Q Seven years’ ago – aged 60 – we downsized and bought a small flat by the Cornish seaside for £135,000 in cash.
We have found we are too far from our grandchildren and want to move to a town near Bristol. We have no savings and very little income apart from two state pensions.
We can’t decide whether to sell our Cornish flat and buy a park home or small flat in the town. The alternative might be to rent out the flat in order to fund the rent on something up there. Or there’s the risky route of renting this flat out as a holiday let all summer and coming back for the winter.
A I can’t tell you whether the last option you mention is possible. I would need a local holiday-let expert to tell me first, whether your flat is the kind of place which would be solidly booked from the beginning of the season to its end and second, whether in its current state it is suitable as a holiday let. If the answer to both questions is a “no” then I suspect you can rule out option three.
If the answers are “yes” but “no”, you need to think about how you are going to pay for the improvements necessary to make the flat a going concern. Without savings, this could be tricky. I’m also not sure that this option meets the brief of wanting to see more of your grandchildren as you wouldn’t get to see them over winter when you are back in Cornwall, but maybe I’ve missed something.
As to option two, it is also only an option if the rental income (after tax) on the Cornish flat is enough to cover the rent charged on a property you would be happy with in the Bristol area. I suspect that it won’t be.
On a happier note – but depending a lot on what you can sell your Cornish flat for – you should be able to find something to buy in the town you are interested in.
If you limit yourself to properties only available to the over 60s, £129,950 buys you a one-bed flat on the high street; £165,000 gets you a two-bed flat which “enjoys a south-facing aspect and a pleasant open view to the front”; while stretching to £255,000 means you could have a one-bedroom flat close to amenities and handy for buses to Bristol and the surrounding area.
To sum up, I think you need to ask local experts to give you actual figures to enable you to come to a decision that is right for you.