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Retiring to the coast, possible park home - good idea?

(30 Posts)
mrsnonsmoker Sat 21-Jan-17 18:00:12

New to Gransnet, I imagine this has been discussed before, but we are thinking of retiring to the coast so we can clear mortgage and get a cheaper house. First of all I am worried about taking us an hours drive from our friends and family - will people come to visit, or is that going to be increasingly unlikely? I wanted to be nanny by the sea (my kids don't have kids yet) but am I more likely to be nanny that lives too far away?

secondly, I'm thinking are park homes too good to be true, looks cosy but is it? And also I think that might make it even more unlikely we'll get lots of visitors. DH isn't in great health so we can't be too isolated.

Has anyone done this and did you regret it?

Alima Sat 21-Jan-17 18:11:50

Hi mrsnonsmoker, I do not know about park homes but am sure someone on here will be here to help. We did initially retire to the south cost, ending up about 75 miles away from both our DDs. We didn't know anyone in the area. Loved it at first, lots to do with the bungalow and DH joined a bowls club. After a year or so we decided it wasn't for us and moved back from whence we came. I know others who have done a similar thing and loved it. Any future grandchildren would no doubt love to visit nanny by the sea. Not much help to you at all really!

Auntieflo Sat 21-Jan-17 18:27:52

Mrsnonsmoker, there was a review on park homes on TV recently. You have to beware that buying and selling is usually through the park homes site owner, at a percentage cost. Also residents are expected to upgrade every 10 years or so. Sites may change ownership, and the terms under which you bought, may be changed, not always to your advantage. There may be restrictions on your visitors staying with you. Young children may not always be encouraged, as residents can be of a certain age, and expecting a quiet life. As to your wanting to be a seaside gran, your family may not be able to visit as often as you would like, as they get busy with their own lives.
Sorry to be a pessimist, but these are things to bear in mind. If the move suits you, go ahead and do it, and enjoy.

mrsnonsmoker Sat 21-Jan-17 18:32:09

Thank you both for views so far - we like the coastal area we've chosen, we go there every year, but we are doing it (a) because once this house is gone we can't afford to live in this area and (b) we thought the family would like it. Auntieflo you're right, we'd need to make sure children were welcome on the park.

As for family being busy with their own lives, that's a good thing of course, but who can tell. I suppose I am just collecting up a list of variables. Pessimists welcome!!

jacksmum Sat 21-Jan-17 18:35:02

Please be careful about being able to live on park all year , most of them have rules where you must live off site for a certain amount of weeks a year

cornergran Sat 21-Jan-17 19:21:23

We looked at several park home sites before we settled in our bungalow. The primary attractions were to be able to choose the layout with a new home and the locations of the sites which were scenically beautiful, the down side of that was distance to shops, doctor etc etc. There is a lot on line about the benefits and pitfalls. Yes, you need a fully residential site, carefully check out the lease and reviews on the site owner. Talk to other residents. You need a specialist conveyancing solicitor who will check the contract and lease, making sure you understand all charges which can be quite high. Don't let all this be a deterrent in itself but rather strong encouragement to do your homework. Good luck.

Pammigran Sat 21-Jan-17 19:39:22

Park homes specially for the retired only are permanent fixtures to live in all year round (there is one near us) and you are allowed visitors on restricted time length I believe. However many are away from bus routes which is fine when you can drive but should the time arrive where you are unable to then you can become quite cut off. This happened to a lady I heard of after her husband passed. We moved to our dream location after retirement and at first people seemed friendly but we missed our old friends and we were to far away for family and friends to visit. After a few years it began to affect my health and we moved back to an area we knew well and had friends round us. Only you can decide and I hope it works for you whatever you do.

NanaandGrampy Sun 22-Jan-17 09:32:57

We too have looked at park homes MrsNS and some are beautiful.

You have to look at the ground rent and associated fees as they can be harsh. Also we were concerned about the fact that a park can be sold out from under you , new owners can come in and ground rent etc can be put up.

This is worth a read

We too were looking at an hour away .

In the end we decided that we were too young , the size is very limited and no space for hobbies such as crafting or a wood working workshop and with limited 'garden' we didn't feel there was enough to keep us busy.

We are still looking to move and hour away from our families . We know we will have to make an effort to visit as we are the ones with time to spare but we cannot afford a bungalow anywhere in our current county and at the end of the day its about the 365 days a year we have to live in a place not just about visiting time.

Our grandchildren are all little but as time passes naturally they will have other things in their lives so would expect to see them less anyway.

I think a move is different for everyone, you have to do what's right for you.

Lindill49 Sun 22-Jan-17 09:42:12

Don't touch them with a barge pole! The owner of the site has total jurisdiction. You lose so much if you try to sell them on - the owner dictates everything. Small, cramped and cold. Most certainly NOT a bargain!

NanaandGrampy Sun 22-Jan-17 09:50:03

I've seen a few Lindill and not one was ;small,cramped and cold' !

In fact the last ones we viewed near Cambridge were beautiful, luxury kitchens, super insulated and very modern BUT not the room you would get in a house or bungalow, and smaller plots than the footprint of a house for sure.

I do agree about being at the mercy of the Park Owners though , although there is some protection if you look at the link I posted above.

My other concern was resale value and how easy were they to sell. I spoke to our estate agent the other day as we have a couple of parks in our area and he admitted they were very difficult to sell.

Thingmajig Sun 22-Jan-17 10:40:02

We retired to the coast and DD followed us!!! I'm not sure about park homes, but we did look at them for another area we'd considered moving to. The rues of the site, plus resale problems put us off. Some do look lovely though!

Being an hour away from family an friends is nothing. We are slightly more than that from the old mother and visit every two weeks, but could easily go over more often if needed.
This is just a small coastal town but everyone loves coming to visit to see the water! smile

henetha Sun 22-Jan-17 10:41:39

If you live in a residential park home then you certainly can live in it all year. I moved to a park home 8 years ago and it's wonderful. Our site is properly run and we are well protected now as there has been legislation in recent years to save us from unscrupulous site owners.
Small, cramped and cold?? Absolutely not. Modern ones are like luxury bungalows. Central heating, double glazing, gardens, garages. Mine has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large living room with double doors opening to a patio. A fully insulated pitched roof. A detached concrete garage, parking for three cars. And a garden all round.
It is true than when you sell them (which is much easier these days) there is a premuim to pay to the site owners. I think I am right in saying that at present there is a petition being organised to hopefully put this to parliament in an effort to get this changed.
The site I live on is so beautiful that most people don't want to move anyway.

Riverwalk Sun 22-Jan-17 10:47:53

A few thoughts.

I don't think moving one hour away will overtly affect how often family and friends visit.

You need to concentrate mainly on your own needs, not being nanny by the sea to as yet non-existent GC.

Have you looked at house prices in the area of your choice? I ask this because usually coastal properties in nice areas are more expensive - unless you are selling a very expensive house of course, and majorly down-pricing.

As for park homes, I've no idea but they seem to be for those who can't afford anything else, or want to release the maximum equity from current home.

A house move can be exiting - thinking about it myself!

MissAdventure Sun 22-Jan-17 11:12:23

There is a park home near me, and I've often chatted to people who live there..
Its gated, so secure.
It has activities on site
It has a shop
The service charge it expensive, and goes up often.
It is quite a walk to get off site
It is very "cliquey" almost like being back at school - a lot based on the size of the home you live in.
There are lots of rules regarding how you can sell up.

Jalima Sun 22-Jan-17 11:15:41

Also residents are expected to upgrade every 10 years or so
I'm not sure what is meant by that Auntieflo - do you mean exchange the whole home for a new one as I have never heard of that and some of them cost £200,000 upwards on the site where my relative lives. Or do you mean upgrading as in essential maintenance as one would with any house?

I do know that most site owners do like the sites to be kept pristine and extremely old park homes may be removed after the owner has died if the relatives agree to this.

My relative lives in one which is larger than many bungalows and has loved living there for the last 20+ years - and has updated her bungalow regularly, recently adding a large conservatory.

It does need a lot of investigation as there are pros and cons of course, but an hour away is not too far for even a day visit.

Jalima Sun 22-Jan-17 12:04:04

Small, cramped and cold.
Not at all

Garage, additional parking for two cars, utility room, largish kitchen, large lounge/diner, two bedrooms one with ensuite, bathroom, nice hallway, lovely manageable garden.]

Check on the fees though, as there are site fees as well as normal council tax and 10% to pay on selling (which, as someone else said, is being looked at)

Please be careful about being able to live on park all year , most of them have rules where you must live off site for a certain amount of weeks a year
caravan sites may but residential sites do not have those rules.

difficult to sell - not that I have heard of. As new ones are very expensive, well-maintained slightly older ones could sell quickly. I suppose it depends on the site.

Jalima Sun 22-Jan-17 12:05:02

Oh - and central heating.

Certainly they would be cold if the owner did not turn the central heating on!

Luckygirl Sun 22-Jan-17 12:17:13

AS far as moving to the countryside is concerned, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- is it important to you to have a close day-to-day relationship with your GC?
- how do you feel about having to make new friends?
- if your OH's health is a bit dubious would you regret not being near family and friends who could provide support and encouragement?
- is staying put not financially viable at all?

An hour is not all that far away, but it is very different to just popping in.

We nearly retired to Brittany, but worked out that our family and friends might not want to holiday with us every year - there is a whole world to see out there!

Personally I would not do it - it is enticing to think that your holiday destination for so many years might be a good place to live, but the reality is often very different.

PRINTMISS Sun 22-Jan-17 13:52:45

We moved 50 minutes drive away from our daughter, and whilst the children were young, yes it was good that we saw them not on a regular basis but occasionally. We chose a park home because that was what WE WANTED and COULD AFFORD and I always wanted to live in a park home. It seemed the solution when we found a park which was just being built, and we had a choice of location on site - a corner site at the end of a cul-de-sac which means we have a rather larger garden than we would like, but lots of privacy. All the homes on site have garages, most of them on communal drives to the individual homes. The owners are all over 55, and proud of their gardens which means the 'estate' is well kept. We all pay a ground rent, rates and water rates (water is shared between all homes by the Park Owners). This is all personal, and something you will have to sort out for yourself, but as for size, people are amazed at how big our home is. If we had realised we could alter the layout when we bout the home, we would in hind-sight have changed one or two things, but for two of us with the occasional visit from friends, it is ideal. Our heating system works well for us, and is probably on a par with living in a brick building.

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 14:02:37

I would not consider being an hours journey from my children anything special. In fact I would consider that conveniently close. I currently live 2 hours and 4 hours respectively from my children. When DC were young, we lived just under 2 hours from both sets of GPs, and considered ourselves lucky compared with others who parents lived much further away. As a child I lived anything from hundreds to thousands of miles form my grandparents.

These distances still meant Gps were integral part of our lives and letters and phone calls were frequent as well as visits.

If your children consider an hours journey too far, that is a sign of problem that you already have.

Why not rent a flat in the place you are thinking of moving to and live there for six months and see how you get on. Rented flats can be walked away from if it doesn't work, buying house and then not liking it can be a disaster, as a friend of mine discovered to her cost.

CassieJ Sun 22-Jan-17 14:25:33

My parents have lived on a park home near Cambridge for almost 20 years. It certainly isn't small or cramped! It has a large living room [ bigger than mine ], dining room, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. It also has a large garden.
I would live in one if I could afford it. You don't need to upgrade every 10 years.
You do have to pay maintenance fees each year and watch what rules they have. It can be difficult if you want to move as the park tends to have first say on buying the property and often pays out very low. But on the whole they are excellent places to live. My parents have many friends on the park.

Make sure that there are amenities near by, and on a reasonable bus route.

I wouldn't consider being an hour away from family an obstacle. I would love to live that close to my family.

mrsnonsmoker Mon 23-Jan-17 23:07:29

I've been away for a couple of days and come back to all these lovely well thought out replies, it feels like discussing it with friends (and knowledgeable ones at that!!) - many thanks everyone.

Pigglywiggly Mon 23-Jan-17 23:23:46

I have a friend who lives in a park home in the country. Hers is one of those sites where you have to move out for two months a year. A lot of the residents have another home inSpain or France and the park home has been bought to be near their children/grandchildren.
If you are thinking of moving to the sea is it a place popular with older people? Have you checked that there are plenty of GP services etc. As older people are more likely to need GPs, hospitals etc it should be a consideration.

goldengirl Tue 24-Jan-17 11:44:26

I've thought about moving back to the Isle of Wight at some point but the cost of ferry travel [highest in Europe? the World?] would certainly put off visitors and us if we wanted / needed to get to the mainland for hospital visits etc. The internet access is important too. So after pro-ing and con-ning we will be staying put in this ghastly town but near our DD,DS and GC who make it worthwhile. DH wouldn't have been happy either; it's me with the fidgets

sue1169 Tue 24-Jan-17 15:28:21

How about renting for a month or two first...just to see how it goes..... ps love the name mrsnonsmoker.....wish i were!!!