Buying property is always going to be one of the hardest and most important decisions that most people take in their lives. Sometimes the location is determined by external factors like jobs and family commitments. At other times people are given a completely clean slate and freedom to choose. Those times may come later in life, when there are the resources to purchase a vacation property, or when retirement is on the horizon. Sometimes the holiday home can be a trial run for the retirement home.
Who Wants to Go?
Before deciding to move to a new place, it makes sense to list all the good reasons for staying. For most people there will be plenty: familiar neighbors; knowledge of the facilities, transport and stores; acquaintance with local government and its officers; a sense of belonging built up over years. It’s easy to allow the negatives (like the taxes and the weather) to be uppermost in your mind, but be clear about all the advantages you have now, so that you can make realistic comparisons.
When looking at possible new places, there are both material and social aspects to bear in mind.
What Has It Got Going for It?
It is estimated that every year in the US 700,000 people move to a new town to retire. With that number certain patterns emerge about what they are looking for. According to the magazine Where to Retire, there are some 18 significant factors for choice, of which the main ones are:
• A low crime rate
• An attractive downtown area
• Good health care
• A nice climate
• A low tax rate
The advantage of all these is obvious, but of course you will need to add the things that are important to you as an individual or couple. Do you need an airport nearby? What sort of recreational facilities are on offer? Is the local sports team one that you will want to follow with interest? Will you want to find employment opportunities?
Who Else Will be There?
It’s not just about the physical environment—you also need to consider the people that you will be coming into contact with day by day.
Clearly if you have family or old friends in the new town, that will be a big attraction, but there is always a chance they will move away, and in that case who will you be spending your time with? Some people who are used to the buzz of a big city find small town life narrow-minded and dull; others revel in leaving behind the impersonal nature of city life and being thrown into closer contact with their neighbors.
Are the social and leisure facilities of your prospective location to your liking, attracting the sort of people you get on with easily?
Though it is painful to think about, be realistic about the fact that if you move to a retirement location as a couple, the day will come when one of you will have to face life alone. How will your new surroundings look when that time happens? You may find you each have different feelings about it.
Never Say Never
Life is an adventure with new possibilities around every corner—that remains true at every stage. If your retirement will be an adventure (and it should be) then maybe think adventurously. You do not have to choose one place and end your days there. In which case you can treat your retirement home more like a holiday home.
The US has a huge range of very different places to live, but it is only a small part of the world. For a holiday base or for early retirement you might want to discover the world in a completely new way. There are properties throughout the continents of North and South America, in Europe, and even in Africa, Australia, and Asia. For instance, for somewhere really different, Kensington Real Estate Morocco offers luxury properties in the exotic surroundings of Marrakech.
If this is the line you might think of taking, it would certainly make sense (if you can afford it) to try out an unusual base by getting a holiday home there first.
Retirement is, or should be, an exciting time. Owning your own holiday home can give a taste of what it could be like. Hopefully you will have many years to explore yourself, your loved ones, your fellow humans, and the world around. A little planning will pay big dividends.
Alex Peto was born in London and attended schools in England until 1991. Thereafter, he spent a year in Seville and Aix en Provence learning languages. Alex Peto started his working career in 1993 as an estate agent for the London based boutique agency, Aylesford International. There he remained for 21 years selling the best houses London had to offer. In a rising market, fuelled by foreign clients, Alex became accustomed to meeting a demanding clientele with high specifications. He also, while with Aylesford, looked after their foreign properties in Morocco, Europe and the Caribbean. In 2014. Alex moved to Marrakesh to continue working in the property market with Kensington International.