Things to consider when downsizing
Most of us will move home a number of times during our adult life. In many cases, especially earlier in our lives, it will involve moving to a larger home. This may be to accommodate a growing family, but it may also be that an increasing income allows us to plan a more expansive lifestyle.
However, this is not always the case. Perhaps we finally come to the conclusion that a large home is more trouble than it is worth. Perhaps our children have grown up and left, making the family home too large. Perhaps we are going through a lifestyle change that would be better served by a smaller space.
If any of this applies to you, you may be considering selling your home, in order to downsize. Since it is likely that your current furniture and possessions will not all fit into your new home, you will need to declutter. But there are a number of things to consider first.
Be clear why you are downsizing and whether it is the right thing to do
Downsizing your home can create problems, in both practical and emotional terms. It is difficult to know in advance whether you will have room and how you will react to the smaller space. Will you feel cramped or cosier? How difficult will it be to part ways with of many of your possessions?
It is therefore important to be sure of the reason why you are taking this step. This knowledge will help you to judge whether the sacrifices, (if there are sacrifices), will be worth it.
It will also help you to feel positive about the move you are making, you may feel relieved that you will be spending less time cleaning your new home, or that there will be fewer odd jobs to do around the house. If you are moving to a bungalow or flat, you may welcome not having to climb the stairs, especially if you are moving into retirement. Focusing on these benefits can help you overcome any concerns you may have.
Of course, one motivation may be to save money on a smaller home. However, this in itself is unlikely to make you feel positive. Instead, it is better to focus on what you will be able to achieve with that extra money, such as enjoying your dream holiday.
What size accommodation will suit you?
It can be difficult to be sure how much space will be enough for you, without having experienced it. One option, if you are really unsure, would be to move into rented accommodation for a year or two, in order to try it out. This would, of course, have the disadvantage that you would need to move twice instead of just once.
Another option that is less radical would be to think of a house size you are wanting to buy and create several hypothetical floor plans. This will help you decide whether that size of property would work for you.
Once you have identified the property you wish to move into, you can obtain a floor plan. This will enable you to sketch in the various items you will need and judge whether or not you have room for everything. Pay particular attention to whether there is enough storage space. If you are moving from a large house, you will be used to having a substantial loft, numerous cupboards and perhaps an unused garage, while the new property may not offer these.
Have you considered all aspects of cost and convenience?
It may seem obvious that moving to a smaller property will be cheaper, but the amount you will save will not necessarily be as much as you expect. For example, if you are moving to a different area there may be a significant difference in Council Tax levels, while a flat may be subject to service charges.
As always when you are intending to move, it is important to research the area. How will the move affect your commute to work, for instance, or access to shops? Perhaps even more importantly, will you still have the same access to friends and family? If not, you may not only be less happy in your downsized accommodation, but you may end up spending a lot more in travel costs.
What do you need and what can you live without?
If you are downsizing, you will almost certainly need to get rid of some of your furniture and other possessions. However, if you are not sure how much you can do without, how can you know what size of home is practical?
If you think you know what possessions you can manage without, you could try before committing yourself. Put those items into storage and practice living without them. This means you still have the option of recovering anything that you find you do need after all.
Besides possessions, it is also important to understand the space you can do without. If you currently have a home office or workshop, can you make do by working on the living room table? If you currently have a utility room, will all the appliances you need fit into the kitchen?
Start your decluttering early
Having decided what you do and do not need, the last thing you want
is to be trying to get rid of the excess a week before your moving date. It would be far more sensible to start your decluttering before the Conveyancing process begins, or even before you start searching for a new home.
There are various options for getting rid of the possessions you have decided to let go, depending on your preferences:
- Pass onto friends or family.
- Hold a garage sale.
- Advertise it in your local paper or on an online site like eBay.
- Donate it to a charity shop.
- Pass it on for free through a scheme like Freecycle.
- Take it to a recycling centre.
Alternatively, if you are not quite ready to give up some of your possessions for good, you could keep them in storage, though the extra cost would need to be taken into account.
There is a great deal to consider before you take the decision to downsize your home.
Our expert Conveyancing team at Osborne Morris & Morgan understand that moving home can be one of the most exciting times of your life, yet at the same time it can also be one of the most stressful.
To speak with us, or to receive a fixed-fee quotation for your Conveyancing, please call 01525 378177, or you can contact us online.