Tips for retirement home buyers

Nine things to consider when looking to buy a retirement property.

1.  First decide whether a retirement home is the right choice. 

If you'd rather keep the home in which your children grew up, equity release schemes offer a range of options which allow you to draw capital or raise income from your home without having to move.

Find out more about equity release...

2.  Make sure the property is resaleable. 

You may in the future want to move for reasons that so far haven't even occurred to you.

3.  Location is vital. 

As you grow older you will need to be in easy reach of all amenities.

4.  Allow for the cost of repairs and maintenance. 

If you buy a leasehold flat or sheltered accommodation, take account of any ground rent and service charges. Find out whether they are fixed or will rise and, if so, by what amount.

What are the different types of retirement accommodation?

5.  Insulation

Energy bills are unlikely to fall, so make sure the home you choose is well insulated.

6.  Seek advice

Downsizing will release a lump sum which can make life more comfortable, but it's vital to take professional advice on where best to invest it. It may not be a good idea for younger retired people to invest all their house capital into a retirement property. Begin with an independent financial adviser.

Read our top tips for downsizing...

7.  Don't forget tax

If the amount involved is substantial enough to leave your estate liable to inheritance tax, discuss tax options with your adviser.

8.  Factor in your savings

Be aware that savings may disqualify you from claiming benefits or receiving a council tax reduction - and might result in a liability for care-home fees should you or your partner need long-term care in the future.

9. Know all of the costs

Be aware that many purpose-built retirement properties will levy weekly service charges.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.