We answer common questions and concerns about McCarthy Stone retirement living
Many people have misconceptions about what retirement living at a McCarthy Stone retirement property means - here we tackle those myths and concerns head on.
Q1: My privacy is important to me – I don't like the idea of communal facilities.
A: While McCarthy Stone retirement properties do offer communal facilities for socialising, such as a large luxurious lounge with wi-fi, a landscaped garden or a stylish roof terrace, your retirement apartment is owned - or rented - by you and is completely self-contained, private and designed for independent living. Retirement Living PLUS developments also offer a restaurant or bistro on-site that you can use as much or as little as you choose, there is no obligation.
Q2: I can’t move to a McCarthy Stone apartment because I have a pet.
A: We offer pet-friendly retirement homes – even if you choose a retirement rental! Pets are very much part of the family, which is why, with a few exceptions - like venomous snakes (!)- we welcome well-behaved animals into our retirement developments - while being mindful of the needs of pet-free people living in our communities too. Read our pet policy.
Q3: I have a large home with room for family and friends to stay - if I downsize how will I entertain?
A: McCarthy Stone’s apartments are designed to maximise space and comfort – people are surprised at how spacious they are. There's plenty of room to entertain. but If you feel you need more space, you can also meet friends and family in the communal lounge. And, if you don't want the bother of looking after overnight guests, visitors can book to stay in the luxurious hotel-style guest suite. Guest suites are available at most developments for a small fee and can also be used by homeowners for holidays.
Q4: The thought of decluttering and packing up my home puts me off moving.
A: Moving home is a huge step and can be daunting. But don’t let that hold you back. Most people tell us they wish they'd made the move sooner! We’re here for you at every stage from choosing the right retirement housing to guiding through the buying and selling process. If you don't want the bother of viewings, ask about our part exchange package. You’ll benefit from a guaranteed house sale, no chain and no estate agent fees. Then there's our free Smooth Move service where, as well as contributions to your legal and estate agents fees, our removals partners can help you to declutter, pack, transport your possessions and unpack them in your new retirement home. And, when you do move in, we can help you with things like putting up shelves and pictures, so you feel completely settled sooner. Read our guide to moving.
Q5: Is it more expensive to live in a McCarthy Stone apartment than in my current home?
A: In most cases, McCarthy Stone apartments are more cost effective than a larger home. Heating and energy costs, for example, are usually lower due to energy efficiency, modern construction standards and the more manageable size. But if you are concerned, talk to member of the McCarthy Stone team. They will discuss your needs, help calculate your costs, review what is covered in the service charge and compare it to the day-to-day running costs of your current home. You'll also find a handy service charge calculator on each of the retirement development pages.
Did you know? There a are a range of ways to move into a McCarthy Stone retirement property, including: buying outright, renting, part buy, part rent and even Shared Ownership. These options are designed to give you the financial flexibility to suit your circumstances and they all offer equal access to our fabulous lifestyle and services. Read our guide to financially planning for your retirement property.
Q6: Buying a property that isn’t even built yet doesn’t sound like a good idea!
A: While it can seem strange, 'buying off-plan' comes with many advantages. You’ll be the first to see the plans and prices and get first choice of plots on the development. Our sales teams are happy to answer questions and bring the plot to life. There are also tours where you can look around a similar development and get a feeling of the lifestyle before you buy. Read our guide to buying off-plan.
Q7: I love my outdoor space. Moving into an apartment means I’ll lose it.
A: Most developments have beautiful, landscaped gardens and many have gardening clubs, fruit and vegetable plots and potting sheds that green-fingered homeowners can enjoy. Most ground-floor apartments have patios and there are often balconies on higher floors too. And the benefit is that all exterior maintenance is taken care of, so you are freed from chores such as mowing and weeding and can just enjoy the grounds. Read our guide to balcony gardening.
Q8: I’ve never come across service charges before. They sound expensive?
A: Service charges are charged in all housing developments and apartments with communal spaces ,not just retirement housing. In our case, the service charge allows us to provide elegant communal areas, thoughtful services and amenities for retirement living that meet customers’ expectations and McCarthy Stone’s own high standards.
In our Retirement Living developments the charge covers the:
- House manager
- 24-hour emergency call system
- Camera door entry system
- Buildings insurance
- Maintenance of buildings exteriors, communal areas and grounds
- Water and sewerage rates
- Cleaning of external windows
- Communal area heating
Retirement Living Plus developments offer flexible care options and have an on-site team available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service charge also includes:
- Running costs of the restaurant or bistro*
- One hour of domestic support per week** from staff on site covering chores like cleaning, shopping and domestic help. Homeowners choose how best to use this support
- The additional cost of the on-site support team.
The service charge varies between developments but is formulated the same way across the country. Charges are fixed on an annual basis and we are transparent about the way it is calculated. The charge each year is agreed in consultation with homeowners through an open-book budgeting process. The best price is negotiated with service providers and service charges are regularly monitored against others in the market and third-party providers to ensure competitive rates. Read our service charge guide.
Q9: If there’s major work to be done at the development will I have to foot the bill?
A: It is important that homeowners do not face any unexpected financial burdens resulting from, for example, the need for major refurbishment in the retirement development. To ensure there's enough money to meet any unexpected work, the service charge includes a small amount to help cover unexpected costs. This is called the Contingency Fund and is similar to a “sinking fund”. It is kept in the development’s bank account and is held in trust for the maintenance of the development. To keep this weekly cost – and the service charge – to a minimum, the development’s Contingency Fund is 'topped up' by a one-off charge of 1 per cent of the resale price on the sale of the apartment.
Q10: What happens when I decide to sell up? What are the resale values?
A: At McCarthy Stone, we're dedicated in supporting our customers at every stage of their journey with us – even when they come to sell their property. Our experienced Resales team offers a seamless approach for our customers and their families looking to sell and the majority of our managed retirement properties increase in value on resale. Read our guide to reselling your McCarthy Stone property.
Have a problem? We’re here to help. We take complaints against McCarthy Stone very seriously. Read the McCarthy Stone complaints policy and what to do if you have an issue or concern.
Enjoy the unique benefits of the McCarthy Stone retirement living lifestyle.
Safe, secure and sociable, McCarthy Stone’s stunning retirement homes provide the perfect place to relax, enjoy life and meet new people. And with a range of retirement communities, McCarthy Stone offers a home for every retirement dream. Choose from:
•Retirement Living developments: independent living for the over 60s, blending private, luxurious and low maintenance accommodation with a friendly community just outside the front door.
•Retirement Living PLUS: assisted living for the over 70s, with all the benefits of a Retirement Living apartment but with thoughtful added amenities including a bistro and care support.
•Retirement bungalows: secure, low maintenance - and stair-free – living, usually with a private garden and garage/parking.
•Retirement villages: a mix of housing: coach houses, cottages, bungalows and apartments usually with other amenities too.
*Terms and conditions apply
**Varies by development