‘We nearly rushed into a lifestyle village … but are glad we waited’

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Grey nomads and lifestyle villages
Steve, Di and Ziggy enjoy their time on the road

When grey nomads Steve and Di Cox finally sold their family home in Hervey Bay back in 2014, they readily admit they went into ‘panic mode’ when they discovered all of the lifestyle village houses they had had their eyes on had already been snapped up.

“At this point logic didn’t set in and we panicked thinking we needed to find something quickly,” said Steve. “We then found a lovely house in a lifestyle village near Ipswich in Queensland and, still overridden with panic, we made an offer and we were on the verge of settling … when reality set in.”

Realising they weren’t fully informed about all aspects of their decision, the couple took a step backwards and replaced panic with caution and logic.

“We pulled out of the sale, placed all our stuff into storage and decided to hit the road for a few months to look for the ideal place,” said Steve. “Being cashed up put us in the driver’s seat, and village managers treated us as prospective buyers rather than tyre kickers and were more responsive to our questions and concerns.”

The couple says their research exposed differences in rental security between different types of villages and also states. In particular, they realised that manufactured homes in combined caravan parks didn’t have the same security as dedicated lifestyle villages.

After two months of searching, they finally found ‘the one’ in Nambucca Heads in New South Wales.

“We own our home and can sell it anytime and get 100% of the sale, but we lease the land while having full access to the village facilities,” said Steve. “Our village has a community centre, two swimming pools, two covered barbecue areas, and a secure storage facility for our motorhome.”

Steve and Di say what they pay in rent is less than the ‘We were rushing into it’ rates, body corporate fees etc. of a townhouse or unit and, for those on pensions, rent assistance is available via Centrelink. They – and their dog Ziggy – also love the fact that that pets are allowed!

“We’ve owned our home for over three years now and we’ve very happy and, in that time, we’ve actually spent less than 18 months in it,” said Steve. “It’s so nice to be able to pack up the motorhome and hit the road knowing we have a comfortable and secure home to return to.”

Steve says any other grey nomads looking at a lifestyle village should be sure to read the village rules as they are all different, and to never settle for anything unless everyone is 100% happy.

“We’ve told our sons that when we cark it, don’t look for any money in the bank just sell the house and effects and split it between you,” he said. “Best of all, there’s no stamp duty or legal fees in a sale because the house is regarded as a chattel … Sweet!”

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