How to downsize as seamlessly as possible: 6 top tips

Many homeowners make the choice to downsize their property later in life. Oftentimes, a property will be your most valuable asset, therefore selling up can enable you to unlock equity that may be tied up in your home that you can enjoy during retirement. 

In addition to this, downsizing also means you can choose a property that better suits your lifestyle as you grow older, whether that be lower running costs, a home that requires less maintenance or somewhere that is situated closer to local amenities.

So if you’re planning on downsizing when the time is right, carry on reading, as we are taking a look at some of the things that we think can make downsizing as seamless and successful as possible.

1. It’s all in the preparation

As with many things – it’s all in the preparation. The more planning you do, the easier it is going to be when it comes to the real deal. Set realistic timescales and plan for all cases and ensure you get yourself familiar with your ideal location and the type of properties available there as far in advance as possible.

2. What are your priorities?

Making a list of your priorities and the features you want for your new home can be really useful when it comes to making that all important decision. It can be easy to get lost in the beauty of a staircase or mosaic tiles in the hallway, forgetting what is really the most suitable option for you.

Decide what the most important features are – consider whether the property has a nice garden – enjoying a garden during retirement is a great pastime and can work as a fun project to keep you occupied. 

Other things to consider include whether you want to be within walking distance of local amenities such as shops and public transport connections? Are you looking for a low maintenance property that you can lock up and leave while you go travelling, or is your top priority being closer to family and relatives?

Top tip: Rightmove has an advanced search tool which enables you to search for specific keywords, such as thatched cottage or inglenook fireplace, to find a property that ticks all of your boxes.

3. Do the maths

Whether you’re downsizing because you want a smaller home that is easier to maintain, or because you want to unlock money tied up in their current property, sorting out your finances is vital.

It is important to do your sums so that you know exactly how much cash you are likely to free up by selling – you can find out the current value of your property with our free online valuation tool.

Although downsizing may mean lower day-to-day running costs, there are various one-off moving costs to consider. Factor in any estate agency fees, report costs, solicitors’ fees and removals. Zoopla has a handy article on  running costs of your new home, looking at factors such as what council tax band it is in and how energy efficient it is.

4. Organise and clear your belongings

Moving to a smaller property means you naturally have less space for your belongings. One option would be to sell or give away items you won’t use to avoid paying for storage and transportation fees. Parting with possessions, as well as moving itself, can be an emotional experience but the cash raised from it could potentially fund holidays or pay for other aspects of your move. 

Begin by organising your things way in advance of moving. Place your belongings into piles to keep, donate or sell. Over time, if you really feel like you can’t part with some things that you may have put in the donate or sell piles, you can move these into your ‘keep’ piles.

To help the process go smoothly, ensure you give yourself enough time, and do not try to cram this task into the final month before you move.

Think in terms of the space you will have in your new home. For example, if it doesn’t have a dining room or spare bedroom, you won’t need to keep the furniture from these rooms.

Take the opportunity to give the heirlooms you think you won’t have space for to your children or other relatives

5. Ask for help

Buying and selling at the same time can be a lot to handle. If you feel any steps of the downsizing and moving processes are above your ability or you don’t have the time – bring in some help. Don’t be afraid to ask family or friends to help you out. Start by getting them to help with just one room and then see if you can apply the same methods of organising and packing away by yourself.

Packing Tip: Don’t pack jewelry, money or other valuables, keep those close by during your move or temporarily place them in a vault or bank lockbox.

6. Consider renting out your property rather than selling

Downsizing doesn’t always have to mean actually selling your home. It could make financial sense to rent out your current property and move into a smaller place if you want to earn a little extra income. You may want to eventually pass down the property to a family member so this option could tick all boxes if that’s your aim.

If you want to put your house on the market and have made the decision to downsize, look no further than our friendly team at Belvoir! Call us today or enquire online.