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How to choose the right home in a retirement village

At a glance

Choosing the right home is a big decision. Villa, townhouse or apartment? Serviced or independent? Spacious or cozy? If you’re trying to decide, this article will help. Read on for a summary of common property types, as well as a checklist of questions to ask yourself throughout the decision-making process.

Most retirement villages have a variety of independent homes to choose from, as well as an assisted living option (serviced apartments) for those looking for a little extra help.

Independent living

Low-maintenance homes designed with your comfort and quality of life in mind.


Villas tend to be the most spacious homes in a village. They are standalone properties and often have a private garden or patio. Most villas are two or three bedrooms, although one-bedroom villas are available in some villages.

Ideal for:

  • Having friends and family to stay
  • Extra space/storage
  • Pet owners (if the villa has an outdoor area)
  • Privacy


Townhouses (also known as ‘terraced houses’) share a wall with neighbouring properties. Most townhouses are two or three bedrooms, although you may find one bedroom townhouses in some villages.

Ideal for:

  • Living close to like-minded neighbours
  • Pet owners (if the townhouse has an outdoor area)
  • Those looking to downsize


Apartments are usually in the main building of a retirement village. They range in size and design, from practical one-bedroom apartments to luxury three-bedroom, two-bathroom suites.

Ideal for:

  • Living close to communal facilities
  • Added security (being within a central building)
  • Very low-maintenance lifestyle (smaller outdoor area)

Studio apartments

A studio apartment is an apartment with one main room (featuring a sleeping area, lounge area and kitchenette) and a separate bathroom. Like larger apartments, most studio apartments are in the main building of a village.

Ideal for:

  • Added security (being within a central building)
  • Living close to communal facilities
  • Extremely low-maintenance lifestyle
Learn more about Independent Living

Assisted Living

Get help with day-to-day tasks but retain the independence of living in your own home.

Serviced apartments

Serviced apartments make life easier for those who need support with day-to-day living, e.g., household chores or medical conditions. Most serviced apartments are studios or one bedroom, although you might find two-bedroom serviced apartments in some villages.

Ideal for:

  • Professional support and care
  • A strong sense of companionship
  • Healthcare
Learn more about Assisted Living

Key questions to consider

  • Do I want a guest room so friends and family can stay?
  • What are my storage needs?
  • Do I need a carpark or garage (single or double)? Is there the option to pay extra for a carpark? If yes, what are the terms, e.g. will I pay a deferred management fee on the capital costs of an extra car park?
  • Are there any mobility requirements I need to consider, e.g. does the house need to have wheelchair access or be one-level?
  • Do I want to be close to communal facilities, such as the dining room, or would I prefer a more private location in the village?
  • Does the village have any future development plans? Are there new homes in the pipeline that I would be interested in?
  • What is my ideal layout for the home, e.g. open-plan, studio, multi-level?
  • Do I want a conservatory?
  • Do I want a garden or outdoor area? If yes, what size?
  • If I’m considering apartment living, can the balcony be used all year round?
  • Is the direction the home faces important to me? For example, would I prefer a north-facing property?
  • Is the size of the kitchen important to me?
  • What additional features would I love in the home, e.g. a heat pump, new whiteware or underfloor heating?
  • What furniture or other items do I want to bring? Will they fit in homes of all sizes or only certain property types, e.g. a villa?
  • Can I bring my pet? Are pets allowed in all property types or only certain homes? NB: Some villages allow pets in villas but not apartments.
  • Do I require assistance for day-to-day living or, can I live completely independently?

Next steps

Every village is different, so it’s important to visit each village you’re interested in to get a true sense of the property types available. Browse our Directory to find villages near you.

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