Retirees are re-inventing family homes
Downsizing to smaller properties has long been a favourite option for retirees whose children have flown the nest, but there is a new trend emerging in the tighter market that makes it more difficult to find buyers for their family homes.

“Now, instead of bemoaning the fact that they are knocking about in a too-large home, seniors are revelling in the fact that they have space to accommodate hobbies and interests that had to be put aside while they brought up their families,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“And so they are not only converting vacant rooms into guest suites and private studies but increasingly, into specialist spaces such as full-on media rooms that are soundproofed and furnished with sound systems, large television sets and comfortable chairs.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, he says other popular options are:

* Libraries - complete with reading lamps and easy chairs - that house a collection of books built up over decades;

* Wine “cellars” that show off a fine wine collection and can be used to host tastings;

* Play rooms stocked with toys where grandchildren can have free reign during visits;

* Games rooms for playing bridge or chess or billiards with friends;

* Private gyms;

* Craft or hobby rooms; and

* Zen or meditation rooms.

“These changes are generally positive and enable retirees to continue to derive enjoyment from a home they have often spent many years paying off,” Everitt says.

“However, they do have to be careful not to over-capitalise the property or to make it so exotic that it will be difficult to sell later on, and so should first discuss their plans with a knowledgeable local agent.”

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