Retirement Villages - Top 10 Tips
- Think about whether retirement village living is right for you. Community living has many benefits, but it also requires a degree of flexibility and invariably involves some trade-offs.
- Don't leave it too late. Moving to a retirement village is essentially a lifestyle decision so it doesn't necessarily make sense to put it off until your health starts to fail, your mobility starts to deteriorate, or your spouse moves into a hostel or nursing home or dies. Depending on the village, remember that there could be a waiting list to get in.
- Walk the walk and talk the talk. Go over the unit, the village and the surrounding area in detail to satisfy yourself that they are appropriate for your requirements. Talk to village management and current residents, particularly members of any Residents' Committee, and carefully observe daily life in the village. Our publication, The Retirement Village Handbook, has extensive checklists you can work through.
- Think ahead. Satisfy yourself that the village will be able to efficiently meet your needs in the future if you require additional assistance as you age.
- Understand the implications and issues raised by the different legal structures. There are at least 8 different legal structures that have different implications and raise different issues in terms of applicable legislation, stamp duty, GST, service charges and levies, responsibility for refurbishment and capital replacement costs, security of tenure, operator default, termination, vacating the premises, capital losses and credit risk. Our publication, The Retirement Village Handbook, can be particularly useful in this regard.
- Understand the departure fee. If residents are required to pay a departure fee when they permanently vacate the premises, work out how much the departure fee would be in a range of scenarios and satisfy yourself that it is appropriate for your intended or likely period of occupation. Remember that in most cases capital gain foregone or handed back is effectively part of the departure fee. You can find more information about departure fees and access our unique Departure Fee Calculator here: Financial Considerations Including Departure Fees
- Remember it's a job lot. Don't make decisions based solely on the initial entry price or the service charges or the departure fee structure. Retirement villages offer a range of benefits and involve a number of costs, all of which should be taken into consideration.
- Shop around. It's a good idea to look at several retirement villages before you make a final decision. You will then have at least some basis for comparison, which is usually the best way to identify value for money. Be aware that the variety of different legal structures and departure fee structures can make it very difficult to sensibly compare different villages. Our publication, The Retirement Village Handbook, can be particularly useful in this regard because it develops a methodology for comparing different villages on an "apples and apples" basis. You can search for suitable retirement villages on our main retirement villages search page.
- Read the documentation and find a lawyer with retirement village experience. You should receive a pile of disclosure material and legal documentation. Read it, and don't rely on anything that's not in writing. Give a copy to your lawyer. Retirement villages are a complicated and specialized area of law so it makes good sense to use a lawyer who has suitable experience and doesn't have to muddle through or reinvent the wheel. You can search for suitable law firms on our main products and services search page.
- Don't forget the big picture. Always remember that as well as a home, you need money to live on. Put a financial plan in place that will ensure that you can have your cake and eat it too. If you don't have a will or it no longer reflects your wishes, make one or have it updated.
Next Page - Services and Levels of Care >>