Q&A: 'How can my parents find out about retirement homes for sale?'

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Q. I have a Seventies detached house in a close of five similar properties. I would like to change the exterior of my house to give it some character. Is this possible and do you know where I could go for advice?

Q. I have a Seventies detached house in a close of five similar properties. I would like to change the exterior of my house to give it some character. Is this possible and do you know where I could go for advice?

RK, by e-mail

A. It is possible to alter the exterior of a property, however, you may find that there are planning restraints, especially if the design will not be in keeping with the surrounding properties. I suggest you contact the planning department of your local council first to see what advice they can give you.

There are companies that specialise in this sort of work. Take a look at
www.backtofrontexterior
design.com
(tel: 01252 820984) for examples of the work they undertake. They offer several different options, including a postal service if you live some way from their Surrey offices, for which a watercolour visual of the new exterior is supplied. (Photographs of the existing house would have to be provided.) This costs from £540. The company works alongside a structural engineer to provide full designs and plans if the clients wishes to go ahead. This part of the service starts from £1,530. There will then be the cost of any planning applications, the materials and labour.

Q. A couple of run-down properties in a sought-after road near me have recently become vacant due to the death of their elderly owners. I'd like to see if I could buy one of these properties before they are offered on the open market. Would it be improper for me to approach the neighbours to ask if they know who is in charge of the sales?

CW, by e-mail

A.There is nothing stopping you approaching anyone about the possible sales. These types of houses are usually snapped up by waiting buyers as soon as or even before an agent is instructed, so you are wise to try to get in first.

Asking the neighbours is a good start for a contact name or number of a relative or solicitor. You should also drop a letter into the houses with full details of your request in case an executor or relative visits.

The houses will not necessarily be sold at bargain prices and you will have to factor in the cost of potentially modernising the property.

Q. My parents would like to sell their house and buy a retirement home. Theywould like to live in the centre of a town in one of the Home Counties and wondered how they could find out about homes for sale.

SC, by e-mail

A.They could start with contacting Retirement Homesearch, which is specialist nationwide service for buying and selling retirement homes of all sizes and locations. Details of all the properties available can be found in www.retirementhomesearch.co.uk or by telephoning the sales team on 0870 6005560.

If you would like a query answered, e-mail: propertyq&a@independent.co.uk. Only those questions featured will be answered. Any advice given will not be legally binding

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