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TBS in The Telegraph – Seven ways to future proof your home so there’s no need to downsize

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
02 Mar 2020  |   Harry Gladwin

Many people feel forced into downsizing – however there are things you can do to your current home to ensure you plan for the future. Harry Gladwin Partner at The Buying Solution says;

“In terms of future proofing for old age, there are some things that later life downsizers want which can’t be changed – location in particular – the proximity of a property to good doctors, transport links ie trains, shops, churches and a community are all important to many, along with the fact that being at the end of a long track and trapped in the snow are not terribly attractive propositions.

Bottom heavy houses really help those in their advancing years. A downstairs bathroom and bedroom options are a must, as are wide doorways and entrances in case wheelchair access is needed. In the countryside and usually at the top end, an annexe/additional cottage is a number one requirement so that a carer can live next door – this is often far more cost effective than a private nursing home. There are also stamp duty savings to be had on properties with such additional accommodation. We have seen more elderly purchasers also looking to create dedicated spaces for their grandchildren – both to play and stay in. Physical help from grandparents is on the rise and we’re often asked to advise on how to ensure the home is ‘child friendly’. A recent client created a separate games room/annexe for her grandchildren and employed a dedicated interior designer to create a magical sanctuary set just off the main house and ‘grown up’ living spaces. The same client also levelled off the garden and removed a number of flower beds both to neaten it up and ease maintenance.

Often moving from a large, period house with the constant hassle of a leaking roof, blocked septic tank or boiler which was installed between the wars, later life downzisers usually find a house which is up to date and well finished attractive. Many therefore like the idea of a new house, built in a traditional style. New boilers, under floor heating, good insulation and systems which work are attractive, as once the purchase is made, a buyer can be confident that the house will ‘see them out’ without requiring huge additional expenditure and in the meantime bills will be consistent and lower than the previous (larger) house.

The cost difference between selling the big house and buying the next step down can often be surprisingly small, as the market for the pretty, (smaller) edge of village house in the best locations is usually very competitive, with downsizers, upsizers, families, weekenders etc all competing for the same property.”

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