How do you go about finding the perfect retirement property once you’ve decided it’s time to downsize?
For many older residents around the UK, keeping what used to be the family home maintained, heated and in the same state it was for years can be a difficult task that just gets harder and harder with age. When they retire, it can start to feel a bit big and empty.
It’s a reality that leads to many thinking about how to sell their house quickly, unlocking the finance in their property and letting them downsize, finding something more appropriate and perhaps even seeking out that holiday house they’ve always dreamed of.
If you are in this boat, do you know how to best deal with your next step? How do you begin to go about finding your ideal new house? We look at some top tips.
Know what you want
Finding the perfect home can be like seeking out the proverbial needle in a haystack, but if you know what aspects of a property are going to be most important to you, you’ll have a bit of a head start in your quest.
The best way to do this is to sit down and discuss what it is you’re looking for and list the priorities in order of importance. The number of bedrooms in the home, the size of kitchen, gardens and parking availability are just a some common things that people will look to prioritise in a new home.
More common these days are also factors like how fast the internet connection in the area could potentially be and the amount of time and money you would be prepared to spend re-decorating and renovating.
If you are working with an agent, it can make the job of finding a home far easier if you write down everything you want and then take it to them – this way they will be able to create a shortlist of homes that match your criteria, which will save you sifting through a number of different homes that you don’t want to live in.
Location, location, location
Chances are, if you’ve retired and are looking to downsize, you will also be considering moving to a different area to where you live at the moment. This can be daunting, as you can never be sure that the place you choose will be exactly what you’re looking for.
However, if you do some groundwork before you start looking at houses, you’ll be able to pick out some areas around the country that will give you exactly what you’re after.
If you will be trying to get out and about a lot when you’re in your new home, for example, you might want to have a look at the Transport Direct website to seek out details on public transport in your potential new locations.
Being close by to shops, doctors and leisure amenities is important to many people. The best place to check the facilities available in any area is on Google Maps.
Other aspects to keep your eye on can include population, demographics, health care and crime statistics in the area, all of which you will be able to find information on with a simple look at the Office For National Statistics’ latest reports.
And of course, there’s no real substitute for just getting in the car to go and check out potential new places to settle. It can be time consuming, sure, but you get the chance to seek out recreational activities, see first-hand what the area is like and even speak to some of the locals for an unbiased opinion.
New vs existing
Will you be looking to get your hands on a brand new home when you move, or do you prefer existing property? Either way, it’s important to know the pros and cons of both.
For example, you may be able to get a new home that’s perfect for moving into without doing any extra work, but it will cost you a little more in the first place. Also, it will often be the case that it takes time to settle and needs work to fix issues that arise in the first couple of years in the structure.
On the flip side, existing homes will be cheaper to buy initially, but you need to consider the cost of fixing it up and making it look perfect for you to live in from the off.