Four factors to consider when downsizing to your dream retirement home

Looking to downsize to a more manageable property, but aren’t sure where to start? Finding the thought of leaving your family home daunting? Thinking it might be easier to just stay put?

Planning the development of your perfect retirement property doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Make sure you get off to the best possible start to achieving your ideal ‘forever’ home by focusing on these four factors:

1) Think about your location

As obvious as it sounds, honing your preferred location is critical. For any property to succeed as a ‘dream home’, it needs to be strategically located so you can lead your ideal lifestyle in retirement.

We find that access to local shops and amenities is a key priority for customers planning their retirement, even if they’re moving to a smaller village. Make sure you sit down with your loved ones and property developer to discuss location at the outset.

What happens if a site in your desired location isn’t immediately available? Many established property developers are continually acquiring new land for development and will be able to seek one out for you.

2) Engage with the development process

We can’t stress enough how important it is to work collaboratively with your property developer from the earliest possible stage, so your new home has the specification and character you want.

Retirement properties are the result of a lifetime of saving, so it really is your right as a consumer to have your views listened to, and factored into the detail of the development.

If you’re buying a new build property, reserve your plot as early as possible. If you’re commissioning a one-off property, provide a full brief at the start and stay in regular contact with your developer.

People sometimes assume that developers prefer to be left alone to ‘get on with it’. At Hartog Hutton, however, we want a strong customer dialogue from the word ‘go’, so we can obtain guidance on everything, down to the layout and finishing touches in each room. This collaborative, trusting way of working builds consensus, reassurance and minimises disruption later on in the development project.

3) Maximise your home’s safety and efficiency

The best time to invest in the efficiency and safety of your home is right at the start. Your developer should advise you on what’s possible, but make sure they’re adhering to the highest industry standards.

In particular, make sure you’re getting high quality windows and doors to ensure your property’s as secure as possible. A lot of our retired customers are downsizing and want to feel they can leave a home for long periods, without worry.

With the cost of heating homes increasing, your developer also needs to make sure that everything from the insulation to the windows are capable of retaining a high level of heat, and help keep your bills down as much as possible.

4) Keep maintenance to a minimum

In the excitement of getting a new property build, it can be easy to ignore the level of maintenance your home will need in the future. Home maintenance can be one of the most time consuming areas for any homeowner, but it can be managed and controlled far more easily when it’s factored into the design phase.

For many retirees, minimising time spent on maintenance is an important part of enjoying their finished home. Well-designed external space can reduce maintenance. Likewise, plenty of storage space helps, so we typically try to maximise this both inside and out.

Case study

We recently worked with a couple, Carol and Martin, who were looking to downsize. Their children had moved out and they were looking for a more manageable home. They approached us to discuss one of the properties we were developing, and by working with one of our master builders, they now have their dream retirement home.

It’s a real privilege to be able to shape someone’s new property from the ground up. When we first showed Carol and Martin a muddy field, they found it hard to believe that a brand new home, built to their exact needs, would stand there in only a few months’ time. Yet because both sides took the time to sit down, listen, and work through their plans and expectations, they now have a fantastic, characterful home built through real partnership.

Upon completion of their project, Martin said:

“We are delighted with the end result, which ticks all our boxes and a few we didn’t even know needed ticking. The whole Hartog Hutton team have been a great help and support throughout the process.

“We have no hesitation in recommending Hartog Hutton to our family and friends for their quality, commitment and attention to detail, which has been outstanding.”

Want to find out more or discuss your idea retirement home with us? Call us on 01284 735041 or email george.wells@harthut.co.uk.

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