The Hidden Costs Of Buying Retirement Properties

Buying a retirement property is a big step. It’s not just the price of the house you need to think about. There are hidden costs that can add up. 

When buying a retirement property to rent out, there are various factors to consider. In this article, we cover it all, with things like service charges, ground rent, and more. Knowing these costs helps you make a good choice when buying a retirement property.

Service Charges 

Service charges are a significant aspect of the cost associated with retirement properties. These charges are designed to cover various essential services and expenses related to the upkeep of the retirement village. 

They typically encompass the maintenance of communal areas, the expenses of the house manager or warden, and necessary building repairs. 

On average, residents can expect to pay around £523.99 per month in service charges. However, it’s important to note that this amount can vary considerably depending on the specific retirement village and the services it offers.

Understanding the details of service charges is crucial when considering a retirement property. It’s not just about the initial purchase price of the property but also the ongoing expenses that come with it. These charges contribute to the overall cost of living in the retirement community and can impact your budget significantly.

Furthermore, it’s essential to inquire about what services are included in the service charges. This varies from one retirement village to another. Some may cover a wide range of services and amenities, while others may have more limited offerings. 

Ground Rent: 

If you buy a resale retirement home, you might have to pay ground rent. This can be between £425 to £500 a year. Missing these payments can lead to problems, so make sure to check this out carefully​​.

Certainly, here are five key considerations when it comes to the hidden costs of buying retirement properties:

  • High Purchase Prices: Retirement properties often come with a premium price tag due to the luxury lifestyle they offer. It’s advisable to compare the cost of retirement properties with similar properties in the surrounding area to ensure you’re getting value for your investment.
  • Lease Extensions: Many retirement properties are sold as leaseholds, which means you have a lease agreement for a set period. Be cautious of short lease lengths, as extending them can be costly and affect the property’s resale value. Always check the lease terms before making a purchase.
  • Conveyancing Costs: When it comes to legal fees, it’s important to choose your solicitor rather than relying on the developer’s offer to cover legal costs. This ensures that your solicitor works in your best interest and safeguards your rights throughout the property transaction.
  • Lease Restrictions: Thoroughly review the lease agreement for any restrictions it may impose. Some leases may prohibit pet ownership or subletting. Such restrictions can add unexpected costs, particularly if you’re required to pay service charges while the property remains unoccupied.
  • Ingoing Contributions: In certain cases, retirement villages may request a substantial upfront payment known as an ‘ingoing contribution‘ or ‘ingoing loan’. These contributions can range from £300,000 to £900,000 and are often used to fund property development. It’s important to be aware that you may lose potential investment earnings on this money, and the amount you receive back could be reduced by fees and inflation.


In summary, buying a retirement property involves hidden costs beyond the house price. Service charges and ground rent can impact your budget. Thoroughly understand service charges, which vary by village. Ground rent, typically £425 to £500 annually, should not be missed.

Consider high purchase prices, lease extensions, conveyancing costs, lease restrictions, and ingoing contributions. Being aware of these factors ensures a financially wise retirement property purchase​​​​.