Our Patch Spring 2018 Chiswick - Page 20

OUR PATCH SPRING 2018 ASK THE EXPERTS HONEY, I SHRUNK THE L ast week, my husband came home and announced that he was in love. “I’m not having another rusty old heap of metal standing in front of the house!” I fumed. Over the years, my beloved has had a love affair with old British cars – most of them not in the best of states! “It’s not a car, it’s a road!” he beamed, pleased as punch to have caught me out. It turned out that on a mission to deliver a parcel to an old chum he had stumbled across a secluded cul-de-sac of eye-wateringly picturesque Victorian cottages. “I could imagine us living there,” he said. These last words were music to my ears. A few months back, we had had a conversation about whether we extend the kitchen and do other renovations to our Edwardian pile, or downsize to a smaller home, and avoid sinking our last brass sous into bricks and mortar. My husband came down firmly in favour of the former, saying the only time he would be leaving was when he was carried out in a box. This change of heart was reassuring. According to Saga, 70% of over 50s are considering moving to a smaller property to fund a new life in their 20 / 21 retirement – called rightsizing. “While it’s a difficult decision it can also be an incredibly rewarding one,” said Saga’s Lisa Harris. “Releasing yourself from the shackles of a large home that needs maintaining can give you more time, and rightsizing can allow people to release money from their home so that they can keep doing the things they love.” According to Saga, 70% of over 50s are considering moving to a smaller property to fund a new life in retirement Making it happen Any property move is a big one, so it’s important to get expert advice before you bite the bullet. Planner Yussuf Mwanza said his company could do a ‘sense check’ to determine if there had been any planning issues in the past, and what the chances were that approval would be granted for any alterations such as building an extension or granny annexe, or making changes to the footprint or access because of mobility issues. A case review might even determine whether a client went ahead and bought the property, said Yussuf whose Chiswick-based company MZA Planning helps numerous clients negotiate the choppy waters of councils’ planning departments. “We could advise whether or not the idea they have in mind is even feasible and save our clients a lot of time and money.” Surveyor John O’Neill said a survey could give his clients the reassurance they need about the structural condition of the building – especially as one of the main reasons for downsizing was to free themselves from the physical and financial burden of maintaining a large property. “I always ask what they might be proposing in the way of alterations, or if they have any particular concerns – something they might get alarmed about may actually be nothing – but I Loft extension by Ash Island Lofts