Older people struggle to keep homes in good repair

How can you finance the work that needs doing?

Plants growing on the roof tiles and in the guttering

While older people are often keen to stay in the family home after the children have left, many are finding it hard to cope with the cost.

Hundreds of thousands of people are set to have to borrow money to pay for essential repairs, says Saga, because their wages, savings or pensions aren't enough.

Over 40s have no idea of the cost of retirement

The most common thing that needs fixing in the homes of the over-50s is guttering, with one in seven saying theirs needs repair; people in their seventies are most likely to have a problem.

But more essential repairs are being neglected too, with one in nine saying their roof needs repairing or their heating or electrics need to be fixed.

One in ten say their plumbing needs some attention, and eight percent need to do something about insulation.

One in seven people are retiring with no pension

However, paying for all this is causing problems for many - and more than 420,000 people are considering taking out a loan or borrowing from friends or family.

"For many people who have lived a lifetime in a property and have become very attached to their home, it is very upsetting not to be able to maintain it, particularly if it also causes them discomfort with leaky roofs and not being able to keep as warm they want to," says Gloria Barker, head of product for Saga Personal Finance.

"If people are worrying about how to pay for essential repairs it's worthwhile exploring all their funding options as soon as possible to make sure the situation doesn't get worse."

One way to pay for home repairs is to use the new pension freedoms to free up a lump sum for repairs. However, this could leave you struggling to fund your retirement.

Another, of course, is to do it yourself.

Alternatively, equity release is an option, with more than 60% of the people using the Saga Equity Release Advice Service saying they plan to use some of the money to repair or improve their property.

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But it's worth remembering that sometimes grants are available that could help with the cost of repairs. Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) can help you find out if you're eligible.

Meanwhile, many councils offer subsidised handyperson schemes, and grants for work such as installing central heating, insulation, double glazing or draught proofing.

Independent Age has a useful fact sheet, here.

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