Should we sell or let our Cornish seaside apartment to be closer to the grandchildren? | Property rental

Q Seven years ago – aged 60 – we downsized and bought a small Cornish seaside flat for £135,000 cash.

We found that we were too far from our grandchildren and wanted to move to a town near Bristol. We have no savings and very little income apart from two state pensions.

We can’t decide to sell our Cornish flat and buy a house in a park or a small flat in town. The alternative could be to rent the apartment in order to finance the rent of something up there. Or there is the risky route of renting this apartment as a vacation rental all summer and coming back for the winter.
J.W.

A I can’t tell you if the last option you mention is possible. I would need a local vacation rental expert to tell me first if your apartment is the kind of place that would be solidly booked from start to finish of the season and second if in its current condition it is suitable as vacation leave. If the answer to both questions is “no”, I guess you can rule out the third option.

If the answers are “yes” but “no”, you need to think about how you are going to pay for the upgrades needed to make the apartment a working business. Without savings, this could be tricky. I’m also not sure this option fulfills the wish to see more of your grandchildren as you wouldn’t see them during the winter when you are back in Cornwall, but I may have missed something .

As for option two, this is also only an option if the rental income (after tax) from the Cornish apartment is sufficient to cover the rent charged on a property you would be happy with in the Bristol area. I suspect that will not be the case.

On a happier note – but depending on how much you can sell your Cornish apartment for – you should be able to find something to buy in the town you’re interested in.

If you limit yourself to properties for over-60s, £129,950 buys you a one-bed flat on the high street; £165,000 gets you a two-bed apartment which ‘enjoys a southerly aspect and a pleasant open view to the front’; while stretching to £255,000 you could have a one bedroom apartment close to amenities and handy for buses to and around Bristol.

In summary, I think you need to ask local experts to give you real numbers so you can make a decision that’s right for you.

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