4 mins read
There are many points in our lives where we might consider downsizing. Perhaps your children have now left home, you want to live more centrally, or mobility has become more of an issue for you or a family member. Perhaps you love the minimalist lifestyle promoted by innovatively designed ‘micro houses’. A smaller home can be more a manageable fit for the lifestyle you’re after. But, moving home is never a quick or easy decision. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully.
Financial: The most common reason people choose downsize is finance. Not only does purchasing a smaller home allow you to release equity, running a smaller home is cheaper in the long run. You will likely have lower, or no, monthly mortgage payments, lower utility bills, and less council tax to pay.
Time Saving: A smaller property requires less in the way of upkeep and cleaning. You’ll find you spend much less time tidying and maintaining your new home when you have fewer rooms.
Wellbeing: Downsizing can provide the perfect opportunity to find the home best-suited to your needs, both now and in the future. If mobility is a consideration downsizing to a bungalow or ground floor flat could be ideal. If being close to family is important, this can be your chance to move nearby. If you want to live with people like you, there are increasing numbers of flats available specifically designed for those at certain life stages, such as young professionals or retirees. Downsizing provides the opportunity to affordably achieve your ideal lifestyle.
Environmental: The importance of lowering personal impact on the environment has become a priority for many. Downsizing can help you achieve a more climate-friendly lifestyle. Smaller homes consume less energy. And, limited space can encourage a more considered approach to material goods; you’re less likely to buy more than you need. If you’re downsizing to be closer to the places you visit most often, you’ll find your transport carbon footprint is also reduced.
Space: Downsizing inevitably means having to rethink how much you own. You’ll likely have to donate, sell, or throw away a significant proportion of your belongings in order to live comfortably in your new home. This can be difficult, but also an opportunity. Making considered decisions about what you want to keep in your life can be quite cathartic.
- Lifestyle Change: If you’re used to hosting parties, or having guests over to stay, downsizing will make this more difficult. You’ll have less room for friends to stay over, or space for celebrations.
- Cost of moving: Regardless of whether you’re downsizing or upsizing, moving house is always a large financial decision. When you’re considering how much you’ll make from your sale, ensure you’ve taken into account costs like: stamp duty, estate agent fees, legal fees, and removal costs.
How to downsize
Once you’ve decided that downsizing is the right move for you, it’s time to think about how to make the transition. Take this as an opportunity to really channel your inner Marie Kondo, and prepare for a fresh start.
Things to think about
Decide where you want to move: Once you know what type of property you want, and where, use property portals and local estate agents to start your search for your dream home.
Budget for the costs of selling: Make sure you’re financially prepared for estate agent fees, solicitor fees, removal costs, and stamp duty. For an overview of what costs are involved in selling take a look at our handy guide. You can ensure you’re getting the highest price for your home by comparing the top performing estate agents here.
Decide what to keep and what to throw away: Work through your items by category, for example: clothes, kitchen utensils, soft furnishings. Think about what is a necessity, what provides value, and what is extraneous. Then sort into piles for donation, selling, throwing away, or keeping.
Packing: You could combine packing with deciding what you wish to keep. But, it might be less stressful to start once you have a clear idea of what you’re taking with you. Some people suggest starting with those rooms furthest from the ‘heart of the home’ (the attic, or basement), to the centre (your bedroom or kitchen. Make sure to pack a box of things you’ll need straight away when you arrive - a change of clothes, toilet paper, a kettle.
Figure out how you’ll move your belongings: Once you know what day you’re going to move, take the time to compare options for transporting things to your new home. Removal companies can get rid of the stress of shifting things yourself, but getting help from family and friends will be cheaper. Either way, don’t leave it to the last minute to ask.
For more advice on moving home, take a look at our handy guides.
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