Monday, 28 January 2019

A new home you can just lock up and leave

Middle aged couple getting ready for a hike
Owning your own house is great for independence, financial security and the feeling that there is somewhere you can really call ‘home’. But sometimes it can feel like a bit of an obstacle that’s actually stopping you from doing what you want to do.

Particularly when you retire, with all the additional free time that brings with it, you often simply want to ‘up sticks and go’ – a long weekend, a world cruise, a trip to somewhere warmer and sunnier than a UK winter (not hard to find!).

But if you’ve got to worry about the security of your empty home, or what state the garden will be in by the time you get back, it maybe spoils some of the fun.

That’s why there is an increasing interest in ‘lock up and leave’ or ‘lock up and go’ homes. Homes that you can be confident will be just as you left them by the time you get back.

Over-55 retirement communities often come with that sort of assurance ‘built in’.

Because they are real communities - not just housing estates – you can be sure that your neighbours will keep an eye on your home for you. In fact, in some of these communities there are formal ‘neighbourhood watch’ schemes.

If you are leaving a car at home while you travel, that same security looks after your vehicle as well.

If your lock up and go home is an apartment, you obviously don’t need to worry about the garden looking like a jungle by the time you get back. The communal grounds and gardens will be looked after by staff.

In over-55 developments such as The Croft at Baston, where the homes are all individual bungalows with their own gardens, these tend to be much smaller than you get with a ‘conventional’ home. There is therefore much less work involved in looking after them.

And smaller gardens doesn’t mean an absence of green open space around your home. There are well-tended communal spaces between the bungalows, creating a pleasant residential setting for the whole development.

In newly built over-55 communities the homes are all designed to be low maintenance, so there is just generally less ‘upkeep’ that you need to do yourself.

Of course, if you want your new home to be a base from which you can satisfy your wanderlust – now that you have the time to do so – you want to pick a location that is close to airports, seaports, rail stations or the places in the UK that you want to visit. That cuts down on your travel time and cost if you’re taking the car. And if you are jetting off overseas, having the airport nearby makes it feasible to get a taxi to the terminal without breaking the bank (and that will save you a fortune in airport car parking charges).

The Croft at Baston is just a few minutes from Peterborough rail station - with direct connections to Stansted airport and central London.

And talking of location and finance – ‘downsizing’ (we prefer to think of it as ‘rightsizing) to a home suited to your needs away from high-priced housing areas can free up a substantial amount of cash that you can spend on travel. Or whatever else you want to do with your expanded free time now that you’ve retired.