What you need to know about retirement lifestyle options.
If you’re tired of the ongoing time and expense of managing a family home and are looking for a more manageable property, moving to a retirement village is often considered a viable option.
However, it is important to understand what retirement villages are and whether they suit your needs.
This article explores different retirement lifestyle options to help you make an informed decision. We look at:
- Retirement villages
- Lifestyle villages
- Land lease communities or over-50s lifestyle resorts
We then explore some of the factors you need to be aware of before planning your next move.
What is a retirement village?
‘Retirement village’ is a catch-all term for housing specially designed for the over 55s. They might all seem the same at first glance but when you dig a little deeper, they each have significant differences that could impact your lifestyle and financial future.
First, you must decide if you intend to rent or buy.
Retirement village rentals
Retirement lifestyle villages that offer rentals are less common than resorts where you buy in. They may not be available in your preferred location or only offer co-living arrangements where you share a rental home with people of the same age.
Purchasing in a retirement village
If you own your own home, buying into a retirement village is the usual way to downsize to a home which is easier to maintain and which lets you be part of a like-minded community. It may also come with the bonus of added cash to help fund your retirement years.
Typically, a retirement village is owned by a company that maintains gardens and resort facilities. Residents pay for the upkeep of the resort in one of two ways:
- Management fees that are paid weekly or monthly on an ongoing basis, or
- When residents sell their property.
In the second case, the resort operator may take up to 40 percent of the sale price to recoup their costs. This is called exit or deferred management fees.
What about selling your retirement village home?
In addition to deferred management fees, there may be a limited pool of buyers who meet the age or health status eligibility criteria.
It is important to consider all these factors and discuss them with a professional financial advisor and legal specialist before entering into a contract.
‘Loan and License’ contact
An alternative to renting and purchasing in a retirement village is entering into a ‘loan and license’ contract.
Under this arrangement, you have the right to live in your unit or apartment, and to use the facilities and services, but you do not own the property. A large upfront deposit is usually required – anywhere from $100,000 to over $1 million, based on the property’s size and location.
On top of that deposit are regular financial contributions for the village’s upkeep.
Is a retirement village right for you?
On the surface, buying into a retirement village sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the potential for additional costs, restrictions and complex legal arrangements that are standard in many retirement villages.
But there is more than just the financial aspect to consider.
Let’s look at some of the things which should factor into your considerations when deciding where and how to downsize.
Are pets and visitors welcome?
For many over 50s, moving to a retirement village sounds too much like relocating to a nursing home with many places setting rules on pets and visitors that you might find restrictive – especially if you live an active lifestyle or are semi-retired.
If you have pets or intend to have overnight visits from the grandchildren, you need to carefully examine the contract for any exclusions or restrictions before you sign.
Also, take the time to check out the facilities on offer. Are there plenty of places to socialise as well as to keep fit and active? Are the facilities modern and well-maintained? Can you see yourself being happy to live here for years to come?
How do land lease communities differ from retirement villages?
Luckily, there is a more straightforward and financially transparent alternative to retirement villages, and it comes in the form of land lease communities like Living Gems.
Land lease communities are over-50s lifestyle resorts designed for people who are not necessarily retired or who would prefer to focus on travel and living an active lifestyle. Residents own their own homes, but the land on which it stands is leased. Homeowners pay a weekly site fee to maintain the grounds and facilities.
This makes downsizing into a Living Gems resort a much more affordable choice:
You’re only paying for your home, not for the land, it sits on.
You don’t pay stamp duty on the purchase.
Also, if you have a Department of Veterans’ Affairs card or are eligible for the Australian pension, you may be eligible for rental assistance which reduces the site fee cost further.
Not surprisingly, this form of downsizing is increasingly popular among those looking to maximise their lifestyle and financial options while downsizing their responsibilities.
Facilities and amenities
Living Gems resorts across Australia are land lease communities designed exclusively for active over 50s.
Each resort features a luxurious Country Club with a resident-run cafe and bar, as well as a range of sports and leisure facilities*, including:
- Fully equipped gym
- Heated swimming pool, spa, and sauna
- Walking trails
- Ten-pin bowling alley
- Sports courts for tennis, pickleball, and lawn bowls
Living Gems homes are architecturally designed to provide a luxurious low-maintenance lifestyle while also offering ample space for entertaining friends and family.
Living Gems resorts are in highly desirable areas, close to local shops and amenities and with convenient access to transport links to neighbouring communities.
Our homeowners choose to live at Living Gems for several reasons, such as proximity to popular tourist destinations or to be closer to family.
Peace of mind
Living Gems resorts are looked after by on-site managers which means you can say goodbye to all the work around the garden and chores such as cleaning the pool.
This frees up more time for you to pursue your interests, such as meeting fitness goals, socialising with friends at the Country Club, or indulging in creative passions in our arts and crafts studio or residents’ workshop.
For active people and avid travellers, Living Gems also offers gated access, CCTV, and on-site management, providing homeowners with peace of mind and a greater sense of safety.
Discover a new lifestyle
If you’re exploring your options for retirement living, consider discovering the Living Gems difference.
Our resorts offer luxurious homes and premium facilities and amenities at surprisingly affordable prices, in some of the most terrific locations in South East Queensland and Toowoomba.
*Facilites vary by location