Clive makes some very valid points. A lot of us, me included, like to think that by 'downsizing' abroad we can get a nice house and put a good lump sum in the bank for life's little luxuries, and why not? However, if you do this will the 'door' to UK property be closed if you ever decide to return? You may in all honesty state that you never plan to return,and will make it work come what may. Do remember that French, for instance, house prices do not rise anything like they do here. That is why you are buying in the first place. Also property in France can take anything up to 2 years to sell, not much good if you are in a rush. But of course you are not in a rush to sell. This is your new life until.......You are retired and in your 60's, 70's, one of you may need hospital or longer treatment. On a Sunday all the French have their families and friends visitng, what about you? Your family is hard at work back in the UK and will only get out to see you as and when they can, and quite rightly so. Of course, it is not all downside, but do take that into account before doing something you may regret. Far better to have lo...ng holidays in the sun and come home, than sell up and pay 10% of the total cost, in fees and moving costs before you even start. The ideal way is for kids to emigrate, and the parents to follow. If not that then, be careful. Sunshine can get very boring after a few years. Have a look at the expat 'conclaves' for want of a better word, in Spain,. Elderly expats clinging together because they cannot mix with the Spanish, or don't wish to. What a horrible thought.
I have lived overseas in more countries than I can mention, some excellent, some the pits. I was lucky and usually had a Company financing me, and knew it was only a 2 year assignment, for good or bad. What I would suggest to any would be 'emigre' is to rent a housein the chosen area for at least 1 year before making any move. You will see both the good and bad of the area and soon get to know what you may have missed in your original inspections. Yes, it costs, but it is cheaper than losing your life savings. Unless you wish to be a subject for certain TV programmes where everyone back home shouts 'What an idiot'.
Has anyone personal experience of actually doing this? If so, your opinions would be gratefully rceived.