Downsizing? Here’s What to Consider
Moving to a smaller, more manageable property can be a great opportunity to save money and enjoy the things you love with the equity you have freed up by selling your home.
Referred to as downsizing, it’s often something people consider when their children have left home, and they are struggling with the upkeep costs and maintenance of an older, large property.
Although most people spend years wanting to upsize their living space, downsizing is the ideal solution if you’re simply eager for change and want to simplify your life.
There are lots of advantages to downsizing. If you have owned your property for several years, it will have increased in value – especially with the house prices rises we have seen since the start of the pandemic. According to Halifax, house prices went up by over 10% in the 12 months to February. You might have either paid off your mortgage in full or be close to doing so.
If this is the case, by selling your home and purchasing a cheaper property you will have equity left over to use for travel, a new car or even just to boost your retirement fund. You’ll have less upkeep, lower monthly bills, and reduced running costs.
Downsizing also gives you the opportunity to live in a home that is better suited to your needs and future-proofed for when you are less able. It could be on one level so that you won’t have to contend with stairs, have a smaller more manageable garden or be a newer property that won’t need maintaining.
It can be very difficult to move out of a family home if you have an emotional attachment to it. This is often the case if you have had your home for many years and have raised children there. Downsizing also means that you will have too many possessions to fit into a new smaller, home and getting rid of items can be difficult.
The chances are that there’s no need to downsize but it could improve your quality of life. In that case, you might want to consider equity release instead.
Bungalows are a popular choice for downsizers, but it’s worth considering that these are usually older properties and will need to be maintained just the same as a larger house. A new build home could be a better option in the long run.If the area in which you live doesn’t have any suitable properties, it can be difficult changing area meaning you don’t see friends or family as much and need to change your doctor/dentist/optician who you may have good relationships with.
When to Downsize
You can downsize at any time of your life. It could be once the children have left home and you have an ‘empty nest’ or it could be following a loss or divorce. If you’re considering downsizing, it’s essential that you do some due diligence on where to buy, how much you will need and what it will cost in fees. You also need to think carefully about how you’re going to reduce your possessions after all, you may have accumulated a lot of things over the years. The first thing you do – which could be the hardest – is to declutter to make it easier when you move.
If you aren’t looking forward to change and are moving because you can’t afford your existing home or need to free up money, it can be a difficult decision.
Preparation is Key
If you are thinking of downsizing, there are some things you can do now to make the right decision:
- Make a list of the reasons you think downsizing could be the right move. Is there an alternative solution?
- If you’re looking forward to downsizing, think about where you’d like to live. Do some research to find out the asking prices in the area, how much properties are selling for and what the availability is like.
- Talk to a financial advisor to find out what your options are for equity release and to discuss what you will do with any money you free up from the sale of your home.
- Start to declutter and get rid of things that you don’t want or need – you could donate to charity, give them to family members or sell them. This is a good opportunity to clear things out and save money on removals.
- Prepare your home for a sale – are there any pressing repairs that need to be undertaken before selling, or would a lick of paint and redecoration boost your selling price? Talk to estate agents and get their advice.
- Start to view properties for sale and register with estate agents so you can be alerted to properties as they become available, this could help you get ahead of other buyers.
If you’re looking to downsize, we have current availability for one- and two-bedroom apartments at Pollokshaws Living that would be ideal for downsizes. Find out more.