If you’ve decided downsizing to a retirement community is the right move, the next step is to find the village that’s perfect for you.
However, with so many different options, it can be hard to know where to start. There’s the choice between a retirement village and lifestyle community, finding the ideal location, plus, you’ll also need to consider fees, contracts, rules and facilities.
The best village will depend on your unique circumstances and although, there is no “one size fits all” solution, when you have a clear idea about how to approach each step, it makes the task much easier. It also gives you confidence you’ve covered all bases in your research, so you can feel comfortable with your decision.
So, if you’re ready to start your search, read on to discover our top tips to help you find the perfect retirement community for your lifestyle, needs and budget.
Decide on Location
When deciding on a location, there are endless possibilities! It helps to make a list of what’s most important to you and work from there. Maybe you’d like to be close to family or friends? Or perhaps you’re dreaming of relocating to the country or the beach?
Come up with a few locations that are a good match for your priorities then do some research to find out if all the facilities and services you need are accessible. Visit the places on your shortlist and spend some time at the local shops, cafés and parks and mingle with the locals. This allows you to get a feel for the place, which can be a big help when making your final decision.
Choose an Accommodation Style
These days, retirees have a huge array of choices when it comes to accommodation. You may like the idea of high-rise apartment living, as it keeps maintenance to a minimum. Or you might prefer the added sense of privacy and space that comes with self-contained houses on their own fenced block. If moving into a brand new home appeals, look for a village that offers the option of buying or building.
Be guided by your lifestyle and personal preferences when making your choice. For example, if you like to pot about in the garden or enjoy relaxing outdoors, a house on your own private block will be a good match.
Understand the Fees and Contracts
Much has been said about the fees and contracts of retirement villages, and after the scandal of 2017, there are positive changes being made. However, the contracts and fees charged from village to village still vary greatly, which means you need to be diligent and seek legal advice before signing to be sure the terms are right for you.
When it comes to contracts, there are three main types – strata title, leasehold, and rental, and each have important legal implications. It’s also critical to understand the incoming, ongoing, and exit fees that are payable. Deferred management fees in particular can have a major impact on your financial situation, so always seek expert advice so you know exactly what you’ll need to pay.
Compare the On-Site Facilities
Having easy access to great facilities is a definite plus, so look closely at what’s available at any village you’re considering. Shared spaces like barbecue areas, gardens or recreation rooms make it easy to mingle with others in your community and stay social. A gymnasium or pool offers plenty of incentive to stay active and healthy. Plus, if you own a caravan, having storage available on-site is very convenient.
Be Comfortable with Village Rules
Every village has its own set of rules, so make sure they won’t restrict your lifestyle in any way. If you own a pet check the policy before you sign, as not all villages allow you to keep them. It’s also a good idea to investigate the rules surrounding relatives visiting and staying, as this can vary quite a bit too.
The Final Step – Pay Them a Visit
Finding the right village can seem challenging at first – but when you work through each consideration step-by-step and are thorough with your research, you’re sure to narrow it down.
When you have a shortlist, visit each village to see the homes and facilities and meet the managers and residents. Take notes, ask questions and spend enough time there to get a feel for the place. Review what you’ve learned, seek legal and financial advice and listen to your instincts – and you’re sure to be guided to a village that’s the perfect fit.
Over to You
Do you have a question about finding the right retirement community? Or some helpful advice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Simply post a comment below or get in touch with our friendly managers.
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.