Relocating after Retirement - pros and cons - has it worked out for you?

in Over 50s Money Saving
27 replies 5.6K views
Hi everybody
Myself and my husband are in our 60's and I retired in 2019 to join him in retirement.  We had about 9 months of retirement before Covid.  Previous to Covid we thought we would relocate in a few years but like a lot of people re-evaluating their lives during the pandemic  are thinking about doing it now rather than waiting.  We have had evaluations of our property from estate agents and started decluttering and sprucing up our property before we put it on the market.  It is a big decision to make especially when we wish to relocate.  We would prefer Devon ideally because it is a lot nearer to the ports for holidays in France and further afield with our caravan and would like to be nearer the beach (as would our two dogs!).  We also don't mind central Devon rather than a seaside town as the house prices are cheaper.  Being nearer the coast isn't a number one priority we are also considering the Wye Valley area (Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire) We have "push" factors which I've listed below and would be interested to hear the experiences of fellow Moneysaver retirees who have also relocated and how it worked out for you?  

We have lived in our current property for 25 years in a village that has good amenities, a surgery, a good shop, two pubs and a post office, however over the past few years the village has grown larger so there is more traffic, noisier and  less peaceful.  We also have quite a large garden and I am finding it to be too much work.  We are pretty self sufficient and don't have close family, we do have some good friends but those now have themselves moved so don't see them very often now and we have never been ones for joining golf clubs, rotary etc, so its not like we would be losing many friends and acquaintances.  During the nine months I had as a retiree pre Covid I joined U3A and other activity groups so as long as we end up somewhere with similar opportunities I am happy to start again.  We would be looking for a property with countryside views, in a village location.  I have been looking at Right Move for a while and we could afford to purchase an inland bungalow in Devon, we might have to compromise on space but prepared to do that if it ticks the boxes for a view and peaceful location!

I do feel a little scared at doing this after so long in the same place.  It is such a big decision to make!

Would love to hear your experiences!


16/04/2021  Property on market
24/04/2021  Viewings
26/04/2021  Offer received and accepted
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Replies

  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I'm going to start by pointing out that I am a city girl at heart, and always will be, so the thought of moving to a lovely village has always filled me with horror ... 

    However, I'm going to share my parents' experience. They moved from London to a small town. They never drove. You may be drivers now but it's worth bearing in mind that the time may come when it is no longer safe for you to do so, either short or long term - cataracts, hips, knees, hearts ... I just remember one of them complaining how difficult it could be to get around - the buses weren't as frequent as they were used to, they never believed in paying for taxis etc. The local hospital was small and didn't do everything that was needed: they often had to travel 30 miles or so for hospital appointments. And so on. And I said something about "well you can't expect the same number of hospitals and transport links as in London, surely you expected this." And the response was "Yes, we knew that, but we didn't expect to be ill." Which just seemed a bit short-sighted to me. 

    Now in my parents case, there WERE buses, there WAS a hospital, there WERE shops. Another friend moved to a more rural location - weekly bus service to one town, weekly on a different day to another town, about an hour in either before it was time to come back. So once they couldn't drive, it was quite isolated. 

    That's not to say there weren't good points: for my parents the local volunteer agency ran a minibus service most days of the week to the Age UK Day Centre where they could get a lunch with other people. The minibus then went to a couple of supermarkets, each once a week, and they made good friends there and at other activities. 

    My parents up-sized, no idea why, and after a while one found it all a bit much and wanted to move, while the other one didn't. Plus the one who wanted to move wasn't really well enough and it was all a bit too much. If either of them had lost their mobility, the house would have been impossible to adapt. Whereas I walked into our current house, and after a while thought "hey, nice wide doorways, plenty of turning space, lovely low wide staircase, I could get a wheelchair round here very nicely if I had to." And some other friends who moved in their 50s caused great amusement to their builders by asking for this that and the other to be done, including widening all the doorways, because they really wanted to future-proof the house. So whatever you do, think about future-proofing! 

    Mickey makes a very good point about smaller gardens vs larger ones. I have another friend on the point of moving away: currently in a small development with very private gardens, they've looked at a few places and then thought "no, that would be too overlooked." 

    it does sound as if you'd be OK getting yourself out and about and making friends, which was one worry with my parents although they actually did well. But I happened to meet a couple while we were out for our constitutional the other day: they'd ended up moving mid-lockdown, and so hadn't been able to join any conventional activities or meet any new friends at all. They sit on a bench near their home and just chat to anyone passing who was prepared to stop! 
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  • thriftytraceythriftytracey Forumite
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    Mickey666 said:
     We also have quite a large garden and I am finding it to be too much work.  

    I've known a few people think like this and have subsequently moved to a house with a smaller garden to make things more manageable.  They've then regretted the decision because a smaller garden usually means nearer neighbours, more noise and less privacy.

    When I retired I moved to a larger (but much cheaper) house in about five acres, not for the house but specifically for the land and not having any near neighbours.  Friends often ask how I manage to maintain everything and are amazed when I explain that it only takes me two hours each week to cut the grass and I simply leave the wooded areas to their own devices as well as many of the border areas, which are naturally overgrown.  The result is an abundance of wildlife, which I find far more enjoyable than a manicured garden.

    If you want exquisitely manicured lawns and show gardens then a few acres probably will be too much for one couple, without a lot of help anyway.  But if you can live with something more 'wild' and natural then there can be less maintenance required than the average large garden.  I'm currently enjoying an abundance of snowdrops and aconites, the daffodils are well on their way and by the summer the wooded areas will be alive with bluebells - none of which requires any maintenance.  We also have resident swans that have nested for the past few years on a pond and few days go by without seeing Greylag and Canada geese as well as deer (another reason to avoid a manicured garden as they'll eat the flowers!).  My wildlife cameras have caught foxes, badgers, otters, hedgehogs, deer doing their rounds at dusk and dawn, not to mention the frogs and grass snakes in the ponds.

    I guess I'm saying that garden maintenance is largely a state of mind.  Letting things revert to a more natural environment will require little or no regular maintenance other than a bit of lawn mowing (easy with suitable machinery) and can be just as rewarding as something resembling the Chelsea flower show.  It's probably not the right approach for a suburban semi but is ideal for a few acres, meaning that the maintenance burden doesn't scale up as much as people often think.
    I would be happy with a patch of woodland if we had that sort of budget!   We live in Worcestershire not the South East.   What I have found on Right Move is bungalows with large gardens tend to need a total refurbishment which I don't want to do.   Don't get me wrong I enjoy gardening but I have made a bit of rod for my own back with 17 flower beds!  So a garden with a bit more hard landscaping and fewer flower beds would be welcome.  The garden is certainly not "manicured" more cottage garden look, nor do we live in the suburbs or want to.
    16/04/2021  Property on market
    24/04/2021  Viewings
    26/04/2021  Offer received and accepted
  • thriftytraceythriftytracey Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    I'm going to start by pointing out that I am a city girl at heart, and always will be, so the thought of moving to a lovely village has always filled me with horror ... 

    However, I'm going to share my parents' experience. They moved from London to a small town. They never drove. You may be drivers now but it's worth bearing in mind that the time may come when it is no longer safe for you to do so, either short or long term - cataracts, hips, knees, hearts ... I just remember one of them complaining how difficult it could be to get around - the buses weren't as frequent as they were used to, they never believed in paying for taxis etc. The local hospital was small and didn't do everything that was needed: they often had to travel 30 miles or so for hospital appointments. And so on. And I said something about "well you can't expect the same number of hospitals and transport links as in London, surely you expected this." And the response was "Yes, we knew that, but we didn't expect to be ill." Which just seemed a bit short-sighted to me. 

    Now in my parents case, there WERE buses, there WAS a hospital, there WERE shops. Another friend moved to a more rural location - weekly bus service to one town, weekly on a different day to another town, about an hour in either before it was time to come back. So once they couldn't drive, it was quite isolated. 

    That's not to say there weren't good points: for my parents the local volunteer agency ran a minibus service most days of the week to the Age UK Day Centre where they could get a lunch with other people. The minibus then went to a couple of supermarkets, each once a week, and they made good friends there and at other activities. 

    My parents up-sized, no idea why, and after a while one found it all a bit much and wanted to move, while the other one didn't. Plus the one who wanted to move wasn't really well enough and it was all a bit too much. If either of them had lost their mobility, the house would have been impossible to adapt. Whereas I walked into our current house, and after a while thought "hey, nice wide doorways, plenty of turning space, lovely low wide staircase, I could get a wheelchair round here very nicely if I had to." And some other friends who moved in their 50s caused great amusement to their builders by asking for this that and the other to be done, including widening all the doorways, because they really wanted to future-proof the house. So whatever you do, think about future-proofing! 

    Mickey makes a very good point about smaller gardens vs larger ones. I have another friend on the point of moving away: currently in a small development with very private gardens, they've looked at a few places and then thought "no, that would be too overlooked." 

    it does sound as if you'd be OK getting yourself out and about and making friends, which was one worry with my parents although they actually did well. But I happened to meet a couple while we were out for our constitutional the other day: they'd ended up moving mid-lockdown, and so hadn't been able to join any conventional activities or meet any new friends at all. They sit on a bench near their home and just chat to anyone passing who was prepared to stop! 
    Hi Savvy Sue and thanks for your input.
    We are both drivers but well aware of the problems of living in a village as you get older - ideally I would like to live in a village pretty close to a town and with similar amenities to what we have at the moment.  It is very convenient to have a GP surgery here.  My mother drove a car right up to her death from a stroke as do a number of people I know locally who are in their late 80's and still drive competently.  Of course all that that is down to genetics, lifestyle and luck!  We are looking for a bungalow or chalet style house because of this and a property without too many steps.   Bus service can be very patchy depending where you live although on our travels we have noticed that some areas are well served (presumably because they are touristy).  As we age we can adapt our new property accordingly - still feel pretty young and fit at the moment!
    16/04/2021  Property on market
    24/04/2021  Viewings
    26/04/2021  Offer received and accepted
  • gwynlasgwynlas Forumite
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    Moving from Worcestershire to those counties near you is obviously not such a big step and you would still be very central for caravan touring in the UK. We moved from London to the Dorset/Hants border twice having had to sell up and move into one of our rental properties at one stage. At one time we rented on the M4 corridor whilst we decided where to settle and returned to our previous vilage as in walking disance to beach. shops library and Dr with good transport links if needed in the future.Lots of people around here have motor homes/caravans and there is easy access to ports. Perhaps you could rent in an area for 12 months to help you make your mind up. 
  • BabyStepperBabyStepper Forumite
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    You don't sound entirely sure of your reasons for wanting to move. Being nearer the ports - how many holidays to France are you planning per year? A lot? And having a more manageable garden - you could easily get your flower beds turfed over and buy some nice, low maintenance pots for flowers that don't need so much bending over. Gardens are easily converted to low maintenance with a few tons of gravel and a local gardener with a ride on mower. Your dogs like the beach but you've said that's not a priority. 

    The main reason seems to be wanting to be somewhere quieter, entirely reasonable. I have loved rural living in the past and hope to love it again in my future. I wondered if you are in your early or late 60s, and if you just fancy a change of scene and to see what it's like down in Devon, then my advice is to just go for it. You could easily have 10 good years + of holidaying in France, walking dogs on the beach, meeting new people and enjoying a quiet location. 

    If either of you becomes unwell then you might need to rethink, but I wouldn't be anticipating that too soon. Keep in mind that it's a possibility, but get on with your life in the meantime because it might never happen. My grandparents went from living entirely independently and enjoying life to sudden death, although my parents are not so lucky. There is no way to predict how it will be, but supporting my grandparents and parents through changes, I'd say don't dilute your dreams because of some unknown future event. If the pandemic's taught me anything, it's that we only live once. A cliche, but particularly true at the moment. 
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  • thriftytraceythriftytracey Forumite
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    gwynlas said:
    Moving from Worcestershire to those counties near you is obviously not such a big step and you would still be very central for caravan touring in the UK. We moved from London to the Dorset/Hants border twice having had to sell up and move into one of our rental properties at one stage. At one time we rented on the M4 corridor whilst we decided where to settle and returned to our previous vilage as in walking disance to beach. shops library and Dr with good transport links if needed in the future.Lots of people around here have motor homes/caravans and there is easy access to ports. Perhaps you could rent in an area for 12 months to help you make your mind up. 
    Have thought if we don't find anywhere we could stay in our caravan for a few months!  Of course renting is another option, although not sure if you have to give six months' notice?  How long did it take to find you property?  I don't want to be in the situation where you start to feel desperate and end up buying something you regret (as we did in the 1980's).  The New Forest is lovely although I expect the house prices are eye wateringly pricey.  Dorset also an option although it did seem very built up and busy in the north of the county.
    16/04/2021  Property on market
    24/04/2021  Viewings
    26/04/2021  Offer received and accepted
  • in_my_welliesin_my_wellies Forumite
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    I would be happy with a patch of woodland if we had that sort of budget!   We live in Worcestershire not the South East.   What I have found on Right Move is bungalows with large gardens tend to need a total refurbishment which I don't want to do.   Don't get me wrong I enjoy gardening but I have made a bit of rod for my own back with 17 flower beds!  So a garden with a bit more hard landscaping and fewer flower beds would be welcome.  The garden is certainly not "manicured" more cottage garden look, nor do we live in the suburbs or want to.
    I could have written your first post, it sounds like the village I live / lived in.  I bought a house in Devon with a large garden, flower beds, veg plot, pond, wild bits and woodland bits. Due to circumstances and good fortune I was able to rent back my original house for peppercorn rent in return for acting as house-sitter. Several new owners had put their mark on the garden changing my cottage garden to much hard landscaping with patios, walls, steps and gravel paths everywhere. All looks beautiful, modern and lovely but it is MUCH harder to look after and keep looking tidy than the more natural look. I'm constantly needing to tidy edges, sweep paths and rake gravel whereas my cottage garden just needs a quick mow and hoe and it's all done 
    Love living in a village in the country side
  • thriftytraceythriftytracey Forumite
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    You don't sound entirely sure of your reasons for wanting to move. Being nearer the ports - how many holidays to France are you planning per year? A lot? And having a more manageable garden - you could easily get your flower beds turfed over and buy some nice, low maintenance pots for flowers that don't need so much bending over. Gardens are easily converted to low maintenance with a few tons of gravel and a local gardener with a ride on mower. Your dogs like the beach but you've said that's not a priority. 

    The main reason seems to be wanting to be somewhere quieter, entirely reasonable. I have loved rural living in the past and hope to love it again in my future. I wondered if you are in your early or late 60s, and if you just fancy a change of scene and to see what it's like down in Devon, then my advice is to just go for it. You could easily have 10 good years + of holidaying in France, walking dogs on the beach, meeting new people and enjoying a quiet location. 

    If either of you becomes unwell then you might need to rethink, but I wouldn't be anticipating that too soon. Keep in mind that it's a possibility, but get on with your life in the meantime because it might never happen. My grandparents went from living entirely independently and enjoying life to sudden death, although my parents are not so lucky. There is no way to predict how it will be, but supporting my grandparents and parents through changes, I'd say don't dilute your dreams because of some unknown future event. If the pandemic's taught me anything, it's that we only live once. A cliche, but particularly true at the moment. 
    The principal reasons is to move to somewhere quieter and more peaceful and not near a main road and to have a view.  We did once have a view from our current property which has now been built on!  So I would be very careful to check that any view is safe from development.  Having said that everywhere seems to be at threat of development unless you live in a National Park.  A low maintenance garden here is not enough for me to stay.  Yes, that is exactly that - move now while we can and enjoy the best years of our retirement.  I am quite an anxious person so I suppose I am looking for reassurance that other people have done it and not regretted it!  Or vice versa!  Reading the posts on Buying Homes forum on MSE also makes me realise the whole process is very stressful as well.
    16/04/2021  Property on market
    24/04/2021  Viewings
    26/04/2021  Offer received and accepted
  • p00hsticksp00hsticks Forumite
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    .. I just remember one of them complaining how difficult it could be to get around - the buses weren't as frequent as they were used to, they never believed in paying for taxis etc. 
    I think a lot of people seem to begrudge paying for taxis, when in many instances it would work out far cheaper than running a car just to do a weekly shop and an occasional trip to the doctors surgery etc. Where my parents lived, which was quite rural outside of the main town, with infrequent bus services, they had a scheme where instead of a bus pass you could choose instead to get tokens which coudl be used to pay for taxis. I don't think they do it any more
  • edited 7 March at 10:33PM
    Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    edited 7 March at 10:33PM
    I realise that my response is also coloured by the fact that I found our move here traumatic, and swore I'd leave whatever we bought in a box (when the estate agent was explaining why house A would hold its value better than house B )!

    We should downsize, and whatever we buy WILL be our last purchase, but others may remain more open to moving more than once in later life. 
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