We talk with Nick Freeth, the managing director of Retirement Homesearch about what to look for when searching for a retirement property and which individuals would benefit from extra care housing.
What are the most important things to keep in mind when searching for a retirement property to buy?
As we grow older, our needs change. Being in a good school catchment is not important but having easy access to shopping and medical facilities is. So location still tops the list when searching for a retirement property, followed by proximity to friends and family. A well-managed and maintained development is also something to look out for. It is important not to underestimate the emotional impact of ‘downsizing’. It is a huge step and it has to feel right. Many sellers and buyers find the process of moving home stressful, but ultimately rewarding and it can kick start a new and exciting chapter in life.
What are the main reasons people choose to move into retirement housing?
At Retirement Homesearch, we conduct a monthly survey of our most recent buyers. We generally find that the top three reasons for making the move into retirement housing are:
• Ease of maintenance
Being closer to family and friends is often featured in the results; often moving to a development where a close friend already lives is a huge motivator.
See also: The Golden Years: Healthy Retirement
Who would benefit most from extra care housing?
Residents that would benefit most are those that value the concept of independent living but find that they need some degree of extra support (24/7 site support, occasional meals and domestic cleaning). Extra care housing could be a suitable option for them as it provides a good balance of all three.
Is it important to have a recognised tenants association connected to the property you intend to buy?
Residents or tenants associations can fulfil an important function by creating a unified voice for those that live on a development. Some developments (particularly those with an on-site manager) often find the lines of communication between residents and management are already strong. If there is an association, it’s important that there are clear rules and responsibilities and that it always looks to cater for the needs of the whole development, not just a select few.
Are there additional charges or hidden fees to be wary of when considering a retirement property?
If the property is leasehold many of the costs are the same as non-retirement leasehold homes (service/maintenance and ground rent), some developments carry additional charges for sub-letting and re-sales. These can be either fixed amounts or a percentage of the selling price. They are called ‘event fees’; the lease will give the details of these charges.
See also: A Healthy Retirement
What are the steps that should be taken to re-selling such a property?
As with any property, presentation is important for those searching for a retirement property. A good estate agent will be able to advise. There are specialists, like Retirement Homesearch, who only operate in the retirement sector. Specialists in niche areas can bring additional expertise to the marketing of the property and an understanding of buyer’s needs. It is important that terms of business are clearly specified in writing and agreed by both parties.
How does a Shared Ownership Scheme work and who is suitable for it?
If you are searching for a retirement property with shared ownership, the property is jointly owned by you (or maybe even others) and a housing association or similar body. This means that people who are unable to afford the entire purchase price are still able to be part owners whilst paying an affordable rent on the remainder. This provides security and in many instances there may also be the opportunity to purchase a greater share of the equity in the future.
What are the key benefits of purchasing a retirement property?
It can extend independent living by a significant amount of time. Being freed from the worries of ongoing property maintenance and personal security are key drivers, living in a sociable environment where your fellow residents understand the constraints of ageing whilst respecting individual privacy, can be a very positive experience.
Retirement Homesearch is the UK’s number one retirement property specialist and for the past 30 years have aided thousands of customers selling or searching for a retirement property. To find out more about Retirement Homesearch and the services they provide visit their website: retirementhomesearch.co.uk
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See also: Deciding to Downsize Your Home