Making retirement village comparison easy

By Rachel Lane

Rachel Lane took Lisa Leong from ABC Radio Melbourne on a tour of four different retirement villages around Melbourne to discover the retirement living options that are available.

Making retirement village fee comparison easy

There’s often a lot of confusion when it comes to retirement village fees, but now there’s a simple tool to make it easier. Following our mantra of downsizing made simple.

Moving into a retirement village can come with a number of fantastic advantages to help make your retirement years easy and enjoyable, from like-minded individuals to amazing amenities and a chock-a-block social calendar.

But working out all the costs involved with downsizing into village can be quite overwhelming. Then there’s the Age Pension implications, whether or not you can claim Rent Assistance, and what will happen to your Home Care Package costs to be considered. All of this number crunching causes confusion which leads to inaction.

Working through the financial intricacies can be daunting, particularly if you are trying to compare more than one option. Here’s the good news, there’s a simple and effective way to avoid any nasty surprises, helping you make the best decision for you and your retirement living.

Understanding retirement village fees

There are different types of contracts and tenures used by retirement communities across Australia. Your contract can have wide ranging implications, not just on the amount of money you pay to the village but also on your pension and other benefits and whether or not you can receive a guaranteed buyback.

The most common contracts are Leasehold and Licence arrangements, where you pay a fee to live in the retirement village and use the facilities. Being a leasehold or licence arrangement  also means that there is no stamp duty payable by you.

Understanding the costs and comparing different options is easier if you break it down into what you pay upfront, while you live there and when you leave – I call this exercise the ingoing, ongoing and outgoing.


Most – but not all – retirement villages charge an entry fee, sometimes referred to as an entry contribution, an Ingoing contribution or a purchase price.


The ongoing fee you pay to the village weekly or monthly (sometimes called a general services charge or recurrent charge) covers the cost of running the village including village staff, maintaining the gardens and facilities, communal lighting, security, building insurance and waste management. This fee is charged on a cost recovery basis, the operator is not allowed to make a profit from the ongoing service charge.

Outgoing (often called an Exit Fee)

This is the cost you pay once you leave the village and can be a complicated formula that involves a Deferred Management Fee (DMF) that is a percentage of either your original purchase price or your resale price, sharing in capital gain or loss with operator, renovation costs and sales and marketing fees. There can also be a guaranteed buyback that you need to factor in to your considerations. A guaranteed buyback is a bit like insurance, if your home in the village doesn’t sell in a set period of time the operator guarantees to buy it back from you.

Be your own Village Guru

A Village Guru Report will crunch the numbers for you, enabling you to compare options for the retirement village or villages that you are considering.

A Village Guru Report can show you:

  • How much it costs to move in to the village
  • What the ongoing costs are
  • The effect on your Age Pension
  • Whether you can access Rent Assistance
  • The fees of a Home Care Package
  • The costs when you leave
  • When you’ll get your money back

Village Guru can compare different payment options or properties within a village or even one village with another, making it the best way to uncover everything you need to know before signing on the dotted line.

Where can I get a Village Guru report?

Hundreds of villages are using Village Guru including big household names like Ingenia, Aveo, Australian Unity, Bolton Clarke, Anglicare and Living Choice.

So when you are visiting a village, ask for a Village Guru Report, or to find out more visit our website or give us a call on 1300 855 770.

It’s important to know that a Village Guru Report gives you great information but it’s not financial advice. You should seek advice from an accredited Retirement Living and Aged Care Specialist adviser who can help you understand all of the costs and provide you with strategies for meeting your financial objectives.

Rachel Lane and fellow finance expert Noel Whittaker are the authors of Downsizing Made Simple, the 2nd edition is out now. The Downsizing Made Simple website is here to guide your downsizing journey with great information, tools and easy-to-use resources.



The ultimate downsizing guide

Let Noel Whittaker and Rachel Lane guide you through the legal and financial maze, explain how a move can affect your lifestyle, superannuation, pension and benefits, and share some real life stories from readers.

Whether you’re moving to a townhouse or apartment in a strata title development, considering a granny flat or tiny house with family, looking at collaborative housing with like-minded people, or making the move to a retirement community, listen to the experts, and make it your best move.

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