Top Tips on Downsizing Your Home
Downsizing a home is something homeowners do for a broad range of reasons. Moving from a larger house to a smaller property can be stressful, but it can free up cash to spend on other things.
Downsizing was once the preserve of the “empty nesters” — the older people in society whose children have long since left home and started their own families. Now, however, this significant life change makes sense for a broad range of reasons. Equity amassed over several years of unprecedented house price growth can be accessed relatively quickly, and the only real sacrifice involves space.
If you’re contemplating downsizing your house, it’s best to know your options from the outset.
Why do people downsize their home?
The primary goal of downsizing is either to free up capital or reduce monthly outgoings — for one of the following reasons:
- The property is too big to clean or maintain
- Reduce utility bills and the cost of living
- Free up funds for retirement
- Settle debt
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Purchase a holiday property
- Fund the cost of university for children
- Divorce or separation
The step to downsizing your home
One of the main reasons older people choose to sell their home is to downsize. The reduced running costs and lump sum can go to good use without impacting on quality of life too much. The act of downsizing is relatively straightforward: sell your home for the best possible price, buy a smaller and cheaper home, then use the money you have left as you see fit. Yes, you have to adapt to less space, but you may be able to do things that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Once you’ve sold your property, the hard work begins. You need to pack up your life, shrink it down, and move it into a smaller property. These takes planning, and a step-by-step approach to organisation.
Evaluate your needs
Take a look around your home, and work out what to keep and what can be disposed of or sold. You might have to swap larger items of furniture for smaller, for example. Or you might need to declutter and whittle down your possessions to the bare minimum.
Make a to-do list
Once you know what you have to move, and where you’re moving it to, make a list of all the necessary tasks. To keep things simple, make your list on a room-by-room basis.
Assess new rooms and storage areas
Make a list of your possessions, and try to work out where they will go in your new home. If you don’t have enough space, you might have to consider selling them or putting them in storage. Measure all your furniture, large beds, sofas and tables may not fit into your new rooms.
Downsizing means you’ll probably need to declutter
Be ruthless, declutter by throwing away or selling the possession you don’t use or need anymore. However, make sure you don’t throw away important documents such as wills, birth certificates and bank statements. Place all of these important documents in storage boxes, and find them a home.
Plan the big move in great detail
Moving is challenging and stressful, but it’s worse when moving from a large property to a small one. It is, therefore, a good idea to create a plan of action for your big moving day. Enlist as much help as possible, and hire a reputable removals firm. Speak with the removals professionals in advance for advice, as they will help people to downsize on a regular basis.
The financial implications of downsizing a home
Depending on your home and where you live, the financial rewards of downsizing a home may not be worth the stress and hassle. In many regions of the UK, people just aren’t seeing the value of their home increase significantly.
Fewer people than at any time during the last decade are making significant money in their homes, which means fewer people are trading up. The simple truth is that, in the UK, more people are downsizing than are looking for larger homes. What does this mean for you? Well, it might mean that you have to accept less money to downsize than you might have just a few years ago.
Are you prepared to relocate?
The real opportunities for downsizing in the UK are relating to relocation. For instance, if you own a house in London, moving out of the capital and into a smaller property will give you a significant lump sum. If you’re willing to go to a more affordable part of the UK, downsizing has the potential to deliver life-changing rewards. Take the time to research the property market. There is a good chance you’ll be able to find a cheaper area that still offers everything you want. If you’re flexible about where you move, a whole world of downsizing possibilities may be available to you. See our relocation checklist to learn more.
How to downsize home in a hurry
A lot of people are in a hurry when they decide to downsize. Whether they are retiring, freeing up cash for the purchase of a second home or paying off debts, they need money quickly. Unfortunately, buying and selling houses on the traditional property market is rarely quick. The process is complicated and fraught with potential for delay.
To downsize in a hurry and free up the cash you need, bypass the market and sell to a ‘fast house sale’ company such as Flying Homes. While you might not receive 100% of your home’s market value, you can expect between 80% and 95%. Further, you don’t need to worry about advertising, property listings, property viewings, price negotiations or property chains. You simply let the company take care of the hard work, and wait for the proceeds of your sale to arrive.
You’ll know when to downsize your home: either when you need to access the equity in it or when it’s becoming too big and costly to run. When that time arrives, these tips should come in very handy.