Retirement Options

retirement options

Options for retirement

In regards to retirement, there are naturally a number of options available. Whether it’s moving in with the family, retiring abroad, moving into a smaller property or staying at home, each option will have it’s appeal to each person.

One popular option is new build properties specifically aimed at older people over 60, (in some cases 55). These retirement properties give individuals the opportunity to live an independent life in a development that is occupied by similarly older residents who will often have many interests in common with each other

One of the main advantages of these retirement flats are that they’re secure as well as being economical to run and relatively easy to manage. They give comfort, privacy and the emotional well-being that comes with having your own home and being surrounded by your own possessions. These properties usually have their own maintenance. This means residents never have to worry about having to cut the grass or carry out other strenuous manual work in or around the new house. The consistently well-kept surroundings are, in fact, just one of the many bonuses in being in a retirement property.

Often, after moving into such a retirement apartment, many buyers express how they wished they had moved into such a place earlier. It gives both satisfaction to the retired individual and also peace of mind to their family. It’s reassuring to know a retired family member is in a place they enjoy being in as well as it being safe and secure.

For those wishing to move into a retirement property, there are numerous options, such as:

Retirement living

These are developments built by companies who specialise in retirement properties. The properties can only be sold to over 60’s with places some accepting over 55’s. These apartments are built with an emphasis on security, lifestyle and giving overall peace of mind to the resident. Each retirement property is self-contained that means it has things like a fully-equipped kitchen. Typically, the individual who moves into these developments are active and, in turn, enjoy an active social life. They don’t require medical assistance or, if they do, have a spouse or family member who can help them.

These retirement developments are known for known for having a good, happy atmosphere. Usually, there is a shared commitment in the development to look after each other. For example, in the case of severe weather, owners can get together and make sure everyone is safe and sound. Many owners of these properties have second homes abroad. It’s another attraction that they know when they go overseas, their properties in the UK are well looked after and secure.

These properties also give individual privacy yet have community facilities. Typically, these include a lift, laundry room, guest suite and a resident’s lounge. It gives a sense of community that is an additional attraction for many. There is also a house manager who is responsible for the overall running of the development.

Assisted living 

These properties are designed for individuals who require a little more assistance in order to keep their independence. The properties are generally smaller and easier to manage. They have a kitchenette equipped with items such as a microwave and fridge. Bathrooms are optimised for disabled use. These developments are overseen by an estate management team who are on call 24 hours a day. The properties, as well as the overall complex, offer a more extensive range of facilities designed to give residents a more independent living environment in later life. The support services for these developments include a restaurant with waiting staff, on-site staff 24 hours a day as well as domestic assistance. It’s aimed to offer both complete security that comes with on-site support as well as giving welcome independence.

Tailored care living

These developments are designed for residents that may have difficulties with everyday living in the home. In order to ease these difficulties, a range of support and care services are available. This means a move to full residential care needn’t be considered. Just as importantly, ownership of the home is retained. Communal facilities typically include a restaurant with waiting staff, a hair salon, hobbies room and therapy room. In addition, domestic service is available. Each resident has their own specific care plan. This means they only pay for the specific care they need. This care is monitored and adapted if circumstances change, for instance, in the case of ill-health. Other services available include residents being given medication prompting and bathing as well as being accompanied on social events or shopping trips.

Living in a cheaper and cleaner way According to research, owners of older properties can pay as much as three times for their energy bills as those in new build properties. One of the main reasons for this is that new houses have newer and stricter environmental standards which results in them being much more energy efficient. For older residents who want to keep their financial independence, this is an important benefit in buying a new house.

The energy efficiency of two properties was compared by a qualified, independent assessor (1). The first property was a traditional, semi-detached house that dated back to the early nineteen hundreds. The second property was a new build retirement property. The first, traditional property’s fuel bill was approximately £1,408 over a year. For the new build retirement apartment the annual energy bill was just £525 (2). This difference of nearly a £1,000 highlights the big savings that can be made in terms of energy costs with a new house. Similarly, it was found that CO2 emissions were four times less in the new build home than the traditional semi-detached property.

The energy efficiency of the two homes was also compared using thermal imagery. These thermal images are able to capture the heat lost from each property during a typically cold night in January. With the older property, heat loss was significantly higher especially around the windows. The red, white and pale yellow tones indicating major heat loss with the semi-detached property was in stark contrast to the relatively minor heat loss shown by the purple and blue of the new build retirement flat. This is just another example of how a new house can not just save money on energy bills but be a warmer, more comfortable environment to live in.

1) Research was carried out on behalf of McCarthy and Stone by IRT Surveys Ltd, Dundee
2) Costs are based on the average national energy prices.

Details of these costs are as follows:
Lighting – £139.80 (Semi-detached house) and £48.67 (New house)
Heating – £113.04 (Semi-detached house) and £389.76 (New house)
Hot Water £155.28 (Semi-detached house) and £87.14 (New house)

An easier move

There are many advantages a new houses gives to buyers over older properties. In addition to generally having cheaper fuel bills, in terms of improvements and maintenance, as well as the overall upkeep of a property, buyers can save a substantial amount of money. When adding in the numerous financial incentives and schemes available for buying new houses, buyers can save even more. New build houses are a major part of house builders sales nowadays and they’re very keen to offer all kinds of extras to welcome potential buyers to these new housing developments. It’s not just initiatives like the Part Exchange Scheme which cuts out the stress of being in a chain. It’s added bonuses such as help with removals or having stamp duty paid. A new house may also mean a smaller home which often involves fewer belongings to transport. There’s also help and advice with the legal side of moving home. Equity release

An option available to people wishing to move into a new build retirement property is equity release. It helps raise money towards the purchase or the living expenses that come with such a property. Many lenders are willing to loan money to those who are no longer working and receive a pension.

Different types of mortgages are available including the following:

Interest only mortgages

With an interest only mortgage, you only pay interest on the amount of money you borrow during the term of the mortgage. At the end of the mortgage term, you use assets/savings you have to pay off the total amount borrowed.

Lifetime mortgages

This popular type of equity release allows you to borrow money against the value of your property. There are a number of ways you can do this:

Lump sum only – After a lump sum is released, there are no capital or interest repayments to be made during your lifetime
Cash reserve/drawdown plan – Money is able to be drawn as and when you wish to do so. Usually, this is over an agreed period of time and, again, there are no capital or interest repayments during your lifetime.
With either type of lifetime mortgage plan, it’s only on the sale of the property that the capital plus interest is paid back.

For additional information contact a specialist equity release advisor.

For different types of new build retirement properties, head over to WhatHouse?, here.