Moving made simple – the family way
Selling your home to someone you love and trust makes business a pleasure, says Christopher Middleton
t’s a strange relationship, the one between the buyer and the seller of a property. On the one hand, you’re both happy to have found each other; on the other, you’re aware that either of you could walk out on the deal without even a phone call.
It makes it easier, then, when the person you’re selling to is not just someone you trust but a member of your own family, which is the happy situation in which 66-year-old Dorothy Sewart found herself at the end of last year.
“I’d been thinking of moving for some time,” says Dorothy. “I had a four-bedroom, detached home that was getting too big for me [at Easingwold, in North Yorkshire] and, as luck would have it, my daughter Kathryn had a threebedroom semi in York that was getting too small for her and her family. So it seemed only sensible that she should buy mine.”
Not that this solution was arrived at immediately. “We sort of came round to it separately and gradually,” says Kathryn, 37. “Ever since my father died, it was clear that the house was going to be a bit big for my mother alone. But it was important that the decision to move out was one she made for herself. Once she’d done that and had had the place valued, my husband Jason and I realised that we could afford to buy it.”
The next step was to find Dorothy a new place to live and, as luck would have it, Kathryn’s company was mailing out leaflets for a retirement development being built at Rowan Court, in nearby Thirsk. When Dorothy went to visit the scheme, she liked it so much that she bought a two-bedroom apartment there.
The new place cost £165,000, which meant she still had a sizeable nestegg left over from the £245,000 that her daughter and son-in-law had paid for her old home. The nest-egg was made significantly bigger by the fact that she didn’t need to pay estate agents’ fees, having found her own buyers from amid her relatives.
“It’s rather a nice feeling, having some money in the bank,” says Dorothy. “I’m also quite glad not to have so many rooms to clean, or the state of the garden to worry about.”
Meanwhile, Kathryn has the reassurance of knowing that her mother is no longer rattling around on her own in a big, old house. “Although she has her own apartment with her own front door, Mum’s got plenty of people round her,” she says.
“When she was first thinking of moving, we looked at some bungalows but she would still have been on her own and we didn’t want that. Where she is now, there’s a sense of community and someone to help if she needs it.”
For her part, Dorothy has adapted rather readily to the new set-up. “If I’d chosen to live in a normal street, it would have taken ages to get to know my neighbours,” she says. “Here, though, you’re always bumping into people. I thought it would be hard to leave my house after 25 years but I’ve taken to it rather easily. My husband was in the police force and we had to move at least 10 times, all over the country. So I see this as just another posting.”
And speaking of being on the move, Dorothy is planning to put some of her newly acquired savings towards a trip to Australia. Is she daunted by the length of the plane journey?
“Ooh, not at all,” she says. “I think three crosswords should just about get me there.”
New apartments at Rowan Court, Thirsk, are on the market starting at £150,950 for a onebedroom flat and £178,950 for a two-bedroom flat. Communal facilities include a central residents’ lounge, a guest suite, CCTV cameras and a 24-hour Careline system in case of emergency. For further information, call 0800 0151 446..
Come on in... (above right) Dorothy Sewart and her daughter, Kathryn, at Rowan Court (top and above left)