Downsizing is a popular move amongst those whose children have left home. The time comes when there is no need for a four- or five-bedroom house, and there is value held in the property that could be used to enhance your lifestyle. At retirement, we can find ourselves rich in assets but with limited cash at hand.
Therefore, selling and buying smaller makes practical sense on many levels—a smaller home to maintain and money in the bank.
With the decision to downsize made, what steps should you take to realise your plan? Here we guide you through the process, helping you to a better lifestyle.
When assessing your needs, you need to consider your current and future needs. While you might be fit and healthy now, you could find that the home you require must have certain facets as you get older.
For instance, you might not want to purchase an isolated property at the top of a hill. It could be that you want a bungalow to cut out the need to climb stairs. If accessibility and mobility measures are already a consideration, then you could look for somewhere with ramps and wider doorways.
However, downsizing to a too-small home may limit your ability to host visitors, such as your grandchildren. Therefore, while practicality might be an issue, remember you are also enhancing your lifestyle too, and you don’t want to be too limited.
Before you start looking at areas for your new home, consider the property you want to live in. If looking at a smaller house or flat, consider the number of bedrooms that would be enough. Think also about how much you have grown to love privacy. As a relationship matures, we tend not to need to spend every hour in the same room. Do you need space where you can pursue your interests separately?
If the cost of running the property is an issue, you might want to consider a bungalow or even a park home. A quarter of a million British people live in park homes, and most of these are retired people. You can buy a park home for as little as £20,000, and they are a practical way to release equity and lower your utility costs.
If you are looking for a community and a property, then an option could be a retirement village. You will live independently amongst people your age, but with all the facilities you could need close at hand.
The final step to downsizing is reducing the amount of life clutter you possess. You won’t need as much furniture, and a lot of the detritus gathered over a lifetime won’t fit. You will need to be ruthless with your choices and only transfer items from one property to another that you intend to keep. Some companies help with house clearances and the sale of surplus furniture. Alternatively, you can look to your children, redistributing items where they are needed or use online auction sites to make a little money from your possessions.
While these steps make downsizing sound like a series of practical and straightforward decisions and actions, the truth is it is an emotional time. Make your decisions together and at a pace that makes it feel like you are bettering your life rather than making it smaller.