More and more Australians of a certain age are opting to sell their home and buy a property in a retirement village. And by and large, they are not regretting it.
According to the last McCrindle Baynes Village Census, 98 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the decision.
But if you are thinking of joining the 170,000 plus Australians who have made the move, there are some practical things to consider.
Looking for the ideal location for retirement living should be no different from any other property purchase, says Michael O’Neill, chief executive of National Seniors Australia. The first step is to get a shopping list of what you are looking for.
“Aside from finding a place that suits your needs, return on investment should be factored into the purchasing decision. Is it in a good location? If it’s far away from services, then clearly you’re not going to get a return on the investment,” he says.
“And, what about future needs? You can expect to be living five to 10 years in a retirement village. Is there comfortable access to transport and health services?”
“If you’re likely to be someone who travels for several months of the year, you’ll need to be able access transport efficiently. All these issues should be factored into your choice location.”
The quality of retirement villages has been on the rise, says Mr O’Neill, largely thanks to the exacting demands of the well-to-do baby-boomer generation.
“The changing nature is driven by the baby boomers who are retiring with more money than previous generations. They are more active and they have higher expectations. Major developers and suppliers have identified this shift; and, of course, there is clearly a dollar to be made in providing higher quality buildings and services. Most people expect to live into their eighties and beyond and want to remain active compared to generations before.”
Get legal advice
Mr O’Neill adds some of the concerns his association has harvested from members centre around not taking legal advice on their purchase early enough.
“It seems to be a fundamental thing. People get caught by not understanding that there is a difference between retirement villages, village parks and residential independent living – all these have variations and standards that may affect when you can sell and not sell.”
Other concerns, he says, include costs associated with being part of a village.
“All of these should be taken into account and they vary from state to state. This is particularly important for those who move to a warmer location. It’s easy to get carried away with all the services, such as a pool table, theatre and tennis court. While they’re important, look at the actual costs.”
Good legal advice, he says, is paramount. He emphasises the importance of understanding all the implications and obligations of ownership.
“Look beyond the gloss and marketing of retirement village offerings. Remember this is no different from any other major purchase. Concentrate on the fundamentals, rather than the gloss; this should deliver good consumer decision making.”
Follow this check list
Jill Weeks, co-author of Where To Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi says moving into a retirement village can take some adjusting. To help you find the right location and home, Weeks offers the following check list:
- Proximity to family is a real advantage, particularly for older people who may experience a decline in health.
- Social compatibility. Ensure you are comfortable in your surroundings.
- Access to transport. Does the village supply any transport?
- What access to medical care is available?
- Parking facilities. Is there a problem parking for guests?
- Garage space, particularly for men who may want to have a workbench in the garage.
- Are there separate areas for you and your partner to partake in your hobbies?
- What activities are on offer? Is your hobby catered for?
- Research. Chat with residents and anyone who has associations with the retirement village.
- Look ahead. You or our partner may eventually need full-time care, so check if there is a nursing home nearby or one that is part of the village.