⇒ Is it easy for loved ones to visit? Can your friends/whānau (such as grandchildren) stay? If so, for how long?
⇒ Is the village close to services that are important to you? Your GP/local healthcare, church, clubs, or shops?
⇒ What transport is available? Is there a village shuttle or bus stop nearby? Could you afford regular taxis?
⇒ Are the onsite facilities (café, pool, bowling green, dining room, lounge) of interest/use to you? Are they well maintained? Can visitors use them? Are new amenities planned?
⇒ ! Do you prefer your own company or are you a social butterfly? How might village living affect your quality of life?
⇒ Do the social activities on offer excite you? What are the costs?
⇒ What are the security measures? Is there sensor lighting? Can gates be locked? Is it patrolled at night?
⇒ What are the village’s rules? Can they be changed? If so, do residents have a say in changing the rules?
⇒ Is there a residents committee? What is its role?
⇒ How is the AGM organised? Can residents participate?
⇒ How are residents kept informed about village matters? Are there regular meetings between residents and management? Are newsletters/ noticeboards kept up to date?
STARTING THE JOURNEY
⇒ Do you know entry age varies widely across villages? Check you/your partner meet entry age criteria.
⇒ Is the village registered? Not all villages have to be and there are pros and cons with each option. See www.retirement.govt.nz
⇒ Is its accreditation certificate current? See www.retirementvillages.org.nz
⇒ Who owns the village (a listed company, a not-for-profit trust or private partnership)? How might this affect you?
⇒ ! Do the owners have experience operating or developing other villages? Are they reputable?
⇒ Who manages the village? Are they and their staff suitably qualified?
⇒ Does the village require a statutory supervisor? What is their role?
⇒ What is the maintenance schedule? Can residents have input about what is included?
⇒ Is the village finished? If not, could you handle the noise and mess of ongoing construction or expansion? What if it never gets finished?
⇒ How are concerns or complaints addressed? What is the process and timeframe
⇒ Does the size/layout of the dwelling suit you? Will it fit your furniture and precious possessions? If not, can you modify it?
⇒ Can you take your pet? When it dies, could you get another one?
⇒ Will the dwelling meet your needs if your health or mobility declines in the future? Consider non-slip surfaces, accessible bathrooms, easy to reach handles and shelves.
⇒ ! Will you have difficulty downsizing? Your new living space may be more compact than you’re used to.
⇒ Does the dwelling come with a garage, carport and/or scooter parking?
⇒ Is there a call button in the dwelling and is it easy to find? Who monitors it? Will you be charged for ringing it?
⇒ Does it have an outdoor space? Are you free to decorate it? If the dwelling has a garden, can you grow what you’d like?
⇒ Have you received and understood independent, specialist legal advice?
⇒ Do you understand the Occupation Rights Agreement (ORA) and disclosure statement?
⇒ Which type of contract are you entering into? Licence to occupy, unit title or rental, for example.
⇒ ! Did you know you can cancel your ORA within 15 working days of signing?
⇒ Remember: a verbal agreement isn’t legally binding. Has everything you’ve discussed with the village manager/salesperson been added to the ORA?
⇒ What happens if the village is bought by another organisation, closes, or hits financial trouble
CARE AND SUPPORT
⇒ What types of services are available in the village? Podiatry, massage, physiotherapy, for example.
⇒ Is there a nurse onsite 24/7 in the event of a medical emergency?
⇒ Who decides if you need higher-level care? How is this decision made?
⇒ ! Did you know some villages don’t allow you to receive DHB-funded home support? Check your contract.
⇒ Could you receive high-level care in your dwelling? If not, what are your options?
⇒ Is there a care home on site? If one is planned, when will it be finished?
⇒ Do residents have priority entry to the care home? What happens if there are no vacancies?
⇒ What is the initial cost of entering the village? Aside from your dwelling, what else does this cover?
⇒ Will buying into a village tie up all your money? Or will you still be able to afford to do the things you enjoy?
⇒ How much are the regular fees? What do they cover? Can you choose to only pay for specific services?
⇒ Are the fees ‘fixed for life’ or will they increase? If so, by how much and how often? Do you have a say in this?
LEAVING THE VILLAGE
⇒ Do you understand what the Deferred Management Fee (DMF) is and how this will influence the amount you/your estate receives once you sell your dwelling?
⇒ ! Are you expecting to receive capital gains once you sell? If so, you might be disappointed.
⇒ How will the dwelling be sold? Can you/your estate have a say in how it is valued/marketed?
⇒ Who pays the marketing, administration, and/or refurbishment costs?
⇒ Will you be reimbursed for any improvement/alteration you have made to the dwelling? Or charged to remove it?
⇒ Will you/your estate be responsible for paying maintenance costs/regular fees while the dwelling is on the market? If so, for how long?
⇒ When will you/your estate receive payment from the sale? What if there are delays?