What’s the best way to get a good price for my property, ... All New Zealand home sale methods have positives and negatives. Your local First National Real Estate agent...
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Q & A

Is a retirement village or retirement home living right for me?

If the day-to-day tasks of property maintenance such as gardening and housework have become too much for you to easily manage, there are a number of options to consider.  These options include home help, hiring a handyman or moving to a smaller, low-maintenance apartment.  Moving to a retirement home or village will also relieve the need for you to maintain the property and gardens yourself.
You may want to consider moving to a retirement village:
  • If you’ve recently lost a partner or companion (although it’s advisable to allow yourself adequate time to adjust before making such an important decision).
  • If you feel the social or religious activities available in a retirement village would appeal to you.
  • If you expect in the near future to require things like level access ways, doorways that can easily fit wheelchairs and other elderly support features
  • If you’d feel more confident knowing emergency assistance is nearby
  • If you'd appreciate being part of a village community and would enjoy the social interaction it offers

How much will it cost me to live in a retirement village or a retirement home?

There are many different grades of retirement villages and retirement homes.  The higher the quality of the retirement home, the more you'll generally need to pay. 

Retirement homes can be purchased outright (but note that the land the home is on is often leasehold), or in some cases can be rented.  Before you commit to any financial obligation, seek the advice of a solicitor, lawyer or financial advisor and make sure you completely understand the costs of entry, residency and exit.
  • There is usually a fee charged to move into the property, along with recurring service charges each week you live there.  Some retirement villages also request a departure fee when you leave the village
  • Where they exist, departure fee structures can vary a lot.  Make sure that the fee structure you are considering is properly explained
  • When evaluating a retirement village or retirement home, ask the sales representative for a comprehensive rundown of their fees and charges.  Have this information reviewed professionally and by a family member

What else should I think about when choosing where to live?

Your choice of where to live is important.  Make sure that you consider local crime rates, and your closeness to public transport, shopping centres, schools and other relevant amenities.  Websites like Quotable Value provide free local statistical information, including breakdowns of the household age groups living in your area.
Where you live can also impact others, so consider the living locations of your friends, families, and colleagues too.

It's important that you calculate the overall affordability of the property for your budget. Affordability is the rent or mortgage payments, along with food, petrol (commuting costs), power, water, rates, and local restaurant prices.  As the prices of these items and services vary from place it place, it's helpful to do some research.

Will my pet be allowed to move with me?

Pets can be fantastic companions for people in their senior years. Some retirement villages and homes (but not all) will accommodate both you and your pets.

Policies concerning pets will vary across retirement home operators, but the type of pet, its size, and its temperament are likely to be considered.  Villages that have good physical distances between homes are more likely to accept pets than those with housing that is very close to neighbours.

Many villages will let you bring your current pet with you, but when that pet dies will not allow a replacement.  Check the policy wording carefully if you’re a pet lover.

Will my superannuation be affected by living in a retirement village or retirement home?

Your basic NZ Superannuation entitlement is not affected by what assets you own or where you live. You can live in your own home, or elsewhere, with no penalty.

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) does offer a range of financial support measures which may be of interest if you are 65 or older. These include the Accommodation Supplement, Residential Care Subsidy and Residential Care Loan (to help you keep your home if you enter a rest home). Speak with WINZ or a financial advisor to find out if you are eligible for any of these support measures.

Should I sell my current property?

It can be difficult to decide whether to sell your home or not, when you are considering moving to a retirement village or retirement home. Make sure that you've considered all possibilities, and the financial outcomes of each.  Some reasons you might decide to sell your existing family home include:
  • You no longer need as much living space as you did and a smaller home would be easier to maintain
  • You’re struggling to cover day-to-day living expenses and most of your wealth is locked up in your home
  • You have good reasons to suspect you would get a higher price from selling your home now than in the next few years
  • Your home is properly prepared and well presented for sale
  • Real estate agents and financial advisors you've consulted are comfortable that selling your home now will help you achieve your financial goals
If you do wish to sell your home, talk to our First National Real Estate agents.

​Where can I get help?

At First National Real Estate, we're here to help you. Contact a First National Real Estate agent prior to moving into their area, and get chatting. They are well placed to give you general information and advice about your upcoming move.   They can also add you to our database of potential property buyers or renters, and can send you updates when properties that suit your needs and preferences become available.

What’s the best way to get a good price for my property, auction or private sale?

All New Zealand home sale methods have positives and negatives. Your local First National real estate agent can provide guidance on the most appropriate sales method for your home. Here are some tips about common home selling methods:
  • Auctions can sometimes result in a higher price for your property. In an ideal scenario, you will end up with two or more buyers who really desire your property driving the price higher than you anticipate. As successful auctions rely upon having a number of interested parties in attendance, the marketing undertaken before an auction to attract potential buyers is very important
  • Auctions are often appropriate if your property is unique and difficult to put a value on, or in a highly desirable location, or if you need to sell quickly
  • Private sales give you complete control over your initial asking price, but negotiations with buyers tend to only go in one direction – downwards
  • If you set too low a price with Private Sale, there’s a strong chance you won’t receive your property’s full market value.  If you set too high a price, you’ll be unlikely to attract any offers and the property could remain on the market for a long time. This can make potential buyers suspicious about the house and less willing to put in a fair offer

I can’t afford to stay in my home. Is a reverse mortgage the answer?

Relying on limited income from NZ Superannuation or other investments can make money tight, especially when unexpected expenses occur. A reverse mortgage is a way of unlocking some of the wealth that may be tied up in a home.

Typically, a lender such as a bank will pay the homeowner a proportion of the equity of the house and this will be registered as a loan against the property. There won’t be any repayments required, but interest on the loan will be accrued until the property is either sold, or the owner dies.

A reverse mortgage can be a good way for retired home owners to access some of their saved wealth, but it is important to consider all the implications:
  • Borrowing against your home may leave you with too little equity in the future, affecting your financial capacity to move into supported accommodation
  • The impact of compounding interest could result in a small loan becoming much larger, putting you under increased financial pressure
  • Receiving a lump sum payment may prevent you from properly adjusting your lifestyle to your post-retirement reduced income, meaning you spend too much and leave yourself in financial difficulty when the lump sum runs out
  • You could end up in a position where you are unable to leave an inheritance to your children or other family members
Make sure that you consult a financial advisor or lawyer before signing any documentation.  It's also a good idea to discuss implications with your family.

I’m looking for a lifestyle change in my retirement. Where should I be looking?

For a number of New Zealanders, retirement presents an opportunity to move out of busy cities and find a more relaxed pace of life. Regions that are popular with retirees are the areas just north and south of Auckland, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Northland, Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough.

New Zealand census statistics show that many retirees ultimately settle in towns with populations between 10,000 and 29,999 people. This allows New Zealanders to enjoy their retirement away from crowded cities, but still enjoy the services and conveniences offered by small towns. 
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