Downsizing vs assisted living: how to work out which is best for you
More and more of us will be relying on our properties to help fund our retirement. Guest blogger Robin King runs through the pros and cons of two ways of doing this: downsizing and assisted-living properties.
Three quarters of us are considering using the equity in our home to help fund our retirement.
That's the findings of recent research by the Equity Release Council. There are a number of ways in which you can do this. Today I'm going to look at two of them: downsizing and assisted living.
Downsizing and buying a smaller property need not mean heading straight to a retirement home. As retirees remain fitter and active for longer, many are attracted to the buzz and convenience that cities and busy town centres offer in order to enjoy their new lease of life.
Properties such as ground floor city centre apartments and modern bungalows offer good options for downsizers who are still fit and able. They are within easy reach of amenities and transport links enabling them to visit family and friends frequently.
When buying a property, I would always urge downsizers to consider the running and maintenance costs. After all, nobody wants to spend their retirement worrying about high living costs and maintenance bills. Newly built properties are known to deliver savings on energy bills. In addition, many apartments offer communal gardens for those who still want outdoor space without the hassle of the upkeep.
Assisted-living properties allow those needing some extra help to still live independently but with access to support services as and when they are needed.
Developments often offer self-contained apartments and can include communal, maintained gardens and active social communities. Such properties are also well known for their high security levels, ideal for those living on their own and ensuring that retirees feel safe.
While retirement properties offer support and care to those that need it, it is important to remember that, as with everything in life, this does come at a cost. Higher management costs can have an impact on the resale value of the property, so it is important that you seriously consider this.
Assisted-living homes can be found throughout the UK. We find that the most popular areas range from city centre London properties, to busy town locations such as Bury St Edmunds, right through to seaside locations such as Herne Bay in Kent for those who are looking for a gentler pace of life. Most are easily accessible and have have good local amenities.
Thinking of the long term
When deciding to move, retirees need to think carefully about their plans for retirement and their health and capabilities, not just now but in the near future. Those with poorer health who are finding things difficult should consider moving to assisted living properties, which provide secure homes with added features to make life much more comfortable. However, you must remember that these added features come at a cost, both during residency of the property and at resale.
Retirees who are still able to live independently should consider moving to a central apartment block that offers the same low level of up keep and maintenance, but at much lower management and resale costs.
Robin King is director of Move with Us.
What do you think? Will you be using your property to help fund your retirement? Would you prefer to downsize or go for an assisted-living property?