downsizing your home

Things to Consider Before Downsizing

There are many reasons people may consider downsizing their home. From the obvious shrinkage of a family home with children flying the nest to a change in financial circumstances, downsizing can sometimes be viewed by many people as a negative prospect.

We wanted to take a look at some of the things to consider before taking the steps to downsize your home as well as any options you might not have considered.

Why Downsize?

The most common reason for downsizing is after children have left the family home leaving parents with extra space they no longer need and with plenty of equity available to release. Whilst sitting on this equity does no harm, many parents decide to downsize to liquidate this sizeable asset to offer greater opportunities for both themselves and their family. This could be to realise dreams of travelling in retirement, buying expensive one-off items for leisure such as a motor home, boat or car or even to help their children to afford deposits for their own homes.

downsizing in retirement

Downsizing in retirement can release equity to fund big changes in lifestyle. Image via Flickr.

Other families may be forced into downsizing as a result of change in personal circumstances; divorce, a reduction in household income or a change in priorities can all lead to the decision to downsize your home.

Whatever your reasons, the important thing to remember is to focus on the positive aspects of a downsize. A smaller home may mean less room but it also comes with less overheads; a smaller garden will require less maintenance and think of what the extra cash is allowing you to do.

What Are Your Options for Downsizing?

If you are considering downsizing as a way of tackling a disparity in your finances then it is worth talking to a financial adviser before you make the decision to sell your home. Changes in circumstances that may be temporary could be relieved with payment holidays on your mortgage or even a remortgage at lower rates. There is nothing to lose in taking some advice in this respect and it won’t cost you anything to find out your options.

downsizing your home

Downsizing could save you money but make sure you do a budget to find out your options. Image via Senior Living.

Things to Consider Before Downsizing

Whether you are downsizing because you no longer need a large family home or to reduce overheads, choosing your next property can be a daunting prospect. There is plenty to consider:

  • Location – whilst your family home may have been in an area dictated by work, retirees have more options about where they want to live. Now might be the time to consider a home by the sea, a move to the West Country or even a property abroad. If grown up children have relocated to another area then there may be a natural instinct to move closer. Those moving as a result of diminished income may need to factor in commuting to an existing job from a new area. Good transport links and changes to your routine could even make this quicker for you. Using fast rail links instead of driving might be a good option. Considering a new location to set up a home is full of uncertainty and it is important to fully research any new area prior to moving.
  • Size – downsizing doesn’t always mean a change in the space you have. Families downsizing as a result of a diminished income could maintain a similar size property by simply changing the area they live in. A semi-detached home in Wokingham may cost an average of £420,000 whereas a similar house in Theale would cost around £305,000. A relocation to Coventry could see this fall to just £195,000. If you are downsizing because you no longer need the space then it doesn’t mean you have to swap a large home for a ‘shoebox’.
  • None Negotiables – downsizing your home will always result in compromises being made…to some degree. In order to ensure that your next home is suitable for your needs, you should make a list of the things that you absolutely must have from your next property. Prioritise each of these requirements such that you have a list of those things that are none-negotiable and others that would be on a ‘wish-list’. You may not be able to do without a garden, one spare bedroom and being within 20 miles of your old postcode whilst things like a garage, being within walking distance of a supermarket and having period features might be areas where you are willing to make a compromise.

Making the Best Choice for the Long Term

Whilst downsizing may seem the best choice for the immediate future, you should consider whether a move to a smaller home is right for you in the long term. Moving home brings its own expenses, stresses and considerations so, whilst you can do it again, it is best to choose a home that will meet your long-term needs.

Whilst, we are not suggesting a downsize from your five-bedroom family home into a one bedroom retirement apartment, it is worth finding the right home that offers flexibility as your needs change.

The decision to downsize can be a difficult one and finding the right replacement is an essential part of reducing the wrench this can have on families. At Property Assistant, we’ve worked with plenty of families going through the process of downsizing their home and believe we can offer practical solutions to suit your list of demands. For more information about how we can help you with your downsizing needs, contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

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