Downsizing home: Considerations and expert tips

There are many drivers for downsizing, the most common association being with those who live in a family home where the children have all moved out and there is simply no need for the space any longer; this isn’t the only motivation for downsizing home that we, as property finders, assist our clients with.

While the term ‘downsizing’ may have negative connotations – with press reports seeing it as something people do in order to afford to own a property – this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you want to sell your circa 2-bedroom apartment in Chelsea to downsize financially and get a sprawling property in a rural area that has a considerably lower price tag – simply because you want more space.

There may be many reasons why downsizing home (or smart-sizing as you could think of it) could be advantageous to a given property owner. The help of experienced property finders can make the process both smooth and successful.

Why downsize?

Although traditionally associated perhaps with a stage in our lives when the family is beginning to leave the nest, in practice, this decision can also have its origins in a number of other causes:

  • perhaps we have recognised that we no longer see larger properties as expressing our lifestyle aspirations;
  • sometimes we may need to accept that in order to move into an area we prefer, it will be necessary to sell our existing larger property and purchase something smaller.  That can also easily happen in situations where we are starting a family and would prefer to be closer to more prestigious schooling in a higher property cost area;
  • downsizing home can also be related to equity release.  That can well happen in situations where, for quality of life reasons, we’d like to gain access to capital tied up in an existing larger house by moving to one that is smaller;
  • today there is an increasing focus on environmental protection and sustainability, a trend that might easily suggest to some that a smaller and more environmentally-friendly property would be preferable;
  • contrary to some stereotypes, perhaps we currently have a larger suburban house but wish to move to a smaller apartment in a city centre in order to be closer to a more vibrant cultural and leisure scene. This trend is becoming more popular;
  • or, as highlighted in our opening example, you want to downsize financially but get a bigger property.

None of these reasons or many others like them, conform to the typical later-lifestyle drivers of downsizing that form part of the stereotype.  Essentially, downsizing means different things to different people.

Downsizing home isn’t a bad thing

Downsizing home is often nothing about being forced to compromise in terms of your requirements of property or lifestyle.  In fact, it is commonly associated with a positive and strategic lifestyle choice, designed to provide an outcome more in line with your current thinking.

For example, perhaps you have decided to better balance your life in terms of the amount of time you spend with your family versus time in the office.  If so, downsizing can provide a useful way of both freeing up funds to support your decision and reducing the pressure of work demands on your personal time.

An illustration there might be in a situation where you have freed up equity in order to fund the launch of a new enterprise that will permit you both to focus more on your family life whilst doing something that you’re really interested in.

In other situations, downsizing might simply provide you with a locality that you find more conducive to your outlook on life.  That might happen in situations where you sell up a large property in an expensive area and purchase a more modestly sized one by the coast.

Considerations when downsizing

Of course, whenever you move property and for whatever reason, there are inevitably things to consider and some stresses will be involved.

The exact nature of these will vary considerably, depending upon your motivation. 

They might include things such as:

  • if all of your personal possessions and furnishings won’t fit into the new property, will you be comfortable storing or selling them;
  • should you have a family at home, a smaller property may inevitably mean compromises in terms of the amount of living space available per person. Will that work for you and your family;
  • if you have an active social life involving regular entertaining, will a smaller property still support the scale of the hospitality you have previously been used to providing;
  • pets can also require space both within the house and outside.  Will your new downsized property offer the same facilities;
  • how often do other family members or general visitors come to stay?  If that’s a regular occurrence then it might also affect the size considerations when selecting your new downsized property.

Additionally, depending upon your own financial circumstances, there may be mortgages to arrange and financial formalities to complete, just as would be the case with any property sale and subsequent purchase.

Changing areas

Although downsizing home need not necessarily mean moving into a new area, it often does.

Should that be the case, then there will be all the usual considerations that apply in such circumstances, including:

  • how well do you know your new target area and should you consider renting there first?  Remember, visiting an area occasionally or on holiday often gives very different impressions to those you might obtain in a situation where you are permanently residing there;
  • are there convenient local hospitals and related healthcare facilities such as GP practices?  Linked to that subject, what is their reputation for providing best standards healthcare services;
  • are the schools convenient and to your expectations;
  • will it still be possible to commute easily;
  • will you be able to maintain continuity of your existing friend networks and other wider social circles;
  • is there any local public transport and if so, how regular and reliable is it?  This type of consideration may become ever-more important as society increasingly tries to de-emphasise reliance on a private car for every single journey made.

Although such points are not unique to downsizing, they are important and need to be taken into account.  Of course, experienced property finders can assist you in defining and researching many of them.

Summary

Downsizing home is often a springboard to a range of new and exciting opportunities in our lives.

The considerations and planning that comes with it may be challenging but the overhead can be significantly reduced with appropriate expert assistance.

Garrington offers expert intervention and assistance on all aspects of smart-sizing, to discuss your search with us in greater detail and to learn more about our services please, contact us.

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