Retirement village living has really grown on me

Feb 18, 2018

We have now been fully paid up members of the village for two months, and I must say the place does grow on you.  I may have mentioned earlier that our balcony overlooks the main drag.  This means I can place myself there strategically and watch whatever is going on in the village, when I feel like it.

Recently, from my perch above, I saw the sales people busily taking prospective buyers through a couple of units that are for sale.  Worryingly for the village, there are several units up for sale, and this has to be connected with the bad publicity that villages such as ours have received over the last couple of months.

My advice to anyone thinking of moving into a retirement village is to make sure that you have read your contract and that you have thoroughly done the maths.  You need to make sure that you can live comfortably and not worry too much about the exit fee, which seems to be the story in most villages.  From my small amount of research it seems to me that if there is no exit fee, the ongoing strata fees are much higher than you would pay otherwise.

It is indeed not particularly cheap to live in a village such as ours.  I choose to ignore the exit fee, as I feel this will be more a problem for my descendants that for me.  However, there are ongoing strata fees, water rates, council rates and electricity and phone bills to be aware of.

Once one has tossed the exit fee to the winds, the other costs are much what you would find in any unit anywhere.  This village is a strata titled village, and in some others they are leasehold.  This is a whole other set of issues that I am not totally up to speed with.

As you can imagine, I am making sure that I am totally aware of everything to do with our village.  There are regular meetings, and I am trying to get hold of an up to date chart of accounts so that I will know the position totally.

In the meantime the very pleasant side of village life goes on.

Through sitting on my balcony and chatting to a couple of neighbours an impromptu Australia Day lunch was held, and it lasted well into the afternoon. I’ve also attended the social club pie meal in honour of Australia Day.

More residents seem to be joining these social events, and in fact there was a bit of a panic when it was feared the catered meal would not be enough food for everyone.

Fortunately it worked out, but it was down to the very last pie!

Editor’s Note: This is the final part in a series by Sue Musry about down sizing and retirement living. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.

Have you considered downsizing or moving into a retirement village? What was your experience?

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