Selling up and moving is a big step and how do you always know that you’ve made the right decision? There are ways to avoid making mistakes, by trying before you buy.
By Ginetta Vedrickas (Award Winning Property Journalist)
Whether you’re thinking of moving in the UK or abroad, property search agents such as Black Brick’s
Casper Harvard Wells advises renting out your own home and renting in the area you want to live in: “If all goes well you can make that move permanent by selling and buying but, if it has been a mistake, nothing has been lost.”
Harvard Wells says renting makes financial sense given the costs of buying and selling but he finds downsizers often make a common mistake: “Downsizers with families make the move after their children have left home but before grandchildren have arrived and then find themselves without the space to have people to stay or in a property that is not at all child friendly.” Having sold large family homes, Harvard Wells’ clients often want smart new city pads, but he warns that new build service charges can be pricey. Battersea Power Station’s £7 per foot charge equates to £70,000 over ten years ‘far more than downsizers would have spent maintaining their home’.
Emma Seaton, director of buying agency Prime Purchase
, agrees that renting before selling makes sense when moving area but tapping into a buying agent’s expertise is a good alternative: “We know our areas and can impart the information that can really only be gained from living in an area for five years or more. This will hopefully save you the need to rent and learn about the best town or village to be in, enabling you to buy the right property straightaway,” says Seaton adding that decent rental property is often hard to find.
Renting a retirement property
Moving into a retirement development is an even bigger decision but you don’t have to make the big financial decision to buy, why not try renting? Girlings Retirement Rentals
increasingly sees older people trying out their rental schemes, and many decide to rent long-term. Rentals can be as short or long term as you like, so you can see if you prefer city, coastal or even an urban location. Gillian Girling believes renters now appreciate the benefits of downsizing and moving into purpose built retirement developments which are often centrally located, near amenities and because they no longer want the burden and cost of property upkeep. Most are available on ‘assured tenancies’ which offer the same level of security as home ownership. “For retired couples, downsizing and renting a more manageable property gives them the freedom to just get on with enjoying their retirement, without looking after a large home. Renting on an assured tenancy offers the chance to move to a new location, perhaps by the coast or city centre, without the commitment of buying or being outpriced of popular retirement hotspots, and then being able to live there for as long as you want.”
Two-beds are popular with downsizers who use the flexible accommodation as a second bedroom, dining room or study. “Adaptability is key to their popularity, even though most developments also have a guest suite for visiting family and friends to stay,” says Girling. Rent includes; service charges, property maintenance, plus resident’s lounge, communal gardens, 24-hour emergency call system and manager. Those seeking a city location will appreciate the penthouse at Browning Court in Newcastle upon Tyne. With garden views, the two- bedroom, two-bathroom apartment costs £995 per month.
House sitting can be a great way of getting to know an area, or type of property without taking the plunge of buying and you could even earn some cash doing it. Looking after people’s homes when they go away is a great way to get to know an area says Alan Irvine, of Homesitters Ltd
. “We are increasingly finding more retirees wanting to become home and pet sitters. Not only does it appeal to people’s sense of adventure, giving them the opportunity to explore the UK and stay in some amazing homes, they also get to spend time caring for people’s dogs, cats and other pets, whilst earning a modest remuneration to supplement a pension.” Homesitters has properties across the UK and sitters earn at least £11 per day, more if they’re looking after pets, plus a daily food allowance of £8.20.
Janet rented a retirement property and hasn't looked back
Originally from Surrey, author Janet Hilderley, 76, discovered she loved Dorset after visiting a friend in Bournemouth. Janet decided to rent a small Girlings’ apartment in Bournemouth where she lived happily for two years. After her friend sadly died, Janet wanted a fresh start so she moved into another Girlings’ property in Wimborne. She credits being able to rent a retirement apartment for giving her the freedom to move: “Wimborne is a lovely little market town and there is always lots going on. I’m interested in local history and enjoy attending events at the local museum and concerts at the Minster. I’ve made new friends in Kingsmead Court who often pop in for a coffee. Old friends like to visit too because it’s such a lovely area.”
If you do decide to try before you buy and need somewhere to keep your belongings we're more than happy to help, we have nearly 120 stores nationwide so there is bound to be a Safestore facility near you.