According to a recent survey by Lloyds Bank, 2.5 million people, including two thirds of those over 65, are seriously considering downsizing to a smaller home in the next 12 months.
People move to free capital or reduce bills, finance property purchases by children or grandchildren, and so on. But a new property with half the space may not cost half the price!
Downsizers are generally better off financially if moving away from London. But only around 3% of new houses or flats are built specifically for the needs of those over 65. Consequently, many people may not be able to find a suitable retirement home easily, if at all. It follows that some properties will have to be adapted to their needs. However, it is a sad fact that retirement homes rarely turn out to be good financial investments, because of higher than expected purchasing, selling and running costs.
Buyers need to ensure that pension and/or other income is sufficient to cover expenses at the time of purchase as well as later, particularly as on average we are all we all living longer. So, what to do? Our 10 top tips are:-
1.Don’t leave it too late. Energy is advisable to build a new life and enjoy it;
2.Try to ensure your new home satisfies present as well as near future needs;
3.Preferred properties should offer access to appropriate activities and amenities;
4.Good accessibility to transport, shops, doctors, hospitals, leisure options etc. is essential;
5.Your new home should, as far as possible, be capable of adaptation e.g. to potential external and internal level changes, open plan living and/or stair lift etc;
6.Try to gauge whether family and friends are likely to be able to visit relatively easily;
7.Allow for stamp duty, legal, moving and improvement/future maintenance costs;
8.Before making a financial commitment, rent the property if possible for perhaps 6 months, especially if moving a long distance, and view in different seasons;
9.Consider ease of making alternative layouts of the property for likely future needs.
10.Allow enough time for the move as trading down can be more challenging than trading up – not least because of the amount of clutter to clear
Don’t forget before any move, seek advice from an experienced chartered surveyor/estate agent. Jeremy Leaf & Co have been involved in countless moves for more than the last 30 years!