What’s best: A smaller house, apartment or a retirement village?

November 20, 2018

By Maurice Tulich, Tulich Group & operator of The Royce @ Penrith Panthers

Check out our regular column in the Western Weekender newspaper each Friday!

You’ve retired, the children have left home and it’s time to think about moving into something smaller, but what type of home is going to be best? You’ll need to consider what impact each option will have on your finances, lifestyle and longer-term wellbeing.

If one of the main reasons for moving is to free up capital, a smaller house may need to be in a more affordable location—further from the city centre, or even in the country. While a quieter rural or coastal lifestyle certainly has its appeal, services such as public transport and healthcare may not be as good, which becomes more of an issue as we age. It may also be more difficult for friends and family to visit. For those wanting to stay in the city, moving to an apartment makes sense. They’re generally more affordable and require less maintenance than houses, and they’re also easier to ‘lock up and leave’ during holidays.

Because a lot of residential apartments are rented out, occupants are often younger and more transient (and noisier!). This can make it harder to make friends with neighbours and may mean that sometimes the body corporate has to try to balance the needs of investors and owner-occupiers.

Moving into an apartment in a retirement community may be a better alternative, as it is still usually more affordable than a smaller house and all apartments are owner-occupied. You will need to take the monthly fees into account, but these go towards all the extra facilities and services designed to make it easy get some exercise, try different hobbies or games, and enjoy social get-togethers. You’ll find your neighbours are at the same stage of life, sharing a friendly, social and active lifestyle.

Indeed, being part of a supportive community is the key benefit of retirement living—and most villages can accommodate your needs if they change as you age.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors, please consult your own legal or financial advisors before making any decisions.