Published in the Henley Standard 23rd February 2024 

By Natalie Wilson – Standard property correspondent

Older homeowners want to spend their retirement years exploring the world and enjoy better health than their grandparents.

Research by Cognatum Estates shows that more than 25 per cent of its residents expect to spend two months or more away from home every year.

Managing director John Lavin says: “Extensive travel during retirement is something that many people plan for. Cruises and golf trips are being swapped for gap-year type adventures that are likely to extent beyond the usual one or two weeks. This is causing a trend in the property market for a good lock-up-and-leave home that allows for worry-free globetrotting and spontaneous trips away.”

Not surprisingly, a property should have good transport links if these trips are to happen regularly – but that’s not all.

Mr Lavin says: “Good infrastructure and a home that is easy to maintain while keeping warm and dry in your absence offers peace of mind. Old and leaky doesn’t sit well with switching off and relaxing.”

Another concern is security. Leaving a remote property unattended for significant periods can be risky whereas one with nosy neighbours is safer as they will pull off unwelcome visitors.

Mr Lavin adds: “Knowing that your property will be looked after in your absence adds another level of reassurance.

“For regular travellers, a company or freeholder who manages the shared elements such as the exterior and the gardens is a big benefit but even better is a manager who will proactively ensure that all is well while you are away.”

Estate managers’ responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day running and long-term maintenance of the grounds and buildings and being immediately available in an emergency.

It is worth checking your home insurance policy if you are planning to be away for a specified length of time.

Many policies exclude cover for particular risks such as water pipe burst or theft if a property has been unoccupied for 30, 45 or 60 days.

If you are planning to be away for longer than your policy will allow, it is worth letting your insurer know that you will be requiring unoccupied house insurance.

For more information:
01491 821170 /

Cognatum, a not-for-profit company, has 60 retirement estates in 21 counties across central and southern England, a total of 928 retirement homes. All are in prime locations within vibrant market towns or villages, within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Each estate benefits from thoughtful architecture, landscaped grounds, and a dedicated estate manager.