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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 10th October 2018

Where's Your Dream Retirement Home?

Do you dream of downsizing and getting away from it all, or are you drawn to the buzz of a city or the sound of the sea?

The wonderful thing about retirement is you have the time to choose where’s right for you. Retirement offers a chance at a fresh start where people can reinvent themselves.

If many parts of the country seem appealing to you, get out and see them. Start well in advance of retirement to visit up to five or six places on your list. Narrow down your choice to three or less, then go and spend several weeks in each to weigh up the pros and cons of day-to-day living. If you are staying with friends or in a hotel, don’t be tempted to stay inside – get out and explore, meet the locals, see the amenities, after all this could be your new home. Nothing, not even the internet, beats first-hand experience.

The result of the EU referendum in June 2016 means that many people are likely to have put their plans to retire to Spain, France or other member states on hold due to the great deal of uncertainty surrounding what effect Brexit will actually have on our ability to live in Europe.

While questions, such as the cost of healthcare and whether the government continue to offer annual state pension increases to those who have retired to EU countries, remain unanswered, it may be worth considering the alternatives if you are eager to retire to sunnier climes or more scenic surroundings.

Britain’s most popular retirement hotspots have traditionally been in the south of England thanks to the better climate, not to mention proximity to the continent. However, as you would expect, properties in the most sought-after areas often command the highest prices. Many of the most desirable retirement locations are also popular holiday destinations so if you’re looking to buy here, you’re competing not just with other retirees but also families looking for second homes or a holiday homes.

Likewise, try to avoid areas where there are likely to be commuters pushing up house prices as well. Here in the South East many rural areas are popular with young families who want to move out of London (school catchment areas are a big draw) while still travelling to the city for work.

Do your research

Before making any decisions about where you want to live, it helps to do some research. Here’s where to start:

• Population, economy, attractions, general information.
• Climate.
• Cost of living – it’s likely to be more expensive living in the city of Canterbury than a small Highland village.
• Crime rates.
• Healthcare and other amenities.
• Travel connections.

Other points to consider

Is Skype close enough to your grandkids? With technology at our fingertips and travel easier than ever before, people can often misjudge the distance they are putting between themselves and their families. So, if staying involved with the family is important to you and plays a major role in your life, it’s likely better to avoid that expensive move away from those you love only to have to undo it a few years later.

Are you open to renting? Try living somewhere for a while before you move there, especially if it is a favourite holiday spot. Renting can give you a chance to see the area from the perspective of a residential neighbourhood, not a hotel. Even if a long-term rental doesn’t appeal to you, thanks to Airbnb you can easily experience different locations for a few weeks or months.

Is it on your doorstep? Enjoyable life is made up of little day-to-day pleasures like being able to get a cup of tea in a cafe or fish and chip supper close to home. Are these services near by? Will you be able to access them in the future if you don’t have your own car? Ask yourself the same question when it comes to church, the library, hairdresser, optician, shops, and other amenities and facilities.

What’s wrong with where you live now? According to figures, about 85% of retirees end up remaining in the area where they raised their families. While a country community, warmer climate, seaside charm may all appeal, think about what you’ll be leaving behind.

Image: Licensed by Ingram Image

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