Concerns about ongoing family home maintenance and the desire to live in a supportive community were what drove Margaret Crombie to downsize to a newly-expanded retirement village.
Ms Crombie had lived on an acreage at Cashmere, in Brisbane’s north, for the past 20 years. However, after her husband passed away four years years ago, she found she struggled to keep up with maintenance.
“My husband was a very good handyman and he would be able to fix most things around the house,” Ms Crombie said.
“When he passed away, I had to do it myself and I just don’t have those skills – you know, I’d never had to look after a pool before. Other unwanted maintenance tasks included pruning of the fruit trees.
“I was having to either get my son to come down from the Sunshine Coast, or my friends.
“Everyone offers to help you and they don’t mind doing it, but you mind!”
To help solve her maintenance issues, Ms Crombie moved into one of 112 new homes currently being constructed at Reside Communities’ Samford Grove retirement village at Samford Valley, also in the north of Brisbane.
The village is expanding from 27 to 139 villas, with prices of the new villas ranging from $580,000 to $790,000. Ms Crombie was one of the first residents to move into the new homes.
At Samford Grove, Ms Crombie is still able to tend to her garden – an interest she’s held for decades – while the village team looks after home maintenance, lawn mowing and other household chores.
“To have the maintenance sorted, that takes a huge weight off your shoulders when you’ve been doing it by yourself for a few years. It was a big feeling of relief when I moved in,” Ms Crombie said.
Ms Crombie moved into Samford Grove in April during the height of coronavirus pandemic fears. She said the supportive village community had also proven a blessing, compared to being isolated in her acreage.
“On acreage, it takes a long time to get to know people, even when you’ve got neighbours,” she said. “As I’m now by myself and getting older, it’s comforting to have people around who are in a similar situation.
“I didn’t ever feel insecure where I was – I’m still quite healthy and able-bodied. I do know that I can’t expect to feel like that for the next 15 or 20 years, that things do change and you have to recognise that – that’s life.
“It’s also good to be close to such a busy community, as there’s a number of activities and lots of places to go and things to see.”
Reside Communities is currently also building new communal facilities, including a café, resident bar, cinema, hair and beauty salon and indoor heated swimming pool (these are expected to be open by August).
Maintenance-free living and supportive community a strong drawcard for downsizers
Research shows that a desire to reduce home maintenance and chores, and to live among a supportive community, remain a strong motivation for downsizers.
A survey of 201 consumers by Downsizing.com.au and OverSixty.com.au between April and May 2020 found that more than a quarter of these consumers were more likely to consider downsizing, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked what was motivating them to downsize as a result of the crisis, 68 per cent of respondents said they wanted to be among a supportive and helpful community.
Other popular reasons to downsize were to:
- Live in a modern, low-maintenance home (67 per cent of respondents)
- Move away from a crowded city environment (26 per cent)
- Boost retirement finances by releasing home equity (18 per cent)