There has been a fair bit of negative publicity surrounding retirement villages of late – but the truth is when you find the right option, it can be a great move.
Like any big decision, doing your homework is important. There are many good choices when it comes to over 55s living, but there are also plenty of operators that offer limited flexibility. This has led to several common misconceptions about what life in a village is really like – so in this article, we’re busting 5 popular myths surrounding over 55s living.
Myth #1: You’ll lose your privacy and independence
When you move to an over-55s community, you don’t need to give up your independence, freedom or privacy. Finding the right accommodation can give you the space to do your own thing, and the ability to live an independent life. Freestanding homes on your own fenced block are ideal as they provide both the space and privacy you need to live your life in comfort and peace.
Myth #2: Your house will be the same as your neighbours
It’s true that some villages offer limited choices when it comes to accommodation, which makes it difficult to express your own personality or style. But it is also possible to choose a house design you love and build your own brand new home in an over-55s community. Once again, it’s a matter of finding a village that offers a range of accommodation options that fit your needs.
Myth #3: There’s no room for a garden or pets
If you have a beloved family pet, or are a keen gardener, you may think you need to give these up when you move to an over-55s community. This is not always true, as some villages allow pets and have the space for you to establish a garden. However, there are plenty that don’t allow pets and have limited (or zero) space for a garden. So, if you’re a green thumb or animal lover, make sure you understand your options before you make a final decision.
Myth #4: You’ll be charged excessive fees
Fees vary significantly from one village to the next, so this is an area you need to look at closely when you compare. Fee structures in retirement accommodation can also be complicated, so if it’s not 100% clear how much you’ll pay upfront, weekly, monthly, yearly, and when you sell, seek professional advice before you sign anything to avoid surprises.
Myth #5: It will be difficult to sell your village home
Much of the negative publicity surrounding retirement homes has been regarding exit fees and unfair conditions on contracts when it comes to selling a retirement village home. Residents have shared stories of feeling trapped after learning that deferred management fees (also known as exit fees) would cost them thousands and their contracts required expensive renovations to be carried out before going to market. Some contracts even gave village operators the exclusive right to act as an agent in the sale.
While these contracts are unfortunately quite common, there are alternatives available without these restricting conditions. Some villages (including Village Lifestyle Park) do not charge any deferred management fees which means you don’t need to hand over a large chunk of your sale profits to the operators – or on-sell this clause to any potential buyers. This gives you the flexibility to downsize to an over-55s community without the fear of financial difficulty should you wish to sell.
Final Word on Lifestyle Village Myths
While all the above myths can be a fact of life in some villages, the good news is that there are lots of alternatives available that offer all the benefits of village life without the compromise.
So how do you find a community that’s the right fit for you? One that offers the flexibility, freedom and lifestyle you need to enjoy your retirement to the fullest? Be sure to research your options and get independent advice. Because your due diligence now will make a big difference to your quality of life. Plus, it could also save you a huge amount of stress and financial strain down the track.
Over to You
Do you have a question about lifestyle villages you’d like answered? Our friendly managers are always happy to hear from you. Post a comment below or get in touch by phone or email today.
Want to know more about deferred management fees and other traps related to lifestyle villages? Download our FREE guide, 20 Questions You Must Ask BEFORE Choosing a Village.