Contemplating downsizing can be an emotional time, leaving the property you've spent a lifetime making your own to move to a smaller, more practical space. Once the family have flown the nest and it's time to move on, there's a great deal to consider: where to look, what type of home to buy, what your requirements are, in order to maintain a certain quality of life. Downsizing doesn't have to mean compromising.
One couple from Kent found a place they felt offered them the quality of life they aspired to when they discovered the luxuriously appointed homes being built by Berkeley Homes (Eastern Counties) at the Royal Wells Park development in Tunbridge Wells.
Prior to retiring in 1996, company director Sam Footitt and his wife Val spent 28 years living overseas where Sam worked for an international oil company in Singapore, Nigeria, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Turkey, Malaysia and Brazil. Their goal was to downsize from a large five-bedroom detached house with a substantial garden in Sevenoaks, where they have lived for 38 years.
When the time came to leave their long-term home, and buy what would be their third property, they started researching homes in Tunbridge Wells, an area they had earmarked some time ago, recognising it offered the lifestyle they aspired to.
Sam explained: "Val and I have been familiar with Tunbridge Wells for many years and have always liked the town and its amenities; the shops, restaurants, pubs, bars and theatres are excellent and the town has a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
"We'd had our eye on the Royal Wells Park development since it launched after a friend of ours attended the first presentation around four years ago, and said how impressed he had been. Its location is ideal for access to all the fantastic amenities, plus London is easily accessible by train."
Having built up substantial equity in the property, it enabled Sam and Val to secure a new luxuriously appointed three-bedroom apartment at the prestigious development, costing just under £1m, complete with a terrace, garden, secure underground parking, set within lovely landscaped grounds.
Tunbridge Wells train station is a short walk from the development with services into Charing Cross and Cannon Street taking less than an hour by train. The M25 and M23 motorways are within a 40-minute drive, linking to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Its transport connections are a major plus for the well-travelled pair.
Sam continues: "We're very family orientated and the bonus of living in Tunbridge Wells is that our elder daughter and her family live here too. My wife and I travel extensively and will continue to do so as our son and his family live in Hong Kong, but Royal Wells Park is a wonderful base to come back to and call home.
"Because the development is in such a great location, it will enable us to manage with just one car when we move into our new home, as it is so near to the train station. The connections are excellent, plus there's the bus service too which will come in handy. Locally, we can walk anywhere and everywhere from Royal Wells Park, which is great as we love to get out and about."
Homes at Royal Wells Park boast individually designed kitchens complemented by polished composite work surfaces, painted glass splash backs and a full range of appliances.
The bathrooms and en suites feature pristine white sanitary ware and designer fittings in polished chrome. Other elegant touches include engineered wooden floors, fitted wardrobes in selected bedrooms, carpets to all bedrooms and doors between the hall and living room - all of which are valuable plus points for the Footitts.
Sam said: "We know that Berkeley Homes has a good reputation for creating properties that benefit from superb design and high quality fixtures and fittings. We are confident Royal Wells Park will provide us with a stylish, spacious home finished to a very high specification.
"We were initially nervous about buying the property off-plan, but the buying process has been amazingly straightforward. The team at Royal Wells Park looked after us from day one and were very helpful. They were reassuring and answered questions openly and in a straight forward manner," he concluded.