Rose currently lives in a single-level, three-bedroom home in a quiet cul-de-sac in town. She's been there for several years, having bought the house as tenants-in-common with her best friend Milly.

Milly passed away a few years back and left her share in the house to Rose. Since then, Rose has had to get used to living by herself and keeping up the house and garden while at the same time holding down her full-time job. Rose did think about getting in boarders or flatmates, but money isn't really the issue, and she likes her own space, so she passed on that idea.

Rose is kept busy with her work and friends, and she likes the neighbourhood where she lives. Having said that, she's not too far off retirement and has been thinking more and more about what sort of home would best suit her when she stops work. What she's decided on is a two-bedroom flat, with a smaller section, in a nice suburb in the same town. She'd also like to live within walking distance of some shops. With this in mind, Rose has started looking at the real estate pages in her local newspaper and searching the internet real estate sites for suitable properties.

She's also had a real estate agent visit to appraise her house and give her an idea of what it might be worth.

But Rose's research has dug up a couple of sobering facts. First, her house isn't worth as much as she thought it would be - and the real estate agent fees are going to take quite a chunk off whatever sale price she can expect. Second, the two-bedroom flats she's seen advertised cost about the same as her current house would fetch.

Rose had imagined she would sell her house, move into something smaller and be able to free up some money to boost her into her retirement. It's not that she has a big cash sum in her head; just a little nest egg to enable her to travel a bit and give her a backstop for emergencies. She's a bit distressed to find that this is not going to be the case and is having to re-think her options.

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