5 things to remember when choosing an ACTIVE retirement property

With 55 to 65 years olds remaining the largest group of home owners in the UK, putting considerable pressure on the UK housing stock for younger generations to access, the need for older generations to downsize has become ever more pressing. Indeed, with properties often becoming too big to manage along with the allure of moving away for improved  lifestyle benefits, The Villages Group in France, dedicated to delivering homes, services and support for “Active” 50+’s  may prove an attractive option for those entering their third age.

According to Danny Silver, MD of The Villages Group and a expert in French real estate, The Villages Group understand precisely what people over the age of 50 require when choosing an active retirement property thanks to all six shareholders themselves being between the ages of 55 and 65.

One of the six, Jane Graham explains why she became involved in The Villages Group and why she believes the active living resorts in France perfectly meet the requirements of her and her peers:

"Since approaching 50 I have started to think more about my retirement and how and where to spend it. Although I enjoy the change of seasons, I´m getting less fond of the cold English winters and wet summers. I decided on France due to its climate, easy way of life, great food and drink, beautiful countryside, good transport links and its proximity to England to maintain contact with family and friends. I was delighted to be able to become involved with "The Villages" project to create purpose-built small communities for people like me. This concept answers my quest to find the right sort of property at the right price among the right sort of people in the right location."

For those 50+’s thinking about buying an active retirement property, Danny Silver offers some top tips for making the right choice.

Tip 1. Consider the Community

“Quite often people entering their third age have fears of isolation so it’s important to consider whether you wish be set within a community of like-minded individuals that share the same interests and values as yourself. The best active living communities are places where you should feel comfortable and happy day in and day out.

“Additionally, does the community promote an active senior lifestyle with a variety of activities? Maybe you’re keen on fishing, playing tennis or horse riding or maybe you want an exciting entertainment programme? Ask what they have on offer.

“Another point to consider is that many active living resorts like The Villages Group in France are suited to those who aren’t necessarily retired. Indeed, even if you are, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t want to stay active in the workforce so researching job opportunities within your community or around your area might prove useful.”

Tip 2. Location, location, location

“As we get older, we must ensure that getting around our living area is simple. Consequently, considering the time it takes to get from points of interest, attractions and nearby amenities is an essential. When buying an active retirement property abroad access to all the necessary amenities such as shops and banks for example is extremely important.  As well as this, you may want to be close to family and friends back home so ensuring that flights are frequent and affordable is important too.

“Meanwhile, what is the surrounding landscape like? Is it quiet? What’s the traffic like? It is imperative that the living environment on the outside is considered particularly if you’re after some history, culture or scenic beauty. Seeing as the weather, particularly in older life becomes ever more important, you might also want to ponder whether the climate suits your new lifestyle.”

3. Cost of Living

“When moving abroad the costs of living may differ somewhat and it’s important to do the sums, particularly if you’re using your savings. France for example, has one of the best lifestyles in Europe and opinions differ on whether living in the country is cheaper than in the UK, however many believe living costs are very similar so make sure you’ll be able to manage your outgoings.“

4. Choosing the right home

“The layout of the property you buy is probably one of the most crucial decisions. For those over the age of 50, buying an active living retirement property must need your needs today and in the future which is why one level properties like our bungalow style homes at the Villages in France are perfect. With this in mind, it is wise to ensure that the entire development is flat in every way to ensure that it’s easy to get around.

“Low running costs is also important. The Village properties in France won’t break the bank particularly as they are eco-friendly with high levels of insulation for example.”

5. Buying Costs

“The costs of buying your active retirement property should be affordable without a mortgage and include a ‘shareholding’ of entire development much like the Villages in France.

“There may also be on-going maintenance costs and community charges for particular on-site facilities such as tennis courts, fitness centres, club house’s and libraries for example that must be deliberated.”

Providing a lifestyle that will best reflect the interests of its residents, the 50+ village communities in France courtesy of The Villages Group could provide the answer, allowing residents to live life to the full in one of the top ten expat countries in the world.

The concept for The Villages Group in France has taken four years of research and development to create the first active living resorts in the country dedicated to the over 50’s. Designed for living, the Villages situated in three stunning French communities in Bordeaux / Perigord, Canal du Midi and Provence, offer one-level eco-friendly homes from €165,000 set within outstanding natural environments with full on-site amenities including tennis courts, indoor pool, gymnasium and quality entertainment programmes.

For more information please contact The Villages Group on + 33 1 4007 8625, email villages@pdfparis.com or visit www.thevillagesgroup.com