A HOME OF THEIR OWN: Darryl and Marcia Forster in their new Gympie home, happy to be out of retirement living.
A HOME OF THEIR OWN: Darryl and Marcia Forster in their new Gympie home, happy to be out of retirement living. Jacob Carson

We were the lucky ones: A warning to recent retirees

FOR Gympie retirees Darryl and Marcia Forster, their new villa seemed like a dream come true - with television ads promising a vision of idyllic, gleaming retirement living.

But two months after moving into their Beachmere villa, they decided perhaps it wasn't the right fit for them and chose to sell.

Which is when the trouble began.

"Well the thing is because of legislation, we couldn't do the sale ourselves - it had to be done through the owners of the retirement village," Darryl said.

"And from that point on the process just dragged on and on."

From the listing of the sale not being placed on the village's website to to a refurbishment bill in the thousands, the situation quickly turned into a battle of wills.

"There seemed to a genuine resistance against us leaving, and the costs quickly ran up," Darryl added.

It'd be another 10 months, in the middle of June this year, before the contract was signed and settled.

Between a sizeable exit fee and the 14-day cooling off period that comes with retirement home sales, the Forsters were feeling the pinch.

"Our money was largely tied up with the sale while it was waiting to be approved," Darryl said.

"So basically we had to find temporary accommodation in the meantime."

The Forsters wanted to thank local agents John and Magaret Cochrane for arranging the accommodation.

"We ended up staying their for around five weeks, which is far longer than we'd originally planned," Darryl said.

The Forsters said many families should seriously investigate the reality of retirement village living before committing.

After all, they said, many residents came up to them and said leaving wasn't an option anymore because of the costs involved.

"We got out early and that saved us - we were the lucky ones really," Marcia said.

"The unfortunate reality is, the longer you stay there the harder it is to leave - people can't afford the costs and they're basically locked in until they die."

"Don't believe the ads," Darryl said.

"And do your research."