Renting Was The Most Viable Option

Renting in retirement is becoming far more commonplace for today’s over-60s, especially as it means being able to live in an area where they wouldn’t necessarily be able to buy. 

This was true for Robert Wragg, 65 and his wife Jennifer, 72, for whom the option to rent also came at the perfect time.

Robert and Jennifer's Story

Robert explains: “Jennifer and I got married in our 50s, so whilst we’d both been married before and owned our own properties, this time around when we decided it was time to find somewhere else to live longer-term, renting provided the ideal option for us.”

Deciding to sell their four bedroom detached house in Redditch, the couple moved to Milward Place, a McCarthy Stone Retirement Living development just a few streets away. Home is now a much more manageable one bedroom apartment, with access to landscaped gardens and a warm community of likeminded people just like them. 

Robert continues: “It was a terrific decision for us. We can cover the rent without the need to have to think about buying again.

Initially we took out a 12 month contract so we could decide for ourselves how we liked it, but after being here just a few short weeks we’re really enjoying ourselves and the sense of freedom it has given us is fantastic.”

Robert who still works full time at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), where he has worked for the last 41 years installing mechanical services, says: “Being able to rent gave us the sense of mobility we needed. 

A Trouble Free Move

“All your options open up very quickly when you rent. We were able to move in within an afternoon, and could do so without needing to exchange contracts on our old house. With the different complications that property chains can bring, we didn’t want to be delayed. Instead, renting meant we could move on our own terms.”

In fact, Robert and Jennifer completed on their house just before they were due to move in to Milward Place, and by choosing to downsize it enabled their old property to be freed up for a younger family.

“It was a nice feeling”, says Robert. “We were able to give them a lot of the furniture we didn’t plan on taking to the new apartment – beds, book shelves, sofas, and negotiate this as part of the sale. It worked out well for us as we needed to declutter, and for them because they were upsizing and benefited from having the additional stuff.”

Robert and Jennifer kitted-out their apartment with new furniture and the next day the removals company came. By 2pm the couple were ready to unpack and by 5pm everything was in its rightful place so the couple could put their feet up on the sofa and enjoy a cup of tea.

“It felt very seamless”, says Robert. 

“When you rent if something goes wrong we just ring McCarthy Stone and they arrange for someone to come and fix the problem. We don’t pay for that and our service charge is included in our monthly payments. In our previous home we were forever decorating and cleaning. Now the apartment is so low maintenance we barely have to lift a finger. It’s warm, cosy and has a relaxed atmosphere which makes you feel right at home.” 

“Everything has worked out perfectly. I only wish we knew about renting with McCarthy Stone before!”

A Whole New Community 

Jennifer is retired and is very much enjoying the social aspect of living at the development, and the new friends she has met. 

“There is a communal lounge where we all get together” says Robert. “We’ve nicknamed it ‘Milward Arms’ Monday-Friday as the ladies like to get together for as glass of wine and the men a beer or two; and ‘Milward Social’ at the weekends where we share a good laugh and a talk, and we plan events and lunches with everyone. 

“I’ve really enjoyed bringing people together and getting them involved in different things. It’s nice to know I can help out where needed, and there’s a real sense of neighbourliness despite it being such a new community.”

As Robert looks to retire himself at the end of next year, he is looking forward to being able to spend more time with Jennifer in their new surroundings.

Robert continues: “Jennifer will tell you ‘I’m married to the job’ but it’s my passion. I enjoy it but I would like to have more time with family and friends. My mother is 96 and I have a daughter, son, and grandchildren, and just recently, great granddaughter so there’s five generations to keep happy!”

He continues: “Moving to Milward Place is a great new start for us both. When we saw the advert for it in the local paper it was like fate. We’d never appreciated that we might be able to rent the retirement lifestyle we have now, and we could well have missed out.

I feel so lucky that we didn’t and so happy that we managed to take advantage of the opportunity just in time, and that the sale of our house could go through uncomplicated.