Buying a home for your retirement.
Buying a home to retire in is a big commitment and it is important to us that you make the right choice of home for this stage of your lives. We want your time at your new home to be relaxing, with well-run and properly maintained amenities. A big part of this is ensuring that the conveyancing process is as stress-free as possible.
Clear advice and recommendations
When we act on your behalf to buy a retirement home you can be sure that you’ll be closely supported throughout the transaction. We’ll liaise with the retirement complex manager as well as the seller’s estate agent to minimise their need to contact you directly.
Throughout we will aim to take away the pressure and we’ll always be available to talk you through each stage of the transaction and answer any questions you may have. To make the process as simple to manage as possible, our online portal allows you to access documents and check our progress for any internet-connected device. Just talk to a member of our team about you walking you through how to use it.
What is different about buying a retirement home?
The purchase of a retirement property is more onerous than buying a normal residential house. This is because it may often, but not always, form part of a complex or even a retirement village with services and other amenities included, and the paperwork will cover all of the rights and responsibilities that affect the buyer, such as the need to pay management or service charges and strict regulations about use.
At Blaser Mills Law we have wide experience of acting for clients who are buying retirement homes and we know exactly what to look out for. We know that the sheer volume of documentation can be overwhelming and we take great care to explain all aspects of the purchase as we move through the conveyancing process.
Choosing your retirement home
When you are deciding on a property for this phase of your life, there are a number of points that you should consider.
Firstly, you should make sure that the location offers everything that you might need for the future, such as public transport, healthcare services, nearby shops, cafés and a library. If you can, have a chat with the current residents of the complex or village to see if they are happy there. You should also try and ascertain whether properties are being resold easily or whether residents who want to leave are struggling to find buyers. The retirement property market is not huge and some areas are oversaturated, meaning residents cannot sell and are stuck in flats they no longer want, paying substantial monthly management charges.
You will also need to look into whether any facilities are offered onsite. This may not be the case for the property you intend to purchase. Some retirement complexes offer extensive services, such as swimming pools, restaurants, gyms, hairdressers and various social activities. You should consider whether this is something you want, bearing in mind that you will need to pay towards these facilities by way of your monthly service charge.
We’ll let you know the amount that will be payable in maintenance and service charges. This could be amount to hundreds of pounds each month, so you should make sure that you’ll be happy paying this into the future. We’ll also advise you as to whether these charges will continue to accrue after you have left the property and before it is sold.
Our conveyancing services for retirement home purchases
We understand the complexities of the retirement home buying system and will explain them clearly to you. We also ensure that we carry out all necessary investigations into the property. This includes far more information than with a normal property purchase as we will look into details such as whether the management company is the member of a recognised professional body and whether the terms of the lease are acceptable or onerous in any way.
We will advise you on the amount of any event fees that you will have to pay. Also known as exit or transfer fees, this is a charge made by the management company in the event that you sell the property or sublet it. The fee is often a percentage of the sale price or market value of the property, so it can be a substantial sum.
We also make sure that any ground rent provisions are fair and that the lease does not allow the management company to put the cost of this up exponentially in the future.
Often the details are not particularly clear at first glance, so we always make sure that they are clearly identified and explained to you so that you can be absolutely sure that you are happy with your purchase.
Selling a retirement home
The retirement homes company may require you to sell the property through them and charge a fee for this, on top of the exit fee. This may also limit your exposure to the open market. We’ll let you know if this is the case so that you can consider whether it is something you can agree to.
Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme
All those in Blaser Mills’ Residential Property team are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, the mark of excellence for the home-buying process. The rigorous assessment by the Law Society, in order to secure CQS status, marks us out as a team that consistently meets high standards in residential conveyancing processes and also delivers excellent customer service.