4 min read.
Thinking of moving into an independent living retirement village? Rising life expectancy has meant that people are healthier and may not need as much support or just need care much later in life. This means that rather than pensioners or retirees moving into care homes, those who need support but can still live independently, are opting for schemes that let them live in their own homes, within a community setting, while having the support they need.
For many a retirement village has an inherent appeal if you are considering re-organising your accommodation and lifestyle options when you retire. You still retain your independent living in your own space, without all the time-consuming maintenance you have as a homeowner.
Retirement villages also provide safety and security with like-minded neighbours. There is the added attraction of joining an active community with friendship and support on hand should it be needed.
But it is important to know what different aspects to consider before making such a decision. We have provided just some of the facts to think about which could help you make a more balanced decision on whether it’s the right move for you.
Living in a retirement village means you’ll be surrounded by people in their later years, meaning you’re more likely to make friends and find common ground within a community. This can lead to a richer social life and the community aspect of retirement villages may also make you feel safer than living alone.
You have the opportunity to form new friendships and share joint interests with those around you, including the discovery of new hobbies. This may not necessarily be an advantage if you prefer living in an area with young families, or simply a more diverse community. But it can be a major advantage of a retirement village for some.
If your main concern is a hassle-free home, regardless of the cost, a property in a retirement village may particularly appeal. You are no longer responsible for maintaining a large home or property.
You can enjoy day-to-day life, without worrying about maintenance or repairs. These are likely to be dealt with by a management company, so you don’t have to bother sorting out, for example, external painting or roof replacement, although the cost of large projects will ultimately be funded by residents.
This provides peace of mind so that if there is any repair work to be done, it’s somebody else’s responsibility. It also extends to garden upkeep, too, so you can rest assured you’ll continue to live in attractive surroundings. You should always check individual terms of what would be included or covered when considering a retirement village to ensure there are no additional costs that you may incur once you’ve moved in.
Some retirement villages may also offer home help and personal care or even on-site care homes and most have excellent social and leisure facilities.
If you’re buying a property in a retirement village, you’ll probably find it will be on a leasehold basis. Most lenders won’t usually provide mortgages for retirement homes, meaning you would need to sell your property and use the cash proceeds to pay for the development, or use your savings.
There will also be service charges to consider. These charges can reduce your retirement income and may still be payable by your family after you pass away, until the property is sold. You should obtain details of these charges before you purchase your new home, as it’s vital to understand what you’ll be paying. You will still need to pay council tax, utility bills and building and content insurance.
You may also want to consider any current or future personal care needs and think about if you would be better off with a nursing home or to remain living independently. Not all retirement villages offer options for nursing or medical care and those that do can get even more costly if you consume more of their services, such as if you need a lot of assistance with daily living or more general nursing care.
Make sure you know if there are any unexpected future fees before buying, as they can form part of complicated leases. Once the property is sold after you have passed away these may still need to be paid, or if, say, you move into full-time care elsewhere – and it can come as a shock, if you are not aware of them.
Retirement village properties are not always bought and sold easily, given the specific market for this type of accommodation. They may take longer to sell, particularly in difficult market conditions and the resale values may also come as a surprise.
Please note: This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.