Buying for Retirement

25 April 2019

In the UK, 33% of people aged 45-65 say that they will move for their retirement years. Planning your retirement is important so that the transition from busy working life to a more leisurely retirement is smooth – especially as most retirees will quickly add that whilst they are happy to move for their retirement, they most certainly don’t want to have to move again a few years later!

An Increasingly Popular Idea

Before discussing the points that need to be considered for your retirement property, there is a interesting developing trend. An increasing number of people are now buying their retirement property whilst they are still in full time employment as they can secure a mortgage with a lower interest rate and can start paying it off earlier.

This second property is rented out so that the rental income helps to offset their mortgage repayment. Of course, buying the property sooner also has the added attraction that it is an investment as the property will only increase in value.

Having given you something to really think about, what other points need to be considered?

Location, Location, Location

As always, this is a key point to success! Would you like to live in the same area, move either to the town or countryside or follow the trend of many retirees and head to Spain, France or other popular locations?

Importantly, this is a joint decision and if you don’t agree, a compromise needs to be discussed. If you are thinking of moving away – either within the UK or abroad, it is important to assess exactly how important family and friends are to you.

Whilst emails, Skype and WhatsApp are all fantastic forms of communication, they are not the same as being in the same room with a cup of tea in your hand and time on your side! The main ‘crunch’ time seems to be the arrival of the first (or subsequent) grandchild and many couples find themselves pulled back to their home area to enjoy the new addition to the family.

Accessibility to Amenities

Wherever you decide is perfect for your retirement, it is imperative to remember that you will not always be driving. It makes sense to be within walking distance of a small supermarket and medical centre and to be close to good bus routes and/or train stations to make getting around easier. If you enjoy travelling, just how easy will it be to get from your prospective home to the airport? Does the airport offer a good selection of flights to where you want to go or are they seasonal?

Is the Property the Right Size?

If you are looking forward to a relaxed retirement, it makes sense to buy a property that is a modest size and is easy to clean – and heat. Unless you absolutely adore gardening, it is sensible not to buy too much garden, or if you are happy to do so, can it be modified at a later date when you are not quite so fit and able as you are now?

Many couples opt for a bungalow or apartment where everything is on one level – which definitely makes sense! If you have chosen a house, is there the option to convert a downstairs room into a bedroom if needed? Other points for consideration include whether the rooms are spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair easily and if it is an older property, can a wheelchair fit comfortably through the door frames? Is the staircase easy to negotiate? If necessary, is there room for a chair lift to be installed in the future?

When considering the size of the property, it really is not necessary to have several spare rooms for visiting family – if they all visit at once, a sofa bed will be perfect and grandchildren like the idea of ‘indoor camping’ at Nana and Gramps!

Get Good Financial Advice – Early

It is well worth seeking sound financial advice as soon as you start planning for your retirement. It is essential to calculate your future income and your expected expenditure. You must double check all the household expenses before you buy to ensure that you will be able to afford to live there comfortably – and still have the money to do all the things you plan to do.

If you find that after all the calculations that pennies will be tight, think of clever – but realistic – ways in which you can earn some money to boost your funds – these can include everything from dog sitting to part time work in one of your local shops.

With so many wonderful plans for your sunshine years, it really is sensible to start discussing buying for your retirement as soon as possible so that you can both look forward to the type of retirement you have been looking forward to.

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande (MNAEA MICBA MARLA) began in the property business in the late 1980’s and is a Director of House Buy Fast and helped to found The National Association of Property Buyers in 2013. He has worked closely with The Property Ombudsman to develop a Code of Practice for Residential Property Buying Companies.