It’s often at this time of year that we see an increase of people looking for a home with an annexe or a home with space to build one. Very often it’s the onset of the colder weather and noticing that Mum and Dad’s garden is clearly not looking as glorious as it used to a few years ago, is the trigger for us forty-plus somethings to start idly browsing the estate agents windows.
Christmas is often the clincher. The whole family has got together, the turkey has been eaten, the arguments have subsided and you and your siblings’ conversation has suddenly turned to talk of the fact that Mum is a bit unsteady on her feet or, that Dad is fighting a losing battle with the garden but doesn’t want to admit defeat. You all agree, they need to downsize and be near/ live with you.
For some people, this creates worries and, in some cases, a little resentment. After all, you spent the first twenty years of your life trying to get a place of your own AWAY from Mum and Dad! Having dealt with the guilt of those feelings, and agreed with Mum and Dad that this is the right course of action (easier said than done in some cases), the main practicality sets in…
How do we coordinate two sales and one purchase to go through together?
Selling one property when you want is difficult enough but to sell two, at the same time AND have a suitably sized and located property be available to buy at the same time is nigh on impossible. The best answer is not to try to. The stress levels are horrendous for you and for an elderly parent can be quite literally, lethal. So what to do?
First off, look on the whole process as a positive one. You are going to have the peace of mind that Mum and Dad are not going to be a worry and will be well looked after plus, as a bonus, because you are combining two homes into one, it often means there are savings to be made in living costs and, usually, an upgrade in location and style of home for you too.
Next and, most importantly, do your sums. Have two or three agents around to value both properties. Be realistic on price and choose an agent who understands what you want to do and has experience of this. Speak to an independent financial advisor (IFA). If it is likely that Mum and Dad may need more care or, may have to go into a home at some point, this is an absolute must. The IFA will also be able to talk through the possibility of making the transaction as smooth as possible and, if feasible, to split the transaction into manageable chunks: – Sell one property – buy the new property – move in – sell the other property.
Now decide where you want to live. This is going to be different for everyone but, for most people, it will probably be somewhere close to the town centre, near a bus route, surgery and a park/ places of interest/ socialising (pub, museum, library, swimming pool or gym etc). Again from personal and professional experience and, if it is within budget, ensure that the annexe is self-contained. No matter how much you love Mum and Dad and they love you, you will both need your own space and privacy. Trust me!
Having been an agent for almost a quarter of a century, I can tell you that there are not a great many of these types of property on the market at any one time, especially in the better locations and, during the winter and Spring months, they become particularly sought after. So, if you see one that ticks most of the boxes… GO FOR IT! You will almost certainly have to compromise on something but, once Mum and dad have bought into the idea, they will want to get the whole process over as quickly as possible and will often fret that they are being a burden to you until they have moved in.
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About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience. His business, PDQ Estates Ltd is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco.
A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards forestate agents in the UK. He is currently championing the fight against #PortalJuggling
No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on KloutLinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter. He lives in his beloved Penzance in West Cornwall with his two spaniels. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade. In 2015 he was medically dischargd from the army due to non-combat related injuries.