Thinking about downsizing? Ask yourself these questions first


Jan 7, 2016
Thinking about downsizing? Ask yourself these questions first

So you have lived in your home for many happy years but come to that crossroads in life that many face – the consideration of property downsizing.

 

Whether it’s down to money or the fact that the family have now flown the nest, downsizing may seem like the obvious solution but have you looked at all the options available to you? Don’t forget this was most probably your greatest purchase and biggest asset, so should you dismiss your home in favour of pastures new before thinking about what it really means and whether there is another course of action you could take?. 

What is downsizing? 

Downsizing is what many people consider at some stage in their lives; especially as they are nearing, or in their retirement years. Perhaps it is because the house just feels too big and empty now the kids have left, or maybe it‘s for financial reasons; downsizing in the hope that it will provide greater financial freedom from the equity released from the sale. 

It is what can appear to be the simple task of selling your current home and moving to a smaller and quite possibly cheaper one but is it really the most simple and straightforward option available to? 

To downsize or not to downsize? 

Before putting your property on the market, it's worth taking a step back and thinking about what you want to achieve and whether downsizing will provide the solution. Ask yourself the following questions

  • Are you looking for a smaller property?
  • Do you wish to move to a new location?
  • Is your health a consideration?
  • Are you looking to release some cash tied up in your home? 

As they say moving home can be one of the most stressful times, so it is better to think clearly about your requirements before opening your doors to the hungry estate agent. If your answer is mainly to do with the last point, then there may be another path you might wish to consider. 

To downsize your property or stay put! 

If your concerns are mainly financial, then you could remain living in your property and consider an equity release loan. This might sound a little daunting, the thought of taking out a loan in the latter part of your life however arranging one is a simpler process than selling up and moving house and it could give you the financial cushion you require. 

If you want to know more about this option, why not try our "equity release calculator" as a starting point, as this will give you some idea of how much cash you could release from your property. 

It could help you achieve your goal of living more comfortably in the familiar surroundings of your family home but either with an additional income, a cash sum, or perhaps both. 

If you are thinking about a smaller property because you feel it will be easier to manage or perhaps you have health concerns, then selling up and downsizing could be the answer however you should be aware of the following potential obstacles:

What is the state of the housing market where you live and how long will it take to sell your home?

Have you already found a suitable property and is it in the area you want to be?

Will your friends and family still be able to visit as they do now?

When looking at costs, have you taken into account the professional legal fees and stamp duty that you will need to pay? Will this put an unmanageable dent in your surplus cash from the sale? 

Finally if you are considering downsizing to a retirement village, have you done your homework on all the costs as they can be expensive; although on the flip side they could also offer you the perfect environment for a happy retirement. 

Should I downsize? 

Whether you should downsize is a personal decision; at the end of the day what suits one person may not suit another, so my advice is be very clear about what you are trying to achieve. Then once you are ready, discuss it with your family and if it helps, a local estate agent. If you then consider staying put with an equity release loan, you can discuss this with no obligation or cost with an equity release specialist.  

downsizing         


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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