Be realistic when you choose a retirement location

A cottage by the sea is such a common retirement dream that it has become almost a cliché, but it does clearly illustrate the point that many people’s hopes for a happy retirement are all tied up with real estate.

And this suggests that they need to give the issue some serious consideration long before they do actually retire, and try to take health, affordability and family issues into account as well as their dream location, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“For example, if you are attracted to the idea of a retirement residence in the mountains because you like to hike and climb, you should think about whether you will still be enjoying these activities at 70, 80 or 90. You also need to think about how far your favoured destination is from medical facilities, shops and family, and about it’s accessibility in various weather conditions. You may not want to drive a tricky mountain road when it’s raining, especially if your eyesight is not what it used to be.

“On the other hand, if the sea still draws you like a magnet, you need to work out whether you will be able to afford a beachfront property when you retire, or indeed whether you want the extensive upkeep that often comes with such homes.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he notes: “It may be better to live away from the beach in a less costly location that will leave you more money for the sporting activities, hobbies and travel you have promised yourself.

“And speaking of travel, you really do need to consider how far you want to live from your children, grandchildren or other family members. Long trips by car, plane or train to visit them can become difficult to undertake and even painful for those with achy joints and muscles.”

Finally, Everitt says, if you are planning to buy a retirement residence now and pay it off before you actually do retire, you should not automatically choose a second home in a holiday destination because that is what suits your family now. “Rather consider what your own needs will be in 10 or 20 years’ time when you may not enjoy being swamped every season by crowds of holidaymakers.”

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