There are many advantages to living in a retirement community. But as Siobhan Dunsdon explains, it’s a step to take with your eyes wide open.
Contact Siobhan on 01793 615011. Alternatively, you can email her or complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
Visit our Retirement Property Conveyancing page
Striking a balance
It’s easy to see the appeal of moving to a retirement community, and an increasing number are springing up. But there’s also a balance to be struck between the benefits of living in such an environment and the direct and indirect financial costs involved.
Benefits of living in a retirement community
The day-to-day benefits of moving to a retirement property vary between developments, but typically include:
- a range of housing options to suit your requirements, circumstances, and budget.
- ready access to a variety of levels of care to meet your current and future needs.
- worry-free property maintenance.
- a safe and secure environment.
- well-maintained communal areas.
- great social opportunities and facilities.
- the ability to live independently for longer.
A move to retirement living is a major life decision, and one you should consider very carefully with your family. A significant consideration is inheritance. Our home is an asset that most of us hope to leave to our family. But leaving them a retirement property inevitably means their inheritance is depreciated and, as you will see below, possibly significantly so.
Among the other issues to reflect on are:
- Service charges, usually paid monthly, are higher for retirement properties than for standard leasehold properties. This reflects the additional staff and equipment costs, the maintenance and upkeep of communal areas, insurance, etc. Also, be aware that if your family are re-selling after you have passed away, the service charge is payable until they sell the property. That’s an important consideration, as retirement properties can sometimes take longer to sell.
- Does the development provide the additional levels of care you may require in the future? Smaller developments, in particular, may offer a more limited range of care options.
- Re-sale/exit fees may be payable to the developer when you or your family sell the property. If an exit fee is payable, it may be relatively modest, but sometimes fees can be significant. For example, we have encountered cases where the exit fee is as high as 30% of the re-sale value! As a rule of thumb, higher exit fees are more common in longer-established developments. Whilst a 30% exit fee is not the norm, we recommend always checking carefully.
- Other re-sale conditions. A typical example of a re-sale condition is limiting you to using a particular agent to market the property. Such agents are usually specialised in selling this type of property.
- Always check how many years the lease has left to run. This is particularly important when buying a property on an established development.
If you are considering buying a retirement property, it’s crucial to understand what you are committing to. So, why not contact our specialist team on 01225 462871 for some initial advice and to discuss your options?
Also, we recommend reading Age UK’s excellent and comprehensive guide to buying retirement housing.