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Upsizing To Three-Bedroom Properties In Later Life

Posted 1 March 2022 by Helen Christie

Two couples have opted to upsize rather than downsize in later life…

Many people choose to downsize in retirement and later life, but two couples have turned tradition on its head and chosen to upsize…

Meadowburne Place

David and Kathy

David and Kathy Stitchman have bought a larger new home at Barratt Homes’ Meadowburne Place development in Eastbourne.

David, 63, and Kathy, 62, had thought they were doing the right thing by moving into a compact bungalow after their two children had left home. Instead, they found themselves feeling cooped up during the COVID lockdowns and finding their two-bedroom property limited their ability to have their growing extended family come to stay. So, they decided to seize the moment and opt for a brand new, three-bedroom home that would provide ample space for entertaining their eight grandchildren as well as allowing Kathy to add two new kittens to the family.

“It’s not what people usually do at our age, but we moved to get more space,” said Kathy. “The whole COVID lockdown business made us feel quite down, and being shut up in such a cramped space was bad for our mental health so we decided to start looking for somewhere with a third bedroom and more room to breathe.”

David owns a taxi company in East Grinstead and had been considering retirement, but the couple decided they weren’t ready, so carried on working part-time doing gardening around Bexhill and East Grinstead. 

In the end it was the Norbury house type from Barratt at Meadowburne Place that caught their eye, and the couple reserved on the day of their visit. Once they had made the decision things moved quickly, and just 14 weeks later they were moving into their spacious new home.

“We love it here – it’s only an eight-minute drive to the sea and close to the Downs, and the development has a good community vibe,” says David. “We get on really well with our neighbours, although they are younger than us.” 

The couple bought the three-storey Norbury house as cash buyers for £342,995 as they had sold their mortgage-free bungalow for £365,000, leaving them with cash in hand to buy new furniture, carpets and a shed for the garden. They are enjoying the spacious open-plan ground floor, with French doors on to the lawn, while the large master bedroom with en suite and dressing room on the second floor, and the two first floor bedrooms with family bathroom, provide flexible accommodation for family visits. “We are enjoying starting from scratch with a brand new home, and the manageable garden size and extra bedroom make it perfect for us,” says Kathy.

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Richmond Park

Barbara and Sam

For Barbara Roy and Sam Mansfield, retirement marked the first step in an exciting new phase of their lives as they moved into their first home together at Barratt Kent’s Richmond Park development at Whitfield near Dover.

Although they had been together as a couple for a decade, Barbara, 69, and Sam, 67, previously lived apart – Barbara in a two-bedroom, Shared Ownership apartment in Maidstone and Sam in the home he still shared with his ex-wife in Kingsdown. “We had been talking about buying our own place for several years,” says Barbara, “but getting a mortgage was not the easiest thing to do at our age.”

Instead, the couple concentrated on saving, and Barbara, who worked as a medical secretary, continued working past normal retirement age, finally clearing her desk the day before their big move in October 2021. Sam, who retired as a police officer in 2005, rejoined the force as a civilian police support officer, finally retiring in June.

Rather than downsize to somewhere small, buying their first home together later in life gave the couple the opportunity to pool their resources and buy a slightly larger property. They were able, between them, to put down £180,000 deposit on their £290,000 mid-terraced home at Richmond Park, funding the rest with a 10-year mortgage – the longest they were able to find.

The couple decided to move to the Dover area both because it offered better value for money than Maidstone, but also because they had friends and family there and knew the area. “We looked at other options, but we wouldn’t have been able to afford a nice house like this in Maidstone as it’s so expensive there. We feel so fortunate – we couldn’t have dreamed of finding a better place to live,” says Barbara.

They decided to look at new build homes for the convenience. “The house is absolutely superb and we haven’t got to do anything to it – we might have found a slightly cheaper older house but then we would have had to spend a lot of money renovating it. Instead, we can enjoy our retirement and live our best life!”

The house benefits from a south-facing garden which will be ideal for the newest member of the family – the couple are hoping to rehome a dog, as Sam has had five four-legged friends in the past and is looking for a new walking companion. “We hope to get a medium-sized dog from a rescue, which will encourage us to go out for more walks, including to the local country pubs we have found.” The expanse of shingle beach at St Margaret’s Bay, backed by white cliffs, is only 10 minutes away in the car and the couple are looking forward to leisurely winter dog walks along the beach.

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Featured Developments
Eastbourne, East Sussex BN22
Price on application
Meadowburne Place
Eastbourne, East Sussex BN22
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Barratt Homes
Buckland Valley, Kent CT16
£277,995 - £485,995
Barratt Homes At Richmond Park
Buckland Valley, Kent CT16
2 - 4 bedroom properties
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