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Everything you need to know about buying a retirement property!

First thing’s first, what is a retirement property, and what differentiates it from a regular property?

A retirement property is a safe, secure and comfortable home for the over 55’s situated within an Integrated Retirement Community (IRC), also known as a retirement village. Generally they’re one or two bedroom apartments, with access to communal facilities, such as:

  • Reception and main street with communal seating areas
  • Shop
  • Library and IT suite
  • Café bar and lounge
  • Well-being suite
  • Hairdressing and beauty salon
  • Hobby room
  • Craft room
  • Fitness suite
  • Enriched opportunities suite (to support people with dementia)
  • Greenhouse and village gardens
  • Regular events and entertainers

The concept is still unknown to a large proportion of the population in this country, unlike those living in the US, New Zealand and Australia. In the UK, the idea of these kinds of developments are too often interpreted as ‘old people’s homes’ or ‘care homes’. In New Zealand however, moving to retirement village is an expected stage of later life, and it’s seen as a:

  • Vibrant community
  • Place where like-minded people with purpose come together
  • Somewhere to rediscover passions and learn new skills

Everything you need to know about buying a retirement property

How much is a retirement property?

Our principal aim is to ensure that we can offer you a truly rewarding lifestyle at a cost that is affordable and fair. Our retirement property prices are representative of the area in which they are situated, meaning prices could fluctuate depending on the housing market at the time.

In addition to your property purchase there are on-going monthly charges. This is a contribution towards the running of:

  • The Wellbeing Service
  • Activity costs including staffing
  • A contribution towards the Café/ Bistro where applicable
  • 24-hour access to staff support in an emergency
  • Please keep in mind that these will vary according to your location.

We also recently sat down with our in-house Welfare Benefits Advisor, Natalie, discussing how she can help find many residents financial relief. Read more here.

The ExtraCare model

The ExtraCare model is completely unique and is something we’re very proud of. We are a charity, and our surpluses are all re-invested in the charitable activities such as our award winning care and wellbeing services. We don’t have shareholders and we create a surplus for a purpose, which is to reinvest our profits into our 20 retirement villages and smaller housing developments across the Midlands and further South.

Our model of homes, lifestyle and care is proven to benefit residents’ physical and mental health and reduce pressure on the health and /social care system. Our diverse mix tenure makes us affordable for people from a range of backgrounds and circumstances and reflects the diversity of our communities.

  • Outright sales: 40%
  • Shared ownership: 40%
  • Social rent: 20% (Please note we do not offer private rent)

Depending on your personal preference, our 16 villages typically house around 330-400 residents, and our 4 smaller developments are made up of 30-90 residents. We understand that some would rather live in a smaller community, and others may prefer a bigger complex.

As for staff, it is really our people that make ExtraCare what it is, and in order to provide an enriching lifestyle, each location has:

  • A village manager
  • A lifestyle manager
  • Care staff
  • Activities coordinator
  • Volunteer organiser
  • Chef
  • Fitness instructor
  • Receptionist
  • Wellbeing advisor
  • And many more!

Can you get a mortgage on a retirement property?

Although it isn’t unheard of, generally you cannot get mortgages on retirement properties due to the buyback clause in the lease. Unfortunately, there aren’t many banks that will lend the money, so most of, if not all of ExtraCare’s buyers are cash buyers.

What happens when you want to sell your property?

If you purchase an ExtraCare retirement property either outright or by shared ownership, within 3 months we will buy the property back from you or your estate for the price you originally purchased it for.

A few things to make a note of:

  • A long-term maintenance fee is taken out of your estate when your property is sold back to us.
  • You won’t be able to leave your home to a relative or friend in the area who fits the age criteria – they would need to apply for a place separately.
  • ExtraCare is able to terminate your lease if payments are missed or if any of the leaseholder covenants are breached.

Where to buy a retirement property?

There is a lot to think about when deciding where to buy a retirement property. The main thing to remember when weighing up your options is to not just think short term. Your next step could be where you live for many years to come.

A key factor to consider should be your future needs. You might be able to walk a long distance or drive to the shops now, but this may not be the case in ten years’ time. Convenience is a must, and many would say having everything you need within a close proximity is essential when choosing where to live in later life. For this reason, all of ExtraCare’s developments are purposely situated with amenities close by.

Many toy with the idea of moving to somewhere completely new in retirement, but a factor you shouldn’t run too far away from is your family and friends. However, if you don’t have much of a support network, this another huge advantage of a retirement community. ExtraCare commissioned some research a few years ago with Aston University, looking at the benefits of our model. The results were simply fantastic, with 87% of ExtraCare’s residents saying they are ‘never or hardly ever’ lonely. So if you are looking to relocate, ExtraCare will help you build a support network.

Can you decorate your retirement property how you like?

Our beautiful retirement properties are built to a high specification, with the designs being very well thought through and built with quality materials. However, when you move in, your apartment will be completely unfurnished, which will allow you to truly make it your own. Generally though, we have found very few of our residents make many changes to the décor. As for the communal areas, we really try to modernise each location when we can to keep them looking fresh. We aim to spend around £3m refurbishing each village around it’s 10th anniversary of being open, so expect possible exciting changes within the time that you live there!

Discover Later Living brochure