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Independent retirement living developments bring a number of benefits, including having a maintenance free lifestyle and a feel of close community.
And best friends Ceinwen Kerslake (85) and Gillian Morgan (77) have found an added benefit - living next door to each other at communal development Homegower House in Swansea.
Their friendship spans over 40 years. Gillian says: “After both losing our husbands, we each experienced the loneliness of being widows living in larger houses and wanted to downsize. I would come and visit Cei who moved into the development first, and eventually decided to buy a flat of my own right next door!
“Living next door to each other has brought us closer together as friends, we now spend five days a week together, doing activities like eating out with friends and joining in the developments activities.”
Cei added: “Living so close to each other gives us the peace of mind that we can rely on each other when needed, whether that’s a medical emergency or just borrowing milk for a cup of tea.
“We actually tend to share food and save money on our weekly shop! We never expected to live so close to each other in later life but the company we offer has brought us so much joy, we would encourage anyone in a similar situation to us to do the same.”
Laura Fisher, Sales Manager at Retirement Homesearch says: “It’s wonderful to hear about the close friendship of the two ladies, which has continued to flourish at Homegower House. We’re so happy Retirement Homesearch were the estate agents who helped Gillian find her perfect property.
“We’re seeing a growing number of enquiries for friends and families looking to live near each other or in the same development building. And this is a trend we’re expecting to see continue, especially with rising living costs.
“Independent retirement living is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a safe and secure forever home with the benefits of communal lounges and spaces to socialise with friends and families.
Retirement Homesearch has a range of available homes for sale – including a couple of beautiful apartments at the ever popular Homegower House!
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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, a global initiative to raise awareness of cybercrime and to offer advice on how to protect yourself online. Cybercrime (or most commonly known as online fraud or scams), can take place via emails, text messages, fake websites, and computer viruses.
These crimes are unfortunately becoming increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, with even regular internet users and ‘tech savvy’ people losing money or unknowingly sharing their personal information. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), people are more likely to be a victim of fraud or cybercrime than any other crime.
Laura Fisher, sales manager at Retirement Homesearch, offers her top tips to help you stay safe online.
- Passwords – Setting up strong passwords is one of the simplest but also most effective thing to do to stay safe. Avoid passwords made up of your personal information (such as pet names, family names, date of birth) and use random numbers and characters instead to replace any letters. It’s best to avoid writing down your password but if you need a reminder, jot down a hint that only you will understand rather than the actual password. Make sure anything written is stored safely and away from your computer.
- Anti-virus software – Make sure you install (or keep updated) software which looks for and removes viruses before they can infect your device. Anti-spyware software prevents unwanted adverts from popping up and stops programs tracking your activities or scanning your device for personal data, such as credit card numbers or bank details.
- Two factor authentication – Enable two factor authentication on top of your password to help make your accounts secure. It often involves entering a four-to-six-digit pin after typing in your password.
- Wireless network – Make sure your home wireless network (Wi-Fi) is protected so other people living nearby cannot access it. Read the instructions that come with your wireless router to find out how to set up a 'key' (a type of password) so that no one else can access the internet through your router.
- Social media – If you have a social networking account such as Facebook, use the privacy features to choose who can view your profile and posts and avoid publishing information that identifies you, such as your telephone number, address, or date of birth.
- Online banking – Always make sure you log out of your online session, especially if you use a device that others have access to and be especially cautious when using a public computer, such as in a library, to access your online banking as there may not be the right level of security software.
- Emails and text messages – Don’t click on links in emails or texts from unfamiliar senders. Also, if you receive strange or unexpected messages from people you don’t know. Spam or malicious emails and texts are common methods online criminals use to access your personal data. If you are ever unsure, press delete or check in with a trusted friend or family member.
Laura adds: ”No matter what our age - or how much we think we already know about being careful online - we can all benefit from just checking in now and then and making sure we really are following the steps above. Why not share the tips with friends, family and neighbours this – it could make all the difference.”
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Last week, Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a permanent cut to stamp duty, with thresholds raising from £125,000 to £250,000 and for first time buyers, from £300,000 to £425,000. This means a first-time buyer purchasing a property priced at £500,000 will save £2,500.
Retirement Homesearch Sales Manager Laura Fisher says:
“We welcome the cut in stamp duty, which we feel has been long overdue. First-time buyers are already feeling the pinch with increasingly higher interest rates, and they shouldn’t need to have the additional burden of stamp duty costs when trying to get on the first step of the property ladder.
“Previous cuts, such as the covid ‘stamp duty holiday’ have proven to boost the confidence of both buyers and sellers and brought much needed housing stock to the market.
“However, while it’s great that 90% of our available retirement stock now falls below the stamp duty threshold, we feel there is still more that could be done to encourage downsizing. While this latest announcement will provide some relief for first-time buyers, we feel it would also be beneficial to offer support further up the property chain to down sizers or last time movers to help stop the stagnation as many buyers are still struggling to find properties to move on up to.”
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Retirement Homesearch (RHS) has won a silver award at this year’s Negotiator Awards in the category of Hybrid Agency of the Year.
The Negotiator Awards has become the most prestigious awards ceremony for the UK residential estate and letting agency industry. To have been awarded this accolade is a testament to RHS’s customer focus and unique, forward-thinking approach. They achieve this by combining the highest level of online/telephone support with the all-important physical interaction and local knowledge that comes from the Development Managers they work closely with to conduct viewings and educate potential buyers on life at a communal development.
As part of the submission, RHS received some glowing endorsements from its clients…
Cormac Henderson Managing Director, National Property Trade said: “RHS are the best in the business at both handling their client’s needs and ensuring their buyers are given the high level of service and understanding required in the senior’s property market. When it comes to ensuring a smooth hassle free and convenient move, there is nobody better in the retirement industry.”
David Jabbari, CEO and Head of Legal Practice, Connect2Law, added: “While some newer agencies seem very proud of being online and centralised, RHS have been doing this for years! We deal with hundreds of estate agents and RHS is the only agency we know that is truly hybrid, in combining the highest level of online/telephone support with a second to none local knowledge of the properties they sell. RHS manage, from a single site, to transact the kind of business that would require at least 20 high street branches. They are highly innovative, always looking for new ways to extend their local knowledge, such as the regional conferences they hold with key managers in developments, and the ground-breaking development of their RHS Legal Services offering. They are also extremely nice people who are great at their job!”
RHS’s sister company, FirstPort, took home a bronze award in the Property Management Company of the Year category.
Laura Fisher, Sales Manager and Reanne Newport, Part-Exchange Coordinator at the ceremony to pick up the award.
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Recent analysis by leading property agents, Savills found that the value of UK housing stock has hit a record high (increased by 2.7% to £7.29 trillion in 2018), but remains in older hands with more than £77 in every £100 of housing equity being held by the over 50s.
Nick Freeth, Managing Director of Retirement Homesearch, Britain’s number one retirement property specialist, says this picture can change but only if there is a concerted shift in focus from first-time buyers to last-time buyers.