Living in the free world

As recently reported in a previous IFA Magazine article, beckoning retirement has resulted in Lady H and I moving house, thereby dumping residual mortgage, car loan and a whole load of grief which comes from owning a 17th century cottage.

For estate agents, flogging period properties is a doddle. I mean who doesn’t love honeyed beams, inglenook fireplaces, mullioned windows and enough charm to persuade even the most wary purchaser to proffer their wallet and say: “Help yourself”?

The reality is that old houses need constant love and attention. And if the property is listed, your local authority will make sure you can’t replace those wooden weatherboards with something more modern and robust, or the ancient roof tiles with a cheap and cheerful alternative from B&Q.

Moving on up

To be fair, we loved living at Plough Cottage for almost 25 years, and tended it with the same care and attention we would offer a doddery old relative. It’s just that a low-maintenance, high spec modern apartment offered not just an easier style of living, but also – taadah! – a debt-free existence for the first time in our adult lives.

In addition, the new home is just 100 yards away from the old, meaning we can continue to live in our lovely Kentish market town, one that has all the right values at its heart. You know the sort of thing – a handy Waitrose and Laura Ashley, and a steely determination to oppose any new housing development.

However, acquiring this nirvana did come with a distinct challenge: the physical performance of the move.

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