Moving to a Retirement Village in NZ - The Definitive Guide plus Checklist - Retirement Guide (2023)

Moving to a Retirement Village in NZ - The Definitive Guide plus Checklist - Retirement Guide (1)

For every one of us, a time will come in our lives when it’s not as easy as it was to go about our daily routine.

If moving to residential care would make life a little easier for you or someone you love, a little preparation can make a big difference in encouraging a smooth transition. It can be difficult to adapt to a new environment, to say the least. It’s important that you know what to do to ensure the smooth running of the move process.

We have put together this guide with tips and checklists to assist you when moving into a retirement community.

A retirement village gives independent accommodation. It may incorporate shared facilities, for example, meeting rooms, a library, or a pool. It may likewise offer lifestyle services and social exercises, for example, sorted out trips, joint dinners, workshops, visits from doctors, and well-being experts. A few occupants can feel a little restricted and controlled when they move into a village.

However, numerous occupants appreciate social networks, security, and a range of exercises. What you will appreciate in a retirement town depends upon what your identity is.

How do you Choose the Right Retirement Village?

After you have made your mind to live in a retirement village, start hunting for your new home. Retirement villages are run in a number of ways, and what they deliver varies.

Retirement village decisions are important; they appear to have a long-term personal and financial effect. It is important you choose the retirement village you will be staying at wisely.

Here’s how!

1. Do your Homework.

With the high number of retirement villages available, you need to carefully find and pick the best option for you. Make an inventory of what you absolutely must have in a retirement village and another of the features you would like but don’t need. Using the options below, you can research and make your decision.

  • Check Out Their Websites.

In this day and age, most of the knowledge you need can be found online – generally, on the web site of the village, you’re researching. Here you ought to find relevant information on things like the amenities, fees and payments, and available care packages. The website can also have an FAQ page with more handy information.

  • Read Reviews and Testimonials.

There is a lot to be said about word of mouth from other residents. Any information that is absent on the village website can be found on their Facebook page or even on google’s business review. If a retirement village features a great rating and positive reviews from other residents and/or their loved ones, this is often an honest sign.

  • Ask Questions Online or Over the Phone

Can’t find answers online? You can submit questions via forms and email on the website of the village. You can choose to speak to someone face to face, in this case, don’t hesitate to give the village a call. Have a list of questions you will be asking the staff and make sure you don’t forget anything while you’re chatting.

  • Visit the Facilities

Many retirement villages encourage and allow you to visit for an in-person tour of the facilities. During this tour, you can check for everything you need just in case they may have put misleading photos on their website. You also get the chance to speak face to face with the staff who can address all your questions and concerns.

By going on a personal visit, you get a good feel of the village and watch other residents enjoy themselves. On a good day, you can get the chance to be a part of a social event or meal.

During such events, you should talk to the residents and gather information about the village from their experience.

What are the questions you should ask when searching for your retirement village?

When researching for the most appropriate retirement village for you, there are different things you have to consider. Here are a few questions that will help you know what exactly you are looking for.

  • What is my budget?
  • Do I need to rent or buy?
  • Where would I prefer to live?

Have I considered the distance from my loved ones and hangout spots?

Having a solid idea of the items you would like and therefore the things you don’t can make your research phase a lot less overwhelming. If you’re unsure what you’re trying to find, brainstorming with a loved one can assist you to determine what is most vital for your comfort and happiness.

2. Compare Retirement Villages

To compare one village to another, you should see as many as possible that suit your location and financial requirements. In each of the villages, you should ask each operator a similar range of questions. Here are some of the things to do to assist you to compare retirement villages below

  • Ask for the quality fact sheet once you enquire about each village, in order to assist you to compare the similarities and differences in what they provide (by law, the village should be able to provide one on request)
  • Talk to residents about their experience in the village
  • Talk to your loved ones and ask them to visit with you
  • Compare the contracts from different retirement villages.

Before you check in to anyone, confirm it represents any conversational promises you have received. You can find legal professionals by using the New Zealand Law Society, and financial planners through the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR).

Questions to assist you to compare Retirement village waiting list

  1. Is there a waiting list?
  2. Do you need to pay to get on it? If so, will you get any of that money back if:
  • You move into the retirement village
  • A place doesn’t become available within a particular time
  • You change your mind?

Much of this information is set out in the quality fact sheet that you simply can request from the village operator (by law, they should provide one on request).

3. Choose your Favourites.

Once you’ve explored the senior living communities that are available to you and what they provide, it is time to settle on your favourites. Narrow your choices down to the top 2. Then, call to know whether the retirement communities have apartments available, or whether you have to be put on a waitlist for any available apartments in the future

4. Before you Sign

The next step after you have chosen which of the villages you want is to sign the contract. There are a couple of things to think about before you sign a contract. It is important you are aware of the financial requirements for the village of your choice. Relevant data on financial plans must be given by the management before you sign a contract. Every contractual agreement is legally binding. It is necessary you are aware of what is contained in the contract and be sure to comply with all the terms and conditions.

Retirement village contracts aren’t equivalent to ordinary residential property contracts.

Bring all documents on the retirement village to a financial adviser or lawyer who understands the legal and financial implications of the contracts. By law, you must receive a contract from the retirement village, and a statement of disclosure at least 21 days before you sign.

You ought to make sure any claims or verbal agreements made by operators or village agents are covered in the contract. If you are not certain about any of the terms and conditions within the contract, you should contact your solicitor to provide legal advice before signing the contract.

Before you sign a contract to reside during a retirement village, the administering body of the retirement village is required by law to supply you with the following information:

  • A copy of their current codes. The code spells out all the rights of the residents and the responsibilities of the administrators of the retirement village.
  • A copy of all the contracts you will be required to sign to reside within the retirement village and details of any costs related to getting into each of these contracts.

In addition, the owner/operator of a retirement village is required to disclose the following

  • The prices payable to enter the village;
  • Every ongoing charges or fee payable by residents and, thus, the process of assessing any variation;
  • Any extra or available services offered and their respective costs;
  • Descriptions of the costs of commuting to and staying in alternative accommodation within the village;
  • A straightforward explanation of any rights to refund (including any deductions from that amount) upon the termination of the contract of residence.

You should also get copies of the following financial documents:

  • Audited or actual accounts of revenue and expenditure for the preceding financial year and hence the budget for the current year; or
  • The budget if the village is under renovation.

The administration of the retirement village will provide you with all these details at least ten working days before you sign any contract. These details should also assist you to decide if the village will fit your lifestyle.

Costs of Moving Into a Retirement Village

There are three specific categories of costs for people living in a retirement village – and one big cost to be aware of if the circumstances change:

  1. Payments for Entry

Deposit typically kept by the statutory supervisor or on the trust account of an attorney if there is no statutory supervisor. The balance is the capital amount (purchase price) payable by the resident for the right to occupy, usually paid at the end of the statutory cooling-off period.

  1. Service and facility fees — known as weekly or seasonal fees.

There are two types of normal, seasonal charges: village operating costs and daily fees.

The village operating costs paid by all residents are also known as weekly fees. Such costs are often split evenly or with a weighting change depending on the number of occupants of the unit or form of unit. Sometimes, these fees are fixed throughout your occupation.

Daily payments for particular services, such as medical or care facilities, given to particular residents and negotiated as part of their special terms of employment law. Such expenses are in addition to the outgoing charges

  1. Costs of exit

Usually, when the right to occupy agreement is terminated, the resident or his estate is refunded the original capital sum minus facility fees or deductions such as Deferred Management Fee, also known in some villages, as ‘village contribution,’ ‘fixed deduction,’ ‘facility fee,’ ‘facility contribution’

  1. Changing circumstances — care costs

There could be additional expenses if you or your partner are in need of extra home assistance or if you are in need of residential treatment while residing in a retirement village. Premium recovery rooms will incur extra daily premium charges.

Preparing For Your Move

After selecting the best retirement community and reserving your place, you need to get ready to move. This involves the downsizing, sorting, and packing of your belongings. Start deciding exactly what you need to keep. Also, decide how to remove what you don’t need. To help you plan for your moving day, take a look at the basic steps below:

  • Book a moving company once you select the date of your transfer.
  • Decide if you would like to use a moving service.
  • If you are doing the packing yourself, mark the moving boxes clearly and have them ready to be loaded into the truck by the removers.
  • Switch off your phone, power, electricity, etc.
  • Create a list of people requesting an ‘Address Change’ notice, such as the Post office and other providers.
  • Prepare your necessities box: add your everyday comforts, such as a kettle and toaster, so that they are readily accessible for your first day of village life.
  • Keep vital documents close to you.
  • Work with checklists. Try to consider a variety of choices and take a checklist with you to see if a retirement village suits your expectations and needs.

Settling Into Your New Home

After you’ve moved into your retirement village, the next step is to make yourself comfortable for a smoother transition.

  • Unpack as soon as possible

Your first move is to make your new house feel like home by unpacking your luggage and boxes as soon as you can. Having all your favourite things around you will help make your new residence feel more like home.

  • Invite your loved ones over

Warm your new home with the love of your closest people. Welcome friends and family over to see your new residence and give them a tour through the facilities.

  • Become a part of the Community

Get acquainted with your new neighbours and waste no time taking part in social activities. Familiarise yourself with the staff and possibly slip them some nice gifts to establish a decent relationship.

  • Keep up with your Routine

Getting used to your new life will be much smoother if you keep up with your normal daily activities. If you start the day with some tea and a morning walk, keep doing this. If you end the day with a decent book and a brief call to your family, keep it up. Making the most of your daily schedule will help make things feel as ordinary as possible.

Leaving The Retirement Village

The time may come when you have to leave the village, or you may have to leave on medical grounds.

If you want to leave the village, review the policy to be sure of what you ought to do. You (or your chosen agent) are likely going to inform the managing authority in writing of your plan to leave. If you have paid a refundable premium, a proportional refund may be given when you leave the village.

The following are the questions you should have answers to when you are leaving the retirement village.

  • What’s the cost of leaving the village?
  • What are the departure or transfer fees?
  • Will you be expected to pay the cost of renovation?
  • Who determines what needs to be changed and at what cost?
  • When will you have access to your money (if you own your house, the proceeds of sale; if not, the refundable portion of the in-going contribution) after you leave the retirement village?
  • If you need to move to another facility, will your current donation be refunded at that stage or moved to the new facility?
  • Are there any limits on the sale of your unit? For example, the village may have selection criteria for ethnicity or religious affiliation.
  • What protection would you have from the perspective of your legal rights if the retirement village was sold to a company with different values than the current management?

Most of this information is set out in the standard fact sheet that you may request from the village operator (by law, one must be given on request)

Retirement Village Checklist

In the village

Move around the property and pay attention to the following:

  • Is the environment really nice?
  • Is it close to loved ones?
  • Is the village close to community facilities?
  • Are there nice outdoor areas that can be used by residents?

The Village’s Financial Sustainability

You’ll need to be assured that the village is financially sustainable – if it isn’t, it won’t provide the housing, amenities, and services you pay for.

  • Who runs the village and what’s their reputation?
  • Are the village’s financial accounts secure? stand-alone or combined with another village or business?
  • Is there any insurance cover in place?

Entry Costs

  • What is the entry cost?
  • What does this cost cover?
  • How long is the rest period?

The Unit

Walk through the unit and ask yourself:

  • Are the people friendly?
  • Do the baths and toilets have rails?
  • Is the shower easily accessible?
  • Are doors and windows stiff?
  • Are taps and switches easy to use?
  • Can you reach shelves and cupboards?
  • Are there wheelchair spaces?
  • Is there a 24-hour emergency number?


  • Make sure you understand how the village operates.
  • Is the village commercial or not-for-profit?
  • What is the village’s philosophy regarding the care and support of older people?
  • Is the village registered with the Retirement Villages Association NZ or New Zealand Aged Care Association?
  • If it does, is there any benefit of this membership to you?
  • Who manages the village?
  • Is there an onsite manager and what rules must they follow?

Ongoing Fees

  • What is the ongoing fee and what does it cover?
  • What limits are there on how much the fee can be adjusted?
  • What happens to fee requirements if you go on holiday, go to the hospital, your spouse dies, or you leave your unit, marry or remarry?

Exit Fees

  • Are there any exit fees?
  • What is your capital gain share?
  • Will you be held accountable for capital loss?
  • Will you be reimbursed for any improvements you have made?


Moving into a retirement home can be a stressful process. However, if the transition is getting to you, note these tips to ease the process: Know your choices, visit the retirement communities you want, pick your favourites, downsize and plan, maintain regular contact, and ask for support.

What’s it like to live in a retirement village?

A retirement village is not like a care home. In a retirement village, inhabitants normally purchase a house on the site. The plans differ and in certain plans, they can allow for part-purchase, or even lease the property. Occupants bring their own furniture, beautify as they wish, and are allowed to have loved ones come to stay.

What does it cost to live in a retirement town NZ?

As per figures from the Retirement Village Association (RVA), the normal week after week charge across NZ remained at about $121. Retirement villages may charge a range of fees for different services – including power, telephone, and web access – not withstanding the standard maintenance fees.

Would you be able to lease in a retirement town NZ?

Some retirement villages offer cheap rentals for “seniors on lower wages. ” Their qualification criteria- “independent NZ Citizens more than 60 years with an emphasis on individuals who have served the nation.” . Some conventional retirement villages give various units out for rent.


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