Empty nesters, retirees or homeowners who just want something more manageable. There are many reasons for wanting to move to a smaller property, some financial, some practical.
While it may seem a little daunting at first, with some planning and careful consideration, it can be a really positive experience.
Mark Bentley, President, NAEA Propertymark, has this advice: “More and more homeowners are now choosing to ‘down-size’ which means the concept of the ‘forever home’ is becoming a thing of the past. However, the most important thing to consider is that you ‘right-size’ and find a property which suits your lifestyle. Moving to a smaller property also releases equity trapped in the property, gives you a home which is easier to manage, and depending on the location, it could mean better access to local amenities, which will improve quality of life. Those who do ‘right-size’ also free up larger properties in prime locations for growing families looking to upsize.
However, the process of moving home can be lengthy and stressful. If you’re moving to a smaller home, you also have the added task of needing to sort through all your belongings. Our top tips will help those looking to ‘right-size’ make the process as stress free and simple as possible.”
Be practical and ruthless
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to take all your belongings with you if you’re moving from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom flat. So, you’re going to need a big clear-out, and you’ll have to be practical and ruthless. Approach it as though you’re having a spring clean, or a ‘house detox’. Your loft, garage and kitchen are all rooms that tend to accumulate clutter you can live without, so they’re a good place to start. But don’t feel as though you must part with beloved possessions; for sentimental items you just can’t make up your mind about, offer them to a family member or put them into storage. If you can’t live without it, keep it.
A well-planned move can make the process as smooth as possible, so get organised. Start by making a list of all the rooms you need to clear out, the other tasks you need to complete, and the timescale in which you need to complete them by. Knowing what you have to do and the time you have to do it will make the move a lot less stressful.
Establish how much room you have
Don’t start throwing furniture out until you’ve established how much space you have in your new home. You don’t want to under-estimate it and have to buy your items again, and equally, if you over-estimate the space, you’ll find it difficult to fit everything in on moving day. Draw up a to-scale floorplan so you can see how your existing stuff will fit into each room, and then measure your bigger items of furniture to establish how and if they’ll fit.
Think about the additional costs
Although downsizing will mean lower energy bills, reduced maintenance costs and possibly a smaller council tax bill, there are various one-off moving costs which can add up. It’s important to factor in any estate agency fees, and you will pay stamp duty on any purchase in excess of £125,000. Other expenses include solicitor and conveyancing fees, a survey home buyer's report and removals.
Getting rid of your unwanted items
Selling items that you can’t take with you can help generate some extra cash which you could use towards the move. Online sites such as eBay, Shpock, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are simple to use and can quickly help you get rid of any unwanted items, and most of the time potential buyers will collect the items from you. You can also consider car boot sales to get rid of items that aren't too valuable, or even local furniture auctions. If you don’t need to sell them, contact a local charity to see if they can sell or gift them to people that may appreciate them.