus rides to local shopping centres, movie nights and commemorations for events like Anzac Day but you do not have to participate if you don’t want to.
Retirement living apartments often look cheap but buying in comes with specific clauses so be sure to read the fine print as the sales agreement is usually structured so you only get a percentage of your money back when you sell.
There will also be strata fees to cover the maintenance of common areas and pay the staff who work on the premises. Factor these into your budget before you make a purchase.
Look for a village that is in a location that suits you. Decide if you want to be near family and think about how close the village is to shops and transport, and if it is in an area you like.
- Rules & bylaws
All retirement villages also have rules and bylaws about noise, having people to visit etc.
Before you settle on your new place, have a look at their rules and statutes to ensure you are comfortable with them. For example, some may have a cap on how many visitors you can have at once.
Another thing to check about is pets. Many retirement villages allow people to keep a small cat or dog.
- Care levels
Different retirement villages and even different units in retirement villages will have different levels of care.
You need to understand what level of care you or your spouse may need when you move into a village. Initially, you may be able to live completely independently but over time you might require home care or need to transition to assisted living. Many retirement villages have an aged care facility connected to them so your transition will be easier.
- Due diligence and research
The internet will help you have an idea of whether the retirement village you want to buy into is a good place. Type the name into Google and you should be able to see if people have left reviews. Read them to see if they are mostly positive.
Looking for a retirement village?
Want to find your dream property for downsizing and retirement? Start your search today.
IMPORTANT: Any tips or advice contained in this article are general in nature and you should always seek professional advice from expert advisers about your individual situation before making significant financial decisions.