Retirement is, over anything, time for you to invest in yourself. After years of service in your trade or industry, you get to focus your energy on the things that matter to you most – whether family, friends, hobbies or causes close to your heart. The freedom retirement brings also enables you to look inward – at your home, and the various changes you may want or even need to make for your own quality of life. But how should you plan such an endeavour?
Deciding on Scope
First and foremost, you need to decide on the full scope of your potential renovations. Are you intending to address every room in your home, or take renovations slowly and tackle one room at a time? Your answers to these questions will have implications for your future planning and your budget; even if you don’t have a direct understanding of the changes you want made yet, a rough idea of the scope will be incredibly helpful in getting quotes from contractors and drawing up a timescale.
Accessibility and Independence
For many retirees, renovation projects are not simply for aesthetic reasons – nor just to spur appreciation of property value. Rather, renovating is the perfect opportunity to make real quality-of-life changes to the home, in order to allow greater freedom in later life.
It is an unfortunate fact that more medical issues start to develop as we age, and there comes a point where it is not quite as easy to carry out certain tasks as it once was. Arthritis and osteoporosis can make it difficult to navigate stairs, while balance issues can develop that make it hard to move around without assistance. Your renovations could include big interventions that help with this, from the installation of handrails in your bathrooms to the installation of a stairlift for independent access to upper floors.
Costs and Budget
Of course, all of these changes – on top of basic aesthetic changes to rooms and spaces – incur not-insignificant costs and charges. As such, it is key that you have an initial budget drawn up to ensure you do not spend money you don’t have on bigger things.
Knowing your budget ahead of planning also gives you time to think about alternative sources of funding. Equity release is a common option for over-55s, that enables you to re-invest part of your property’s value in renovation work – often without having to pay anything but the interest until the property is eventually sold. Re-investing existing equity like this can make it much easier to afford the more expensive parts of your renovation, such as wheelchair lifts or stairlifts.
Of course, renovation work of any kind will be disruptive enough so as to disturb your living situation. As such, your budget should include alternative accommodation for the duration of the work. This might simply be a few nights in a nearby hotel, but might extend to a short-term rental if renovation work is particularly extensive.