Retirement villages

A retirement village is a large, residential development designed for people of retirement age. Usually, retirement villages are found in more rural settings and provide a full range of services for residents.

A retirement village is a large, residential development designed for people of retirement age. 

Usually, retirement villages are found in more rural settings and provide a full range of services for residents, including shops, clubhouses, cafes, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools and spas. Some retirement villages even have medical teams on hand or care facilities.  

What age can I move into a retirement village?

As long as you are above the minimum age for the retirement village you choose, which is usually over 55, 60 or 65, you can move in at any age – when you feel ready. The average age of those who live in retirement villages in the UK is 80 – with the youngest residents being in their 50s and the oldest being over 100 – and you don’t have to be retired; if you’re still working, you’re able to buy a home at a retirement village.

How popular are retirement villages?

In a survey designed to discover how long it will be before retirement villages really begin to be popular in the UK, more than 82% of the people surveyed believed that it wouldn’t be for at least 10 years and more than half of those suggested 20 years or more.

Pros & Cons of a retirement village

Pros:

  • Facilities: most have excellent facilities including clubhouses, bars, restaurants, cafes shops and leisure facilities

  • Independence: owners have the freedom to live independently in their own homes but with support services on hand if they are needed

  • Social circle: there are plenty of opportunities to have a wide social circle at a retirement village with other homeowners of a similar age

  • Easy lifestyle: the communal areas and facilities are all managed, cleaned and maintained on behalf of the homeowners

  • Safety and security: retirement villages offer a sense of security

  • Guest suites: most villages have apartments for family and friends to rent when they visit

  • Future care: some retirement villages offer home help and personal care which homeowners may need in future

  • Some retirement villages offer medical or nursing care

Cons:

  • You will be paying a lot for the facilities and there may be a whole range of hidden costs and fees – service charges may be hefty (the more facilities, the more expensive it will be)

  • Retirement villages are often set a long way from town centres – which means that homeowners only have the facilities on-site and need to travel a long way if they need something from town

  • Retirement villages can feel ‘cut off’ from the wider community – homeowners may feel they want to join clubs, societies or groups with a more diverse range of people rather than just the over 55s.

  • Exit fees: these are one of the biggest reasons for not buying at a retirement community – the bill arrives when you move out or die – and can be extremely expensive running into tens of thousands of pounds.

  • You may not be able to resell your retirement village home on the open market but through a designated agency which could be more expensive.

What are exit fees at a retirement village?

Arguably one of the biggest cons of retirement villages is exit fees.

Retirement village properties are usually sold on a leasehold basis and the leases may require the owner to pay a fee when selling, renting to someone else or when someone else moves in. 

If you sell, how much you pay may is usually a percentage of the house’s value or the price you sell for.  It can range from 2% to 30% depending on the retirement village where you live. For example, If you buy an apartment for £500,000 you could end up paying a massive £150,000 in exit fees.

So before making any decision about moving to a retirement village ensure you fully understand the cost of your exit fees. The higher the exit fees, the less money you could be leaving to your loved ones.

Is it possible to rent at a retirement village? Should I rent rather than buy?

This is entirely dependent on your individual circumstances but it is certainly possible to rent or part-buy at a number of UK retirement villages. If may be better to rent because rental costs usually include all service charges, ground rent and property maintenance fees and you won’t have to worry about exit fees.

What are the alternatives to retirement villages?

  1. Retirement housing developments: Designed for the over 55s or the over 60s, these are generally smaller communities of about 20 to 40 properties. Rather than having expensive on-site facilities, most are created near local shops and services and homeowners mix with the community and go to clubs and societies in the villages or towns where they live.

  2. Staying in the family home: Whilst in early retirement this is an option but later in retirement, many people find that an older property with a large garden is difficult to maintain and more expensive to run. It is very hard to say goodbye to what may have been your family home for 50 years but it’s worth thinking about yourself and your needs for later in retirement.

What do we offer at Beechcroft Developments?

Choose a new Beechcroft home and you’ll have many of the benefits of retirement village living – with fewer drawbacks.

You’ll have the freedom to live independently in your home, within a community of like-minded neighbours – and the opportunity to enjoy a whole new social life. Beechcroft’s communal areas, including the beautifully landscaped setting as well as private gardens, are maintained on your behalf. The Estate Manager is also on hand to offer help and advice and to keep a watchful eye on your home if go away on holiday or spend time abroad – providing you with a sense of safety and security. Many developments have a communal lounge that becomes a hub of activity – hosting quizzes, events and exercise classes – and some have luxurious guest suites that may be booked for family and friends.

A Beechcroft Developments Estate Manager

At a Beechcroft development, you can be confident that:

  1. You won’t have to pay any exit or transfer fees: if you decide to sell your Beechcroft home at any time, you won’t be charged any additional fees and you’ll be able to choose your own estate agent instead of having to use a designated agent, who may charge a higher fee. You can sell your home on the open market – as long as the person buying on a retirement development is over the age of 55 (or 60 where appropriate).

  2. There won’t be any ‘hidden’ costs: before you reserve your home you’ll be given an estimate of the service charge and will be kept updated of all costs.

  3. You won’t be paying for services that you don’t need: with a Beechcroft home you’ll be well placed to go to local gyms, fitness classes, golf clubs, hairdressers and beauticians and specialist services – and you’ll be able to choose where to go and how much you want to pay rather than having such facilities included in the service charge. If you need additional services from hot daily meals to laundry and social events, choose a Beechcroft home on a development with a neighbouring care home and you’ll be able to pay for what you need, when you need it – you may even be able to have short term care if you’ve had an operation or been ill and need a rest

  4. You’ll enjoy a location near shops and services:  at Beechcroft, we create retirement communities in some of the most attractive villages and market towns in the southern counties – some of our developments even enjoy High Street locations. You’ll have everything on hand – including transport links.

  5. You’ll be able to become part of the local community: the majority of Beechcroft homeowners soon become active members of the local community joining local clubs, groups and societies and making new friends of all ages and from all walks of life. 

  6. You’ll own a home on an exclusive development: if you’ve spent years living in a large house set in its own grounds, moving to a development of 250 homes may be a step too far. At Beechcroft, we create small developments in attractive locations, designing new homes to complement the local area.

  7. You’ll have a choice of stylish, individual homes: each Beechcroft development is designed to suit the location – many developments include newly-built homes and converted, period properties and all are set in beautifully-landscaped settings. 

  8. High quality fixtures and fittings are included as ‘standard’: with a Beechcroft home, there’s no need to spend money on ‘extras’ – kitchens include a full complement of integrated appliances – including a dishwasher, a washer/dryer or washing machine and tumble dryer.  Bathrooms and en-suites include mirrors and vanity units, the principal bedrooms have fitted wardrobes and even the flooring is included throughout.

  9. You’ll be able to downsize without compromise: moving to a Beechcroft retirement community means you can downsize or move to a home that’s easy to maintain and energy-efficient – and more suited to your needs without compromising on space, style, your independence or your privacy. You’ll own a beautiful home that you can be really proud of – in a desirable location with everything on hand.

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