I moved to a lifestyle village in Perth almost 10 years ago. I had been living alone in a big home, with a pool and large gardens to maintain. I was working, but I found most of my income was being spent on updating the 37-year-old house, so I decided to sell.
I had been looking at lifestyle villages for a few years. I loved the idea of a smaller house, and the social side of community living was appealing.
When I sold my house I was able to buy a home in the lifestyle village and the money left over into the bank for my retirement. I had a very small amount of superannuation (as most people my age would have had at the time), so it gave me some comfort to be able to retire knowing there was something of a nest egg in the bank.
The move went well. The house sold within a week. I chose my new house in the village and settlement was easy as there was no stamp duty on the village home.
My house now has two bedrooms and a study, a kitchen, dining room and living room. There is a bathroom and an extra toilet. I enjoy the large back patio, all under cover. I really love the house, to be honest. It’s a breeze to keep tidy and to clean.
There are other benefits to living in a lifestyle village too. The front garden and all communal gardens are maintained by gardeners. There are security gates to the complex that are closed between the hours of 6pm to 6am. I can choose to swim in either the indoor or the outdoor pool, depending on the weather and my inclination. There are two tennis courts, a bowling green, a squash/badminton court and a gym. I can also go to the onsite library and use the craft room or any one of the large community club rooms. One of the few downsides to lifestyle villages is the close proximity of my neighbours, but I admit everyone is respectful of the rules of having visitors.
I pay a fortnightly rent, as the land is leased. A portion of that goes to council rates and utilities, village maintenance, village staff wages etc. I receive rent assistance in my pension to assist with this payment. I cover the cost of other things, such as gas, home and contents insurance and the like. I installed solar panels so pay very little, if anything, for my electricity. In fact, insurances — home and car — are my biggest expenses.
It’s comforting to know I can get by on my pension, and I am fortunate to have some savings.
While there was no cost to moving in, if I decide to sell and move out of the village I will pay a 10 per cent commission.
I enjoy the lifestyle here. I only have to walk to the mailbox and I’ll be caught up in conversation with someone. Everyone is friendly and we do watch out for one another. There are a number of social events to attend. I even threw myself into village life by becoming secretary of the social club for two years. I don’t make much use of the sporting facilities, but enjoy everything that’s on offer. These days I tend to enjoy life outside the village.
For me, the best aspect is the safety and security I feel. I don’t think I’d feel this safe if I was still living in the suburbs.