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How to choose a Retirement Village

Agent Select / Property News / How to choose a Retirement Village

Independent retirement living has become popular: and with a much younger demographic than you might imagine. The average buyer of an independent retirement residence is now likely to be a sprightly 60-something who’s chosen independent retirement living for the lifestyle it offers.

So if you’re looking to join the growing trend into independent retirement living, here’s 5 questions we think you need to ask first.

1. What kind of lifestyle do you want?

There are now more than 177,000 Australians living in 2,300 retirement villages across Australia, which means there’s a range of developments, offering a range of different benefits. 

That means choosing the right retirement village begins with defining the kind of lifestyle you want. After all, these days retirement villages often come with palatial residences, clubs and restaurants, swimming pools, tennis courts and even a place to park the Winnebago.

But the more facilities you want, the more you’re likely to have to pay - both to buy into the residence and in your monthly maintenance fees  And, when you consider that some of the more upmarket developments charge in excess of $1,000 a month, that may impact on your ability to live the lifestyle you’re buying into.

So make sure you work out both the upfront and ongoing costs before you commit to a place.

2. Where do you want to be?

It’s easy to get caught up on facilities and friends but, location is as just as much for retirement villages as it is for any other property. That’s why it’s important that your retirement village is close to amenities such as shops, doctors and other services you’re likely to need.

You should also make sure that you’re close to transport links or that the village offers a courtesy bus to help you get to where you need to be.

3. What does the fineprint say?

Buying into a retirement village isn’t exactly the same as buying a house. The fee you pay to enter the village may be cheaper than buying a comparable property nearby (although it can still be well over $1 million in some upmarket developments). But the way you can use your residence, as well as how you sell or transfer possession, is highly regulated.

Instead of purchasing your residence outright, you’ll sometimes be asked to sign a licence agreement. Other times, you may be asked to buy a leasehold or strata titled property.

When it comes time to sell your place, you may have to pay exit fees, usually in the form of a lump sum. If your property increases in value you’ll may also have to forego some of the capital gain you make.

For this reason, it’s always vital that you get an experienced solicitor or conveyancer to read through the contract so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

It’s also why you should always buy through a reputable developer such as Lend Lease or Stockland.

4. How long do you intend to stay for?

A retirement village can be a fantastic investment in your lifestyle right now. But it’s also important to think ahead to 10 or even 20 years down the track.

How old will you be by then? And what level of independence or care are you likely to need?

If you intend to stay in the same retirement village for some time, you may consider looking at developments that suit a range of lifestyles and life stages and allow you to transfer from one type of living to another.

5. What can you afford?

Finally, it’s worth remembering that most people need to fund their move into independent retirement living by selling their home. So what you can afford will often down to how much you receive for your current home.

That’s why it’s important that you get as much as possible when it comes time to sell. And the most effective way to do this is to use a local agent with a track record of selling properties just like yours.

Agent Select lets you pinpoint the three real estate agents in your local area with the best track record in selling properties just like yours. It also lets you compare them side-by-side, so that you can compare their plans for selling your home and the commissions they charge.

That way you have everything you need to make an informed decision on who’ll get you the best price for your home - and the negotiating power to make sure more of that sale price stays in your pocket.

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