O/T: Need urgent advice on where to buy a home for elderly relative

I'm sorry about the O/T post but I can't find any other directly relevant newsgroups and urgently need advice.
The family homes are no longer suitable for a very close relative of mine to live in. This relative has very little assets until legal matters are concluded, which may take years. I will have to chip in but the immediacy of the matter means that I can't muster more than 50k in savings and borrowings. I know the budget is very small but she won't be able to take a mortgage given her age and I have found small homes in rural areas costing that much so I know it is not impossible.
I am looking to buy a new home for her in the UK. I'm looking for:
- A home, preferably with a good sized piece of land to keep her active in the garden - Within my budget of 50k - In a quiet, peaceful and safe rural area (the sort of place where people leave front doors unlocked) - Has a low cost of living - Has good healthcare (where she won't have to drive for miles to the nearest clinic) - Has a friendly, large Anglican/CoE community who will take care of her
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- The moon on a stick.
Put another zero on the price and you'll do rather better. Otherwise you're basing your pricing on the early 90s.
Budget aside, many rural areas will do what you want. You don't want out-in-the-wilds rural, you want to be near a town of a few thousand so it'll have a decent clinic. And there's a _lot_ of choice out there. Choose an area, look at the prices.
If money is tight, remember lower prices will be for reasons including : no land, house needs renovation, nasty area, lack of services.
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Thanks for your advice. I am speaking to other relatives at the moment to see if they are willing to provide financial support for the one that is separating from the family, but at the moment I am conservatively assuming I'll be the only one willing to help her out.
Even something simple like this will do for an elderly woman with no family: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-8430903.html Offers in Region of 49,950 2 bedroom chalet for sale 22 Panteidal, Aberdovey, LL35 0RG
I'm currently self-employed so I'm holding a reserve as I expect additional costs above just buying the house, such as relocation expenses. My own living expenses off my savings must also be factored in.

Unfortunately I'm not a native Brit so I wouldn't know where to look.

Probably in decreasing order of what I am willing to trade off would be: Land size Lack of services Renovation work on house Nasty area
Thanks again for your advice.
Kristen
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That's not a house, it's a posh equivalent to a caravan. 50 K for 20 years lease plus 1.2k/year service charges - not cheap either. And "OCCUPANCY The chalet may be occupied for holiday use only".
There are places which do caravans for people to retire to. There are mixed opinions of them - some of the parks are really dodgy, and all are expensive for what they are.
In the UK, what people think of a house to buy is typically a brick/stone/block built thing with the freehold (ie not lease). There are exceptions to this, but that's the norm, especially in a rural area. And they cost a lot more than that shed.

For 50K, you're stuffed, unless you do want to go for the genteel equivalent of a trailer park (some people do like them and are happy in theirs). However if you can persuade others to help, and/or take on a mortgage, pick a place. I reckon somewhere like Settle fits all your criteria bar price, but you'll be looking for 200K or 150K for a place in town.
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This relative is about 70 years old. I presume "ground rent" is the Welsh term for Council Tax as it's dictionary meaning sounds about right. For future reference, what do "maintenance charges" buy you? A handyman around if something leaks or utility bills as well?

Yes, I noticed that but this relative can always leave for January when she's not supposed to be living there. But of course, I will take your advice not to go for such a place.

No, I don't think a caravan is suitable for this relative.

If I dispose of all my assets, sell shares at a loss, withdraw from bonds and give myself one year's living expenses on savings, I can probably muster up 200k in a few months. A freehold brick/stone/block built house is ideal as I intend to hold on to it as an asset.

It would be so much better for everyone if they all enjoyed their retirement together and in peace but I think this has been simmering for some time and this close relative has decided that it is time for her to leave now that all her children have grown up.

Thanks for your advice and staying awake at this really unsocial hour in the UK at the moment!
Kristen
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"Kristen" wrote:
This relative is about 70 years old. I presume "ground rent" is the Welsh term for Council Tax as it's dictionary meaning sounds about right. -------------- No, they are different, ground rent is what it says, payment to the person who owns the land for the use of the land. This has to be paid when the property is leasehold - the owner of the building doesn't own the land on which the building stands and therefore has to rent/lease the land from the person who owns it.
Council tax (properly called community charge) is payment to the district council to partly pay for local government services. These services include police, fire, recycling, refuse collection and removal, schools, leisure centres, park and ride schemes, parks and open spaces, street cleaning, subsidising of public transport, tourism, museums, social housing grants, housing and council tax benefits, environmental health and food safety in pubs, restaurants and shops, planning services, support for voluntary groups, meals on wheels, facilities for young people, adapting homes for disabled people, play centres for children, CCTV installation, sports facilities, issuing taxi licences, flood defences, and many others. The tax bears no resemblance to the degree of use of these services, it relates to the value of the property.
I wonder if it is wise for a 70 year-old to take on a large garden, unless of course she is very fit and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future and there is financial capacity to buy-in help with gardening as and when it is required.
Good luck, this sounds like a nightmare to me.
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Imbecile wrote:

Thanks for your advice.

I just want this relative to find something useful to keep her active and occupy the mind. It is very easy for the elderly to settle into a sedentary routine and waste away.

You have no idea! Yesterday I endured 18 hours of shouting and backstabbing venom from all sides. I just sat there quietly - if I told them I didn't want to hear it anymore my newfound life role as a family therapist would be gone and they would take it out even harder on each other. At one stage I thought I would have to call an ambulance.
Kristen
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On Wed, 26 Aug 2009 02:21:10 -0700 (PDT), Kristen

I have an elderly relative in her mid 70s. She sold up a few years ago and moved into a flat in a small town near to her local church. The flat is alarmed and adapted for the elderly but other than that she is not botheredby any officialdom. Spends most of her time helping out with dinner groups and church charities.
At 70 you are probably looking at 15 years max before your relative is deceased or needing assistance with daily needs.

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AlanG wrote:

Ha! Try telling that to my wife's 96 yr old aunt who lives alone and won't have social service help

Echo the sentiment.
Tim
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On Wed, 26 Aug 2009 12:45:37 +0100, "Tim Downie"

There are always a few lucky exceptions but on the whole 85 seems to be the time they need a helping hand if not toesup.

Indeed
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Or my grandmother who well into her 870s used to take meals on wheels around to "the old people"
--
geoff

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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

I hope she's in the Guiness Book of Records! There can't be many people still around who were born in eleven hundred and something. <g>
--
Cheers,
Roger
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On Wed, 26 Aug 2009 02:21:10 -0700 (PDT), Kristen

You are going to be struggling to buy a decent house for 50k even in the current climate. The only place I know where houses can be that cheap is the Western Isles and I doubt if your relative would want to relocate there.
There is another possibility I can see, Kristen. Your relative could possibly get a mortgage despite her age if you or someone else with the necessary assets or income would be prepared to give a guarantee to the lender. I assume you own your own house and have a decent income from your business. You could always take a charge on the house to protect your own interests should you and your elderly relative fall out and she decided to leave it in her will to somebody else.
Why does your relative have to own her house as I feel sure there are lots of people out there who would be very happy to let a house to an active elderly lady on her own? No problems with rowdy kids, no problems with boyfriends/parties etc. Depending on her income, she could possibly qualify for Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit from the local council to help with rent and Council Tax. She should be able to rent a rural house with garden in decent condition for about 400 to 450 a month.
Can I ask if your relative has a decent pension as sustaining a mortgage would be quite a drain on her resources. Were she to borrow 100,000 she would be looking at substantial monthly payments which, no doubt, somebody from uk.finance could calculate more precisely.
-- Alasdair.
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....

No. Ground rent means you don't own the land the building is standing on, but rent it from the peson who does. You will pay ground rent on any propety that is described as leasehold. Freehold property includes ownership of the land.

It can vary, but normally it only covers the cost of maintaining the common services. In the case of a residential park, that would be things like the roads. In a multiple occupancy building, it would probably cover the outer fabric of the building.
...

Don't be mislead by the rather disparaging description of mobile homes as caravans. This is what some of them look like.
http://wessexparkhomes.co.uk/page/1/Residential-park-homes
...

If you can, avoid South East England, which means anywhere south and east of a line from the Wash to the Severn estuary. That area is now considered to be the domitory area for London, which pushes up prices.

Given the relative's age, have you considered assisted housing - houses or flats with a resident warden, who looks after the residents?
There are also assisted purchase schemes, which allow people who qualify to buy a property in part ownership with a Local Authority or a charity. They can sometimes be combined with assisted housing.
Colin Bignell
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nightjar coughed up some electrons that declared:

Yes. I know someone who lives in a trailer park. It's impeccable - like the one above. The trailers are "built in" (with a brick dwarf wall) and a little garden and a parking space arranged around it - might as well be a little wooden house, you can barely tell the difference.
They are close, but no worse than many modern bricks and mortar developments.
And the inside - does not look like a caravan - it's fitted out pretty much like a flat.
It's finding one near amenities that's harder.
Cheers
Tim
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"nightjar .me.uk>" wrote:

Resident wardens are being phased out, see http://www.maturetimes.co.uk/node/7563
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nightjar wrote:

I thought about the possibility, but always assumed they would cost more given you're also paying for the price of the caretakers.
In Asian culture from where I'm from it is basically considered a big gesture of disrespect to let one's elderly be taken care of by someone else; the duty should always fall to the younger generations. "Old folks homes" are often used disparagingly and considered a sign of abandonment.

She isn't a British citizen, so I wouldn't want to presume to seek too much charity from HMG. If she needs healthcare she could use the NHS but it is really a matter of trying the most we can do before seeking charity.
Kristen
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What are the rules for NHS and non-citizens?
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In message

Welcome to the UK

Is she eligible to use the NHS ?

--
geoff

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I would recommend a mobile home park (given the budget). Some are quite pleasant but you would need to do a lot of work to check on this as some aren't. Some have quite nice little gardens and are quiet (I was mowing the grass for one such like your relative the other day). One in a nice village near me in Oxfordshire went for 65k recently. There *is* a stigma attached to them but the right ones can be restful and pleasant to live in (if not profit bearing or visually stunning). Somewhere near where her friends are would be better! Why not suggest an area - people here might know of such places.
--
Bob Mannix
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