The grey pound has become an increasingly influential part of the property market, particularly in the UK. With the population getting older, for example, the number of retiree homeowners is on the up too, which means that a growing number of first time buyers are unable to get onto the housing ladder due to a lack of supply.

In April 2015, new government rules will also allow UK pensioners to cash in their whole pot for a lump sum, which experts predict will spark a wave of "grandlords" investing in buy-to-let property for additional income.

For elderly owners, though, property can also be a useful source of income: selling a property can provide funds for a care home, for living in rental accommodation, which can be easier and less stressful, or for downsizing to a bungalow, which may be more accessible and affordable. Combined with wealth from "pensions freedom day", it could even be enough to buy a more impressive home, perhaps overseas.

Whatever the motivation for finding a buyer, retirees face a number of unique obstacles during the marketing and conveyancing process. 

Here are eight tips to help pensioners sell their old home:

Sort furniture and belongings

Over your life, you will have accumulated a lot of furniture and other belongings. Younger buyers will not be interested in these, partly because the style or decor could be out of step with contemporary fashion and partly because they want to fill their new home with their own things. It is important, then, to sort through all your belongings to work out what you want to take with you: this can be tough, if they conjure up a lot of memories, so take your time. Once you have a list of items you want to keep or bid farewell to, you may find that family members are in need of a table or wardrobe. Alternatively, you can sell things on at a garage sale or at auction.

Consider selling to a family member

A surefire way to guarantee a sale? Pick a buyer who already knows everything about the property: a member of your family may be struggling to get onto the housing ladder, or another may be keen to become a landlord with their first buy-to-let investment. Check if any friends or family would like the home, as this can save you a lot of trouble, time and cost.

Inspect the property

After living in your home for so many years, there is a good chance that something will need to be fixed or repaired. Before you jump in with a hammer, hire someone to inspect the property for you and find out what work needs to be done: anything you are unaware of could cost you money later down the line. Start with your heating and boiler and go from there.

Make home improvements

Home improvements are a useful way to improve your property's value. Whether it is repairing the boiler, repainting the door or redoing the kitchen, there is always something to be done. Find out how much things will cost and how you can do things yourself without breaking the bank. (See our run-down of ideas here.) href="http:>

Include quotes of renovations

Don't have the funds to pay for renovations? That is not necessarily a deal-breaker: instead, get quotes of possible work that can be done to the home to make it more modern and include those when advertising your home to younger buyers: demonstrate that your old home still has some new tricks up its sleeve and, if possible, that it will not cost them too much to turn it into their dream home.


Redecorating is the cheaper cousin to renovating: a new lick of neutral paint to replace any garish wallpaper can make your home immediately more inviting to buyers. Changing your carpets for hardwood floors can also make it feel more modern.

Let in more light

If your home was built decades ago, it will have smaller windows than modern properties. Rather then replace all the windows, take steps to increase the light in your home: clean the panes, replace any large curtains with smaller blinds, and trim back any bushes from outside that could be blocking the sun. Using lighter furniture or installing more powerful bulbs can also help to create a more appealing, brighter appearance.

Emphasise the local area

The chances are that the area around your home has changed in the past decades, perhaps without you realising just how much it has affected your home. That new school around the corner, or train station being built a mile away? Local amenities, such as schools and travel connections, are highly valued by modern buyers: take time to get to know your area again and emphasise any features you can.


Photo: Ben K Adams

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    Carol McDonald