Choosing the right retirement village is not difficult at all. It’s Your Life (a resource for prospective retirement village residents and their families) provides some tips that will help you choose the right retirement village.

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. 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. The Retirement Village Handbook can be particularly useful in this regard.

Understand the departure fee

Work out how much the departure fee would be in a range of scenarios and satisfy yourself that it is suitable 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 access our Departure Fee Calculator and find more information about departure fees here: 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 and risks, 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. 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.

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 that has suitable experience and doesn’t have to muddle through or reinvent the wheel.

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.

Once you have chosen the right retirement village, you may now need the services of a property downsizing specialist¬†to help you get started with the preparation and moving. As for Papillon Styling and Renovations, we promise you won’t lift a finger! We understand that this time in life is meant to be the most carefree. Not spending it worrying about all the details of transitioning into your new home.