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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Our biggest regret

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?  

As we age, and our health starts to suffer, we're thinking about our future more and more.  One worry is whether we'll be able to continue living here indefinitely if/when one of us dies leaving the other alone, or if (or rather, when) husband is unable to continue driving a car.  It's such a small hamlet, with no facilities, in a very rural area - yes it's lovely and we have very nice neighbours, but the downside is none of the necessary facilities are within walking distance, and we have no public transport here.  Our neighbours are mostly our age or older, so they're in the same boat as ourselves.  Will the surviving partner even be able to afford to remain here, bearing in mind we'll probably need taxis to take us around in the future, and they're not cheap?

We don't regret moving here to this house, we both love it and we've had 8 happy years here, and 18 months before that in our first Somerset house....moving down here from the Midlands has honestly been one of the best decisions we ever made.  But with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better to choose a house still in a rural location, but much nearer to a town, or at least some basic facilities such as a GP surgery and a shop or two, and a bus service.  Nobody likes moving house at the best of times, but the thought of possibly having to up sticks and move again, at some point in the future, fills me with horror.

But the thing we both regret the most, and would go back and change in a heartbeat if we could, is not buying another house when we sold our last house back in the Midlands in 2001.  At the time, property prices were booming and we got a very good price for our house.....it sold at the full asking price just 2 days after we put it on the market.  In fact, as it sold so quickly, we had no time to look around for another house to buy and took a 6 months lease on a rental property, planning on using the time to look for another house.  However, we really liked the rental house, it was in a lovely quiet residential area and we had wonderful friendly neighbours with whom we got on really well.  The letting agent said there was every possibility that the landlord (who had no intention of ever living in the property again) would agree to sell it to us, or if he didn't he'd be happy to have us as long term tenants.  Well, he decided he didn't want to sell it and we ended up staying there as tenants for 9 years.  After the first couple of years, when it became obvious we weren't going to be allowed to buy the house, we spent the banked profit from the sale of our previous house on a new car and a touring caravan, having decided we liked living there so much we wanted to stay.

And then everything changed and we moved to Somerset - fine, it had always been our dream to retire to the country, we just decided to do it before retirement, whilst we were still young enough to enjoy it, and were lucky enough to find a nice rental property quickly.  But because of that decision years ago not to immediately buy another house, we've been stuck renting ever since.  And will be for the rest of our lives.  Which means that, whilst most people our ages will have paid off their mortgages and have more money available in their old ages, we're still going to be paying out hundreds of pounds every month ad infinitum.  The big bonus of living in a rental property is that we don't have expensive maintenance costs, which are of course the landlord's responsibility.  BUT we're at the landlord's mercy - if he decides he wants the house back for whatever reason (it will likely be money), then we're out on our ears.  And that's always a worry.  We did go to the CAB and the Council, to see what our rights were regarding social housing....we're only eligible for a 1-bedroom flat, but our chances of getting one aren't high as we don't (at the moment!) have any special needs.

As I said, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

7 comments:

  1. I'm sure we all wish we had the power to foresee the future (to a certain extent). We make decisions based on the options available to us at the time. We can't change the past, much as we might want to at times. I agree about wanting to live somewhere close to amenities, though. As you get older, you want to be able to get to shops/surgeries etc easily. xx

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  2. It is a wonderful thing and we've all had it at one time or another. I know I have and I tend to try to focus in the good things that came out of the decision (not always successfully, but I try). If I'd not married I wouldn't have had to go through a divorce with all the assoviated traumas and sorrow but I wouldn't have Beth, Dave and Alex and I cannot imagine that. I guess life is one long balance on a seasaw really.
    Love to you.
    xx

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  3. Hi Sue hope all is good with you.
    We have been through a similar journey as you selling ours in 2010.
    We love it here and would never be able to afford a place like this, our land lord owns the property we rent with his brother, it has been valued this year so at the end of the day they could sell whenever, luckily we are ready to do something ourselves now just using a very small pension, we actually enquired about something today but it has had an offer already so looks like it will be no good which is a shame.

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  4. When Tony and I were thinking of moving a couple of years ago, my very wise friend suggested buying near shops, a doctors surgery and a bus route. That colours our decision every time we get the urge to up sticks and downsize.

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  5. My advice for what it is worth would be to start looking at possible places to move to in the future - a small village perhaps or market town - where there are a few shops and on a bus route. When my dad died my mum then 80 tried to carry on - she even drove for a while but she lived in a lonely spot with beautiful view and garden between two villages with steep hills, not near any shops and not on a bus route. Eventually she got too lonely and it was a struggle getting out for food especially in the winter etc so she had to sell up and bought a McCarthy and Stone retirement apartment nearer to my sister. She wished she had done it when dad was still alive -it gave her a new lease of life -she has shops, the hairdressers and doctors and a park nearby - even now at 93 she is still just about coping and has never looked back.
    It is a difficult decision to plan for the future and hard to imagine yourself older and with a more limited mobility but I know from experience with my grandparents and then parents that it does come to us all and I think it is best to be prepared.
    I agree with the hindsight though - it happens to us all too. x

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  6. Even though you love where you live it isn't conducive to staying there into old age, going by what you've written above. Moving is a very stressful time but we all have to do what we have to do. Just my opinion, but I would start looking for somewhere better suited for your old age sooner rather than later.

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  7. I believe in , the right thing will happen when it needs to. Just keep all options open and be ready when it happens.

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