Test ‘drive’ a retirement home

The media and political spotlight has been shining steadily on the retirement village sector this year.

No doubt, some potential buyers of village homes may have been put off by stories of alleged poor behaviour by one operator. Others may be waiting to see the findings of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) inquiry into the sector.

And then there are the other ‘others’ … thousands of Australians aged over 55 who dream of moving into a purpose-built ‘resort’ with like-minded retirees.

And let’s face it, who wouldn’t be tempted to choose to live in such an exclusive community? Especially one with heated pools and health spas, organised activities and excursions, fully-equipped gyms, cinemas, restaurants, ballrooms, golf courses and bowling greens?

Recently, a number of large retirement village operators reported that, during the past financial year, they had sold more than 2000 new dwellings.

Such was the demand for retirement village living that these operators are planning to build thousands more units in coming years.

If you have the finances to support the ongoing monthly fees associated with living in a village, and the allure is irresistible, you may like to try before you buy.

Several operators have a scheme where for a fee, prospective buyers can ‘board’ for a set term in a retirement village, so they can get a feel for the life before deciding to sign on the dotted line.

Lendlease offers a try-before-you-buy plan at serviced apartments in 10 of its retirement villages. The stays offered are between two and 14 days at sites in Victoria, South Australia and NSW, the company told YourLifeChoices.

Other major operators have been contacted about whether they had a similar try-before-you-buy offer, but did not respond in time for publication.

Would you consider moving into a retirement village if you could trial one first?

Written by Olga Galacho

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