We all dream of a blissful retirement, in which nine to five is a distant memory and elevenses are punctual. Whether you retire early or on the dot, want to tick off a bucket list, or just looking to chance upon adventure, your own retirement home is the one comfort you cannot forgo. A home offers security, stability, freedom, and capital, especially when your earning power has worn off. Homeownership is a solid foundation for your retirement and offers a peace of mind. However, there are key facts to consider when purchasing your retirement home.
Thinking of retirement leads you down country lanes, and for good reasons, too. Tranquillity is almost a hunger we want to satiate in later life. The countryside is ideal but weighing in on the pros and cons of your choice matters when choosing a retirement-friendly location. You don’t want to be isolated or too far from amenities or the hospital. A well-served neighbourhood is vital. You should have easy access to shops, chemists, your GP, and train stations & bus stops.
Decide whether you want to live near the coast or the hills. Consider the distance to the high street and how you plan to get around – driving or public transport. Look into travel links and whether they are convenient for your most frequent journeys. Make sure to know how long it takes by bus or train to the nearest town or city. Learn about local taxi services and how long they take to get to your potential home. It should also be a place where an ambulance and emergency services can reach without delay.
Good neighbours are vital too. Social support and community are essential for a retired life. Social isolation and loneliness are problems associated with older people in retirement. One older person on every street in Scotland feels lonely all or most of the time. It is a public health crisis, dangerous to a person’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Choose communities with an active and welcoming atmosphere, where you can build friendships and engage in social activities when buying a retirement property. It doesn’t have to be a retirement community, but helpful neighbours are always important. New build developments offer design features, amenities, and community. It is easier to form social ties in a newly established community.
Explore the local community and social opportunities in the area. Look for community centres, village halls, social clubs, and activities that align with your interests like fishing or golfing. Take a look at local activities in and around the area you choose. Consider volunteer opportunities that can provide a sense of belonging and support.
House and property
Before you put down your pension pot for a thatched cottage with roses around the door, you need to be aware of things like accessibility, safety, comfort, utility bills, renovations, and maintenance costs. Spending your retirement fixing up an old home or retrofitting it for better convenience should be out of the equation. After all, you want to enjoy life, not spend your time and money double-glazing or insulating your home.
Moving into a new home ensures you don’t have to worry about pesky repairs or retrofitting an existing home may pose on you. Look for new builds with energy efficiency. Well-insulated homes with energy-efficient central heating and modern fixtures and fittings save you money on energy bills and upkeep costs. Retirement housing should be damp-free and drought-free. If not, it can impose a health high-risk for older people.
According to research by Age UK Scotland, 76% of older people were always concerned about paying their energy bills, and 4 in 10 people over the age of 50 believed that they were living in fuel poverty.
You may want to also look into a garage for secure parking, wheelchair accessibility, en suites, intercoms, anti-slip flooring, etc. If you are buying off-plan from a developer, learn what changes they can make to your home to make it more convenient for you.
Proximity to support networks
Buying a retirement home near friends and family means you are closer to a reliable support network. It also allows you to spend time with children and grandchildren. It allows them to provide care for you after surgery or a hospital stay without too much inconvenience. Being able to visit your friends and family frequently or have them visit you promotes a healthy social life.
Stay clear of older properties, especially period homes, as these may present numerous maintenance requirements in the long term. Leaky roofs, unstable walls, loose floorboards, water damage, termites, broken drain pipes, or poor water pressure can drain your wallet and cause repetitive maintenance issues. These inconveniences may spring upon you suddenly when you are feeling poorly or recuperating, which can make life more difficult.
New build homes have brand new components and fittings. They also come with a structural warranty that extends for a decade, which means you will not have to foot the bill for any repairs.
Parks and outdoor recreation
Most of us reserve our best-loved interests and hobbies for retirement. Whether gardening, painting, pottery, sailing, or nature rambling, the great outdoors plays a crucial role in a fulfilling retirement. Green spaces, parks, communal areas, woodlands, rivers, and the coast all improve the quality of recreation. Whether you are a history lover with an affinity for old castles or a keen golfer who want to tee off to your heart’s content, learn what your area of choice offers your interests.
Retirement is about living the rest of your life without worries or burdens. The home you choose to live plays a role in that worry-free life. A quality home with modern comforts and adaptable specifications adds to the happiness you anticipate in your retirement. GS Brown developments bring you varied homes in astutely-chosen locations. Live in well-connected, amenity-surrounded, and picturesque select locations in the Scottish countryside. Where would you spend your well-earned retirement?