What’s Best for me…do I Downsize or Stay in Place?


Over 55s finance expert and author, Rachel Lane, says downsizing can be an exciting time, but financial confusion is one of the reasons people delay moving to a lifestyle community, but when they finally make the move, their biggest regret is not moving sooner.

While many clients tell us their downsizing journey is an apprehensive one, their main queries are around comparing the costs of moving into a lifestyle community versus staying in place.

As demonstrated in the table below#, here is an example: Jean is a single pensioner born and bred on the central coast. She is looking to downsize her home, having lost her husband seven years ago. This, along with various other considerations, resulted in her decision to sell.

After achieving a sale price of $450,000 for her house, Jean made a decision to move to Ingenia Lifestyle Chain Valley Bay where she purchased a brand new home for $270,000.

Shirley freed up approximately $165,000 in equity that she can now use to enjoy the next stage of her life!

If we take a look into Jean’s estimated monthly costs after moving to an Ingenia Lifestyle community, compared to staying in place in the family home, Jean is $228.80 better off per month in her new home.

She is able to enjoy spending her new bank balance on herself and her family.

Costs to Downsize Ingenia Lifestyle
Chain Valley Bay
Staying in Place
House Value $450,000 $450,000
Minus Selling Costs -$15,000 $0.00
Remaining Equity after purchase of brand new home at $270,000 $165,000 $0.00
No Stamp Duty  x N.A
Council Rates 0 $220.00 / month
House & Contents Insurance $60.00 / month $100.00 / month
Utilities $60.00 / month $100.00 / month
Home Maintenance $30.00 / month $100.00 / month
Yard Maintenance $0.00 / month $50.00 / month
Site Fees & Lease of Land

Minus Rent Assistance

Equals total Monthly Site Fees

$600 / month

– $258.80

= $341.20*

Meals $400.00 / month $400.00 / month
Entertainment and Travel $100.00 / month $250.00 / month
No DMF or Exit Fees  x N.A
Secure Gated Community  Yes  x
Village Manager  Yes  x
Onsite community facilities, free activities  and bus trips  Yes  x
Living with like-minded people  Yes  x
Ingenia Wellbeing Program  Yes  x
Monthly Costs to Downsize

Plus Jean has $165,000 in cash freed up from the sale of her home

$991.20 $1,220.00

There are a variety of other non-financial benefits Jean takes advantage of too:

  • Ingenia Lifestyle’s purchasing model is unique with buyers purchasing a new, architecturally designed home and leasing, rather than owning the land. It offers a much more affordable entry price point and eliminates the need to pay stamp duty
  • There are no deferred management fees or entry or exit fees. You also keep 100% of the capital gains on the sale of the property
  • Downsize and de-stress knowing you don’t have cupboards, storage and a garage full of clutter
  • The communities are vibrant places to live with active people who all enjoy the independence, freedom and choice to live the way they want
  • There are more opportunities for socialising and meeting like-minded friends which provides many mental health benefits to improve your wellbeing
  • With less home maintenance you can free up your time to do more of the things you want to do such as travel or start a new hobby
  • Expect the monthly bills to be smaller after you downsize
  • Have your own set routine or join in the social activities at the clubhouse
  • You have the opportunity to take control of your future

Once you analyse the financial lifestyle and wellbeing advantages of living in an Ingenia Lifestyle community it is clear our residents are taking their new-found time to enjoy life!

#Many of the costs stated in this story are approximations and are only intended as that. Each community does vary and costs will depend on the individual location. Personal preference in many areas could change these costs so please keep this in mind.

*Site rental prices are subject to change. Rental assistance figures are indicative only and may vary depending on an individual’s circumstances. For more information visit www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/rentassistance

If you have further queries, we recommend you seek advice from a financial advisor who specialises in this area.

Where do I sit on the Downsizing Timeline?

For many homeowners, downsizing their home can be the start of a new chapter but the process can take some time and consideration with a downsize taking anywhere from a few months to around 12 months.

Twelve months before
• Have a conversation about downsizing with your partner, friends, or anyone else you trust. Use the conversation to discuss why you would like to downsize
• Decide on a location or two that you’d like to live in. Once you know your favourites it will help narrow down the search list of places to live
• Consider the range of lifestyles to choose from – sea change or tree change? Stay in the area you know? Live closer to amenities or families?
• If it’s still not clear on where you want to live, create a list of pros and cons and score them to see which option wins.

Nine months before
• Start to clear your clutter, pull out all the unwanted items in your wardrobes, cupboards and garage to give away to charity or sell online or in a garage sale. One of the benefits to downsizing your home is the ability to reduce excessive furniture, electronics, appliances, trinkets and items that may not be used anymore or do not serve a purpose
• Action, finish and file away your important paperwork (Wills, POAs, etc) – make copies and send to your solicitor or someone you trust
• Review your finances and do the numbers on what you can afford to spend on a new home.

Six months before
• Put your best foot forward and commence those last DIY jobs around the house to prepare it for sale ensuring it’s well-presented for the type of buyer for such a home
• Neaten up your landscaping and tidy the garden
• Start to interview real estate agents and plan your sale strategy. If you’re expecting a 90 or 120 day settlement, now is the time to commit to this
• Start making enquiries into where you want to live. Take tours of their display homes, review the floor plans, enquire about prices and what’s currently available or coming up
• Now that you’re on your way to finalising the sale of your family home you should be in a good position to secure your brand new home – attend open homes, visit communities and start a conversation with your local sales manager to work out what’s the best solution
• In some instances you can place a small deposit to secure your new home while you finalise the sale of your family home
• Once you have paid a deposit and feel comfortable with your decision, and pending house sale, the next step is to sign a contract on your new home in which the sales manager should step you through.

4 weeks before
• Book removalists and commence conversations with utilities providers to arrange connections for electricity, gas and water
• Pay a final settlement balance on your new home
• Start packing up, taking your downsized essentials with you… or this is the time to now go shopping for new furnishing and homewares
• Collect your keys, move in and relax… enjoy your brand new home and downsized lifestyle.

Putting Women First as we Celebrate Women’s Health Week


During the 4th to the 8th September, Ingenia Lifestyle Lara celebrated Women’s Health Week with a series of  fun, pampering and educational events.

Business Development Manager, Dianna McGrath said the residents did all of the work to pull together the week’s schedule of events with massive support form Ingenia Lifestyle Lara.

“The focus was about putting women first and inviting our residents and guests in to attend free events that were arranged by our wonderful group of residents, headed up by Heather Swain.

“We started each day with a 10am walk through the community followed by a coffee and tea and biscuits. This was followed by some pampering by Dorothy and in the afternoon Hair Care by Julie.

“We had some fun events with craft morning teas, line dancing, yoga/pilates, table tennis and some belly dancing, it was lots of fun and we had lots of laughs.

“We also had some wonderful guest speakers from the Corio Community Nurse, a Myotherapist to discuss pain management, Osteoporosis talk by Vital Health Chiropractic Lara and a McGrath Breast Care Nurse providing a lot of great educational information,” Dianna said.

Thanks to all who came along and those who were involved in setting up the events, including Heather who has had such amazing feedback from her fellow residents about the week’s events.

Resident, Heather Swain, main organiser of Women’s Health Week.

Downsizers Maximising their Finances with Road Map to Retirement Events

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Downsizers looking to understand their retirement living options, the legal implications of contracts and how the recent pension changes may have affected them have flocked to our most recent Road Map to Retirement seminar Port Stephens Nelson Bay Golf Club.

Author, finance expert and government advisor Rachel Lane guided guests through the tips to downsizing and unlocking equity.

Attendees also heard from Martin Checketts, partner at Mills Oakley law firm. As an experienced advisor on the legal implications of contracts with retirement villages and aged care providers, Mr Checketts provided guests with a comprehensive overview of their legal rights on their downsizing journey.

High tea and refreshments were provided for guests who then had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits of downsizing to maximise a more active lifestyle.

If you’re in Victoria, and can make your way to our next seminar on Wednesday 11th October, click here for the event details.

The Road Map to Retirement seminar will explore:

  • Different ownership models in retirement and lifestyle communities
  • Impacts on pension entitlement and eligibility for rent assistance
  • Legal implications and contractual differences
  • Benefits of freeing up equity from within your home

Over 55s finance expert and author Rachel Lane said now is an opportune time for seniors to re-evaluate their finances and think about what lifestyle changes could better prepare them for the future.

With home ownership viewed as an investment for the future, for some pensioners, downsizing the family home could be a crucial factor to free up much needed funds and retain financial independence.

“A lot of people look at downsizing to either a land lease community or retirement village, however, they are distinctively different and can be hard to compare,” Ms Lane said.

The seminar will also be an opportunity for guests to find out about Ingenia Lifestyle Lara, an innovative over 55s lifestyle-focused land lease community, just 20 minutes from Geelong. Call Zoe Ilich-Paul on 0436 653 793 to book your spot – places are limited!

Land Lease Communities and your Rights, Responsibilities and Respect

When you’re downsizing and facing a number of decisions for the next stage of your life, there’s one seniors living option which is a more simple, transparent and affordable choice that just makes sense. 

The land lease ownership model allows you to own your own home and lease the land, which is supported via government regulations and legislation with strong levels of protection for both home owner and operator, fostering confidence and respect within the community.

General Counsel for the NSW Land Lease Living Industry Association, Bob Browne, is a solicitor with extensive experience in strata and community scheme developments and the land lease industry, helping to deliver the next level in lifestyle living.

The work Bob and his team has carried out has had a major influence in the reform of the legislation and regulation for land lease communities, responsible for leading the public debate and the management of the Parliamentary process and implementation of the laws dating from 1986 through to the most recent Residential Land Lease Communities Act of 2013.

“The most important government recommendation we made was to have land lease living recognised as something different to the traditional land lord and tenant relationship.

“We wanted to make sure there was recognition of the financial contribution by the operator, but also a significant financial contribution by the home owner, who will lease the land.

“That relationship makes sure that the legislation protects the rights and obligations of both the operator (they operate now and into the future with a successful land lease community) and from the home owner’s point of view (the recognition that they pay for the right to be there and are also protected by security of tenure).

“This was the most important part, so home owners can be sure that if they’re going to make that investment, they do have a long term security of tenure,” Bob explains.

At the start of the process to enter a community you purchase of a home and a disclosure statement is provided for signing which sets out what the details are of the community, the facilities, the site, what utilities are provided and the financial arrangements in paying the site fees and use of utilities.

“If you choose to move ahead, you enter into a site agreement which is a reflection of key terms in the disclosure statement and sets out the rights and obligations between the operator and home owner and the role within your community.

“The agreement can’t be terminated as a matter of course or just at a whim of the operator. You have the protection legislation that ensures your ongoing right to tenure as prescribed by the relevant land lease community legislation.

“There is a provision in the law which allows the operator to develop it for some other purpose than a land lease community. However, if a developer did want to change the use of the land for some other purpose, as an example, to develop units, it is a fairly significant, lengthy and costly process to go through satisfying council requirements, obtaining development consent, providing every home owner at least 12 months’ notice, assisting with re-accommodating them to another location, covering all the costs for relocating the homes and utilities services, transportation, reconnecting and landscaping, providing a detailed and fair framework regarding compensation.

“It’s a fairly rigid process that is designed to make sure the home owners are protected and one would think if a developer has invested a few million dollars today they’ve committed themselves into a long term commitment as a residential land lease community,” Bob assures.

There is an easy process to exit with the opportunity for the home owner to sell up, get the capital gain out of the sale of the home and move on to some other living arrangements with no exit fees to pay.

For more independent advice, you can read more about land lease living by visiting www.landleaseliving.com.au

Lara’s Lifestyle Living In High Demand


Ingenia Lifestyle Lara is emerging as a sought after location for Victorians looking to downsize as Stage Three nears sell out and the first allotment in Stage Four launched this week.

Project Sales Manager, Kerri Hughes said, purchasers were more at ease knowing they didn’t have to pay stamp duty or other hidden fees.

“Downsizing to a lifestyle community where you own the home and lease the land means there are no government charges, no entry or exit fees and no refurbishment fees.

“You own 100% of the capital growth and after downsizing we see many of our residents now able to enjoy a new lifestyle, spending more time doing what they want to do, like locking up to leave and travel,” Kerri said.

The brand new display village is now open for all to inspect with a variety of home designs to choose from ranging from 1 bed, 1 bath floor plans for singles or grey nomads, all the way up to 2 bed + study, 1.5 bath floor plans for those seeking a little more space for entertaining guest.

For more information please contact Kerri Hughes on 0491 229 257 or visit www.liveinlara.com.au

New Major Sponsorship with South West Rocks Bowls Club


South West Rocks Bowling Club has received a major boost following a successful year of competitions, with the Club securing Major Supporting Partner – Ingenia Lifestyle South West Rocks.

Ingenia Lifestyle was excited to announce its 12 month partnership with the Club which will see a number of opportunities and benefits delivered to the South West Rocks community.

The bowls club celebrated its new sponsorship in style, hosting a community open bowls session with Club President Barry Horsfall and Ingenia Lifestyle South West Rocks Sales Manager Wendy Hobson.

Residents, players and club officials were joined on the Club’s green by local South West Rocks seniors all vying for the win.

Ms Hobson said Ingenia looks forward to actively supporting the South West Rocks Bowling Club and engaging with local community through the popular sport.

“The South West Rocks Country Club is a major asset to our local community, especially to over 55s in the area,” Ms Hobson said.

“The lifestyle, health and wellbeing of not only our residents, but other local seniors, is extremely important to us and we see this sponsorship as a contribution to the development of the community.

“The new partnership will contribute in a multitude of ways to the local community – providing free learn to bowl days and additional bare foot bowls sessions for all to enjoy.

“Many of our residents love to socialise around a game of lawn bowls and can’t wait for the upcoming Ingenia Lifestyle Tournaments in July and September.

“Local South West Rocks residents will be welcome to join our upcoming tournaments as well and enjoy a perfect day on the green.

“We also hope to see our relationship with the South West Rocks Country Club continue to strengthen long into the future, as it’s a popular social spot that many of our residents take advantage of.”

A Grand Opening for the new stage and Clubhouse at The Grange


Savvy downsizers have flocked to the grand opening of the new stage development of Ingenia Lifestyle The Grange as they seek more alternatives to traditional seniors living on the Central Coast.

Leading owner, operator and developer of over 55s communities, Ingenia, celebrated the official opening of the new stage and clubhouse with Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Kay Fraser, and local member for Lake Macquarie, Mr Greg Piper MP, unveiling the plaque with Ingenia CEO, Mr Simon Owen.

Uniquely located adjacent to nine hectares of peaceful bushland, in the leafy suburb of Morisset, the new stage to Ingenia Lifestyle The Grange will deliver 57 brand new homes while current residents are now able to enjoy their brand new brand new $1 million community clubhouse with pool, alfresco BBQ area, indoor entertaining, social club function spaces and seniors-dedicated gym.

Ingenia CEO Simon Owen said many seniors were unaware there were alternative housing solutions available.

“Lifestyle-focused land lease communities are one of the newest seniors living trends available to the downsizing market, with Ingenia Lifestyle setting new benchmarks in senior’s housing,” Mr Owen said.

“The popularity of the model is its simplicity; residents purchase a new home and lease the land, eliminating the need to pay stamp duty with no exit or deferred management fees.

“With the requirement to pay stamp duty removed, we can ensure a much more affordable entry price point and most purchasers are then often able to free up a substantial amount of equity raised through the sale of their previous home.”

Ingenia Lifestyle The Grange will be introducing a range of affordable, brand new homes that meet the ever-increasing demand for over 55s housing and age-appropriate living requirements.

The range of affordable, brand new homes combine modern technology, sustainable construction techniques and efficiencies in design to deliver a product that is now surpassing market expectations.

The homes feature open plan living, generous covered decks, air conditioning, modern entertainer’s kitchen and built-in robes to bedrooms. They include a range of environmental considerations and may also accommodate custom upgrades with the flexibility to add in features such as stone benchtops and design upgrades with the ability to modify the home for now or into the future.

For more information please contact Rachel Pullicino on 0459 995 919 or visit www.liveinmorisset.com.au.

Innovative Land Lease Living


While housing affordability is generally considered a young person’s issue, it is also a major problem for those living on a low weekly income stressing to pay off and maintain an existing home.

For seniors wanting to avoid the financial risks of downsizing and falling into a traditional retirement living model, there’s a major property growth market intensifying in lifestyle-focused land lease communities.

Ingenia Lifestyle, a leading owner, operator and developer of over 55s communities, is setting new benchmarks in affordable seniors living allowing residents to own their own high quality, modern home and lease the land, set within a master planned community with extensive landscaping and resort-style facilities.

The Ingenia Lifestyle land lease model improves a resident’s lifestyle by allowing them to free up their capital, reduce their costs of living, lock up and leave to travel or focus their health and wellbeing.

The land lease model comes without the hassles of strata management or body corporate fees, no council rates, no stamp duty to pay, there are no exit / DMF fees and no refurbishment fees. As the resident owns the home they also retain 100% of any capital growth made on their property.

The lease of the land means there is just one simple site fee covering the maintenance and management of the community while many lifestyle community residents are then able to access rental assistance to subsidies the site fees.

Another important factor that protects residents is they are covered by relevant state-based residential land lease communities legislation which governs the industry and seeks to promote fair operational trading practices.

Ingenia Chief Operating Officer, Nikki Fisher, said Ingenia Lifestyle’s difference is our quality operational strategies that keep residents safe, social and secure.

“We have developed the downsizing option that delivers more financial benefits and lifestyle gains than any other seniors living housing model operated and maintained by our village management and staff all wrapped up in a secure, gated community.

“We understand our residents wish to be treated in a way that is thoughtful, considered and caring so they can enjoy more freedom and have more time to rest and relax.

“We know our residents expect quality and appreciate attention to detail which is what drives us to create value and more memorable experiences.

“Our Ingenia Gold Card discounts opens our residents up to access and explore our Ingenia Holidays accommodation offerings in over 20 stunning locations in prime waterfront locations, vineyard settings, on major transit routes and everywhere in between.

“The Ingenia Care team and their new Wellbeing Program is there for you when you need it giving you peace of mind to plan ahead. Our aim is to identify your support needs every step of the way and help make the care process as easy as possible so you can continue to live independently.

“Our vision is to create Australia’s best lifestyle communities and we deliver on this promise by ensuring our residents feel a sense of belonging in their community and connection to each other,” Nikki said.

• Downsize and free up your equity
• No stamp duty, no council rates and no exit fees
• No refurbishment fees
• Flexible and low-maintenance lifestyle
• A place to call home in a safe and secure community
• Connect with like-minded friends and enjoy social activities
• Take advantage of the Ingenia Wellbeing Program and Ingenia Care
• Lock and leave to travel
• Pets welcome
• Ingenia Gold Card providing 25% discount with Ingenia Holidays

Seniors Urged to Take Advantage of Unlocking Home Equity


As median house prices continue to climb across most capital cities, many asset-rich cash-poor seniors are missing out on an opportunity to build on their existing home equity and improve their living standards.

Author and finance expert, Rachel Lane said everyone had the option of staying in their own home, but many found it to be too much maintenance or too lonely, or they require a financial injection.

“Seniors can boost their cash reserves by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling while prices are high and moving into more affordable accommodation.

According to Ms Lane, there is great confusion amongst many people about the types of affordable housing available.

“Senior homeowners looking to downsize needn’t be competing in the private market against homeowners and investors, which is a common fear, as there are a variety of traditional and new home options to suit,” Ms Lane said.

“Lifestyle-focused land lease communities for example are one of the newest catering to this specific market.

“While the homes on offer are of an increasingly high quality, the entry price point is kept low since residents lease, rather than own the land, with weekly fees in the $120-$160 range. This pricing model eliminates the need to pay stamp duty, entry and exit fees and in some cases, the resident is then eligible for rent assistance.

“One such operator – Ingenia Lifestyle – has over 30 communities across New South Wales and Queensland and Victoria.

“For example, in south west Brisbane, the median house prices in areas like Shailer Park ($520,000) and Greenbank ($576,000) are double the $251,000 starting price point for the nearby Ingenia Lifestyle Chambers Pines community.

“I would urge seniors to pay close attention to median house prices in their area and affordable housing price points like these to get a better sense of the type of cash reserves they might be able to access.”

“While housing affordability is generally considered a young person’s issue restricting entry to the market, it is also a major problem for those that do own a home but rely on a low weekly income,” Ms Lane said.