Thinking of downsizing? What are your options?
There could be a host of reasons for you to consider downsizing. Your kids may have flown the nest, your garden may be too large, you may want to release some equity, reduce your monthly outgoings, or you are simply drawn to living in a smaller, more manageable property.
Downsizing isn't just for retirement. It can be an important choice at any stage of your life, location, health or wealth. Whatever your reasons, whether you are a homeowner, a private tenant, living in a council or housing association accommodation, it's important to review the options before making your decision.
House downsizing or garden downsizing?
It's an important distinction. Is your motivation to reduce your living space? Or simply to reduce the size of your garden? Or both! If you are used to having a garden how would you feel about having a property without one? If having your own outdoor space is important, most flats would be unsuitable, unless you'd be happy with a green public area nearby? If you have a large garden, could you sell or rent it whilst keeping your existing property?
Where do you want to move to?
How far away from friends and family do you want to be? Moving nearer the grand kids may have it's attractions, but will you miss your friends and neighbours?
What facilities need to be close by? Do you want to be in the centre of a bustling city or in the leafy suburbs? Do you want to be closer to shops or restaurants? Or within walking distance of your GP? Do you need to be near public transport? Are taxis readily available if needed?
What property features will meet your needs?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks of downsizing is having to compromise on room dimensions. When viewing properties, think carefully about how you will use the available space. Do you need a permanent spare room? Or could a larger living room or study become a multifunctional space with sofa beds for when guests stay over. Is accessibility an issue?
Start by drawing up a list of all the important features you need in your next property and rank them by priority. Don't forget that your future needs may be different from today.
Renting, even if only initially, could be an important option for you. Giving you time to evaluate different types of property and locations before deciding where to settle and what for.
Will downsizing help you achieve your financial goals?
Downsizing may not actually end up being cheaper. Before you take the plunge make sure you've considered all the hidden costs. Such as; the costs of moving, council tax in your new location, travelling expenses, insurance premiums as well as utilities costs for properties with lower EPCs etc
You may find that there are cash incentives for downsizing. If you currently rent a council or housing association property you may be encouraged to free up your property for a larger family. There are also housing exchange schemes and relocation schemes encouraging people to relocate to seaside towns. Take a look at: houseexchange.org.uk and housingmoves.org for more information.
Learning to let things go.
Almost certainly, downsizing will mean that you will have to let go of long held furniture and possessions that may be been accumulated over many years. It needn't be a painful process. People that have successfully downsized say they came to a realisation that they didn't need lots of possessions to lead a happy life. In fact, de-cluttering can be quite liberating!
If you need any help in evaluating your options, give us a call today.