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Retirement properties

(72 Posts)
GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 18:38:54

I wondered if anyone had experience of these. They are normally flats as far as I can see, although I have seen some bungalows advertised recently.

If you have bought one, was there anything you didn't expect, anything you would look for if you were doing it over again or any pleasant surprises?

Do service charges always cover the same things? Or are some better than others? I do understand that selling them can be difficult/expensive. Do you think you might have been better off in an ordinary block of flats? Do you feel buying one future proofed your ability to live independently?

Thanks for any enlightenment you can pass on.

annsixty Wed 04-Apr-18 18:49:05

There is a very comprehensive thread on this, dealing with McCarthy and Stone apartments.

mostlyharmless Wed 04-Apr-18 18:57:20

My mother loved her retirement flat. There was a resident warden (probably not any longer) who briefly checked on them everyday and who would help with problems and an emergency call system.
She said she had a better social life there than she had ever had, keep fit, poetry meeting, lunch club, outings etc. Lots of people to mix with in the communal lounge. A selection of library books was available.
The maintenance fees were not too unreasonable. There was a recommended handyman who charged a fair rate if needed.
It was not easy to sell after she died and I know other people who have found retirement flats hard to sell. But it definitely worked well for her at the time.

whitewave Wed 04-Apr-18 18:59:13

Why are they difficult to sell?

mostlyharmless Wed 04-Apr-18 19:01:55

There was a residents’ committee (my mother was treasurer) which liaised with the management company about costs and charges as well as organising events.

mostlyharmless Wed 04-Apr-18 19:09:50

I’m not sure why they seem difficult to sell. The communal areas in my mother’s block of flats became a bit tired and scruffy over time and brand new retirement flats were built next door which were probably more desirable.
In another development I know of in a different area of the country, the flats were priced very high when new and the value halved over ten years.
I think buying a flat in an ordinary block might be a better investment, but then you might feel isolated and would miss out on the Community and welfare aspects of a retirement flat.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 19:19:37

Mostly would you mind me asking how old your mum was when she moved in?

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 19:33:05

Annesixty the M & S thread was interesting but no one who has actually lived in one seemed to reply. The lovely one Elrel stayed in would be sure to be outside my pocket. It was interesting to read but I was hoping to get a personal insight, Mostly's mother's experience for example.

Purpledaffodil Wed 04-Apr-18 19:36:46

Seem to remember a previous similar thread in which someone pointed out that if you become so infirm you need residential care, then these retirement flats cannot be rented out to defray costs but have to be sold under the terms of the leaseholders.

Purpledaffodil Wed 04-Apr-18 19:39:44
Think this is the one, from 2014 but lots of useful experiences.

annsixty Wed 04-Apr-18 19:45:21

I agree Gracesgran that was a thread for people trying them out.
My friend lives in a M&S , been there for 13 months now. She appears to like it but honestly she would never ever admit she didn't.
I find it very small but can appreciate the security and reassurance of always someone on call.
She was over 80 when she moved in and as her 2 sons are very comfortably off, reselling or possibly losing money is not a consideration.
She also released a lot of money when she sold her bungalow and bought the apartment.
These are all things to consider and take into account when dealing with ones own circumstances.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 19:46:06

Thanks Purpledaffodil, I'll go and have a look.

mostlyharmless Wed 04-Apr-18 19:54:23

My mother moved in when she was about seventy. (Oh dear that seems fairly young to me now!) A bit physically infirm, walked with a wheeled aid, but still had all her marbles. She died at 77 after a month or so in hospital, followed by just a few weeks living in a care home (which she hated). This was about fifteen years ago so things might have changed.
A more recent example of a relative in a retirement flat, who was nearly 90 when she moved in and she was able to walk into town, but she found it harder to adjust to leaving her own house and garden. She died after a short illness (still living there) at 96.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 19:56:29

Thanks Ann. Interesting that she was 80. I have a feeling I would feel very young but don't want a second move and can see difficulties looming a little. My mother lives in a little bungalow but it doesn't seem as small as some of the flats but it must be 10 years since she enjoyed the garden.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 20:05:57

The 2014 one sounds much the same as current comments. I think I may be panicking a bit. It just seems to me that, on your own, you can become very isolated. Perhaps there is no answer.

Jalima1108 Wed 04-Apr-18 20:12:55

There would be an annual service charge which could go up quite a lot - someone we know who lives in one nearby mentioned that.
However, she also said that she loves it and feels freed from the maintenance and from gardening, although they can use the gardens.
Those particular apartments were not built for the elderly in mind, though, more for 'young aspiring couples' - but they have all been bought by elderly people.

There is a 'village' not far from where DS lives which has apartments and there seems to be plenty going on there in the way of activities. There is also a nursing home on the same site which people could move to if they were unable to care for themselves at some later stage.

Do some of them charge a percentage of the selling price when the apartments are sold? That is another consideration.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 20:22:11

That's interesting Jamila. The same has happened with a block of flats in our nearby town. You would probably get a better cross section of ages - even though they are generally older, too.

I think they are looking at controlling some of the selling practices and the service charges but I wonder then if any of these would be built!

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 20:37:56

Just found an advert for one of these which has a bit more detail of costs. As well as the service charge, there is a payment of 0.5% of the purchase price, payable per annum as a contribution to the house sinking fund and an annual charge payable to the management company. Interesting.

Jane10 Wed 04-Apr-18 21:01:53

I posted on the M&S thread to say how impressed I'd been by what seems to be the quality of life in these places. I've visited quite a few now. I've also got a friend who lives in one and must be the busiest person socially that I know. There's as much company as people seem to want yet a quiet flat of their own if they want their privacy.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 21:04:42

That seems to be the real positive Jane.

Elrel Wed 04-Apr-18 21:12:21

I'll be interested to see other Gransnetters' experiences of trying out the McCarthy and Stone properties no how they compare with mine. I'm assuming that I wasn't the only one to try one out!
GracesGran - when I sent my DD pix of the apartment I stayed in she (lightheartedly!!) texted back suggesting I refused to leave as it looked so good! I had to keep reminding myself not to be swayed by the tasteful furnishings and try to imagine my own assorted chairs and sofas installed instead! It was a pleasant place with a good vibe among the residents I chatted with.

cornergran Wed 04-Apr-18 21:18:26

We live in a bungalow, part of a development of 30. No apartments and a development manager. There’s a call system for emergencies. The properties are feeehold, each has a private rear garden and the owners have a share in the freehold for the shared grounds. There’s a management company responsible for employing the development manager, structure insurance, the maintenance and repair of the fabric of the bungalows, external decoration and window cleaning, maintenance and repair of the communal areas and grass cutting in the private gardens. We wanted somewhere I could stop worrying about a fence blowing down in a gale or a blocked gutter. It’s mostly worry free, a community feeling with total privacy. These sell easily. PM me if you’ve any specific queries about this type of development GG.

Doodle Wed 04-Apr-18 21:21:29

I went to one of the McCarthy and Stone properties and the annual maintenance and ground rent was a fixed price for 15 years which would probably see most of the residents out (if you see what I mean)

M0nica Wed 04-Apr-18 21:36:31

Most retirement developments take a cut of the selling price when you move on.

I just find most retirement flats too small. As you get older and spend more time at home, and if you need walking aids or a wheelchair, you need big rooms you can move around in and I would want two big reception rooms. One a living room, the other a study/hobby room and a roomy dining kitchen. I have yet to see a retirement residence offering that amount of space.

GracesGranMK2 Wed 04-Apr-18 21:59:47

That is really interesting Doodle. It would give more piece of mind. The sinking fund will stay the same too if it's a percentage of what you paid for the property.