In an ideal world we would all be able to stay in the family home until the time came when we were no longer able to take care of ourselves. However, many people find that as they grow older their family home is too big and downsizing into an easier to manage property seems like a sensible solution. They may also need the equity tied up in the property to fund their retirement. But whilst buying a retirement home is the right decision for a lot of retirees, it is important that you consider your options and weigh up the pros and cons.
Is a Retirement Home the Right Choice?
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Firstly, consider whether you really need to move at all. There are many different options available to retirees, including equity release schemes and home care plans. For example, if the main reason you are considering moving to a purpose built retirement property is that you can no longer cope, organising some extra assistance with everyday tasks or looking at stairlifts could enable you to stay in your family home for many more years to come.
Different Types of Retirement Property
Once your mind is made up and you start looking at retirement properties, you will be spoilt for choice. Depending on your budget, there are many different types of retirement property on the market. Purpose built retirement villages with communal facilities and all amenities in easy reach are very popular, but there are other options, including retirement flats with a small communal lounge and an on-site manager. Or of course you could simply look at a small property within easy reach of children or other close relatives-that way you can retain your independence and still have someone on hand to provide assistance if necessary.
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It is important to be realistic about your health. The more medical problems you have the more everyday assistance you will need to maintain your independence, so bear this in mind when choosing a retirement property. Retirement villages are perfectly suited to active and sociable retirees, but if you need more help, look at other options with on-site 24 hour assistance.
Location, Location, Location
Location is extremely important when choosing a retirement home. The thought of an idyllic little bungalow on the coast might seem very attractive, but if there are no amenities nearby, public transport options are limited and your family are living two hundred miles away, you could end up isolated and lonely. Think carefully about what’s important to you and remember, the older you are the more time you will be spending at home, so the view from your windows needs to be worth looking at!
Is the Property Resalable?
You might not be thinking too far ahead, but at some point the unexpected could happen and you may find that you need to move once again. Make sure the property you buy is resalable or you could end up stuck there.
Read the Small Print
If you are considering moving into a flat in a retirement complex or sheltered accommodation, make sure you read the small print very carefully. Services charges and other extras may not be as transparent as they should be and if you are not careful you could end up being seriously caught out. This is especially the case if you are living on a fairly tight budget-an unexpected rise in ground rent or maintenance charges might cripple you financially and ending up destitute is no-one’s idea of a fantastic retirement.
Remember, all being well you could easily end up enjoying a lengthy retirement. As such, it is important that you choose the right retirement property, so make sure you take independent advice before investing in any type of retirement home.
Harold Rigby enjoys writing informative articles to help other retirees cope with life after retirement.