Retirement Living: Your Questions Answered

Experts at McCarthy & Stone developments answer some of the most frequently asked questions about retirement living

Can I visit McCarthy & Stone developments so I know more about them before I buy?

Of course – and you’re encouraged to do just that. All you need to do is make an appointment and our friendly staff can show you round, answering any questions you might have. You can even enjoy some time in the communal lounge or on-site restaurant or bistro (at Retirement Living PLUS developments) to get a real feel for the experience. There are developments right across the country – find one at or call 0800 201 4782.

Is every development the same?

Not at all: each building is designed to fit into its surroundings and be part of the wider community – some even feature bungalows. But every McCarthy & Stone development is built to the same specifications. Individual apartments are larger and lighter than you might expect. They’re specifically designed for the way we live as we get older, with plug sockets are set higher in walls and bathrooms having slip-resistant floors, for example. In Retirement Living PLUS kitchens you can even open windows at the touch of a button rather than leaning across a deep counter. And as developments cater to people of similar ages, you get the peace and privacy you want. Unlike ordinary flats, you won’t find teenage residents playing loud music or twenty-something neighbours having all-night parties. Just people from your own generation, whom you can socialise with just as much, or as little, as you choose.

Are the properties expensive to buy – and to run?

Prices vary across the country and sales teams, or the website, can tell you what’s available and at what price. After moving in, you may find running costs are lower than you’re used to – because the homes are energy efficient, well insulated and keep utility bills under control. A service charge covers the costs of running the development, such as the house manager, the 24-hour emergency-call system, the camera door-entry system, buildings insurance, water and sewerage costs, maintenance of the shared areas, exteriors and grounds, plus a sinking fund for future work. You get a lot for your money – the sales team at your preferred development can give you figures on request. Some residents say the service charge is lower than the annual bill for maintaining an older family home*.

Then there’s the increasingly popular option to rent of course, see below for more details.

What about the costs at Retirement Living PLUS properties?

The service charges here include everything you get at Retirement Living developments, plus the cost of the staff who are on-site to help 24 hours a day, the running of the restaurant or bistro and the weekly hour of domestic help on offer at most developments. If you want or need extra assistance as time goes by, staff can help you find it and explain any costs. Better still, McCarthy & Stone also have an Entitlements Team, who can help explain what benefits or allowances you can claim as you get older.

Do I have to sell my old home before I move in?

Not at all. There is a range of ways to move into a McCarthy & Stone development, including renting and part buy, part rent. Some prefer to let the old family home, while some residents use a ‘rent to buy’ option. Ask staff and you’ll find there are plenty of flexible choices to meet your needs, including the McCarthy & Stone Part Exchange service where you effectively gain a cash buyer, removing the risk of problems with property chains. You won’t need an estate agent either, so you will save money on fees.

Will my family be able to resell my apartment at a profit?

While it is difficult to predict how the housing market will perform, it’s safe to say the demand for good-quality, well-run retirement living homes remains strong. McCarthy & Stone’s in-house Resales Team are committed to supporting homeowners and their families when they come to resell and have reported that most of their new managed properties increase in value when resold.

Won’t I feel isolated living in a retirement development?

You should feel the exact opposite! Developments are designed with relaxed friendships in mind. They all have roomy communal spaces where you can chat or take part in organised activities – days can start with morning coffee and end with a film night. Watching something like a Wimbledon Final with friends can make it even more fun. But there’s no need to mix if you don’t want to.

On a wider scale, McCarthy & Stone developments are set in perfect locations, close to or well connected with local towns, villages or communities.

Can my friends and family stay?

Don’t think giving up the spare bedrooms of your old family home means you’ve nowhere for guests to stay. Most developments have hotel-style guest suites available from £25 a night. Book family or friends in and you can enjoy a relaxed catch-up – without any laundry or clearing up to do afterwards

Is car parking available?

On-site car parking is provided but arrangements may vary between developments. The Sales team at your nearest or preferred development will be able to provide more details. Some developments also benefit from a newly launched car share scheme^, so you can enjoy the use of a car when you need it without the hassle of owning one.

Is help available for my move?

McCarthy & Stone offer a Smooth Move service which makes the whole moving process easier for you and will help you feel instantly at home. They have a team of specialist removers who can help you declutter, pack up your belongings and take them to your new apartment before carefully unpacking them again. The team can even hang your pictures and mirrors, put up shelving and do any other small task that’ll soon have your apartment feeling like home.

The Smooth Move service also includes £2,500 towards your estate agent fees and £1,000 towards legal costs.


For more information please call 0800 201 4782 or visit 

*According to the findings of Housing LIN, an independent consultancy

^At an additional charge and subject to availability 

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