- Not understanding the contract
Do you get capital gain? What percentage? What are the exit fees? What percentage? Do you pay for renovation costs went you leave? What percentage? Do you pay legal costs going in, going out, or both? What are the ongoing costs? Can you afford them?
- Not focusing enough on finances
If you are on a pension or want to qualify for one, the choice of what you pay for your retirement village unit, and what is left over from the sale of your house, is important. Getting financial advice is strongly recommended. Paying more for a unit and qualifying for a pension may be for the best long-term.
- Not looking around enough
Look at many villages from different operators. What suits a friend or relative may not suit you.
- Not considering the geography
Do you still drive? Will you continue to do so? Is the village close to shops and interests, or is it at the back of beyond? If you can’t drive, will you be marooned at the village? Is there a village bus?
- Forgetting the family
How far away are the family? Can they visit easily or is it a major trip? Can family stay over? What are the rules?
- Not exploring activities available
Does the village offer activities or amenities that interest you? A pool? Social club? Trips away? You don’t want to be bored to death – literally.
- Not considering what comes next
A retirement village is not usually the last stop on the journey. Is there co-located aged care? Do residents get preferential treatment to transition? If there’s no aged care, where next? How quickly do you receive your payout?
- Not investigating in-home care
Can you stay in the village and, with support, delay the move to aged care? What support is available at the village?
- Focusing too much on finances
A retirement village purchase is about lifestyle, not making money. No one ever got rich buying into a retirement village.
- Not getting specialist contract advice
Retirement village contracts are voluminous (often over 100 pages), onerous, technical documents. They vary from village to village, operator to operator. They are not all the same. They all have particular idiosyncrasies and issues. Getting advice from a lawyer who specialises in these contracts is essential.
Don Macpherson is an expert in retirement village law at Sunshine Coast Elder Law. Call 1800 961 622 or visit sunshinecoastelderlaw.com.au. or brisbaneelderlaw.com.au