There are plenty of reasons why you may be thinking of downsizing your home, whether your children have flown the nest and you don’t need as much space, you’re moving to a new area, or you’re looking for a cash injection. Often it’s the sensible thing to do, so here we try to make sense of the options available to you, and how to go about finding and moving into your new home.
Assessing your options
The first thing to do when you’re considering downsizing is to figure out if it’s the right move for you and your family. If you no longer need the space, this is a major consideration. Then there’s the financial side of your move. Is it the right time to sell up and potentially collect a nice lump sum, whether that’s for your retirement or something else? As well as freeing up some extra cash, you may also enjoy the convenience of a smaller and more manageable home, while you may benefit from moving closer to local amenities or other family members too.
Finding the right home
Once you’ve figured out if moving is the best option, you need to work out how much space you’ll need in your new place, including bedrooms. If you’re downsizing because your children have grown up and left, is there a chance of grandchildren at some point? Or do you have relatives from out of town who visit every year? If so, you may want at least one spare room for family coming to stay, as well as friends. Scope out the area you have in mind, and start looking for properties that are going to be suitable. With an idea of how much you’re going to get for your current home, you need to decide how much to put into your new place as a deposit, and how much you’re going to keep for yourself.
Preparing for the move
After deciding to take the plunge and finding a new, smaller home, it’s time to start preparing for your move. Doing this as early as possible will only help your experience run smoother. How much space you have will determine how ruthless you need to be with getting rid of some of your things. Some parts of this will be obvious. For example, if you’re moving from a large four-bedroom house to a one-bedroom apartment, you won’t need the extra beds, mattresses and bedding. You probably won’t need that big ladder in the garage, and if you won’t have a lawn, then your mower can definitely go.
Decluttering is a different matter though. Some people struggle to get rid of sentimental items, but you need to be realistic about how much space you’re going to have. Go through your loft and garage and sort the things that you simply can’t do without from those that are not keepers. The same goes for the other rooms in your house, where you need to be as strong and decisive as possible. Don’t, however, feel like you absolutely must part with beloved possessions. If you’re going to regret parting with a family heirloom or other nostalgic item, offer it to a family member or put it into storage.
How to make money from downsizing
With a potentially major clear-out on your hands, you could treat your downsizing as a great opportunity to earn some extra cash. Can you sell your old things online, or perhaps take them to a car boot sale? You could even put on a sale at your house and donate some or all of your profits to charity. If you’re using popular selling sites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook to sell large items such as furniture, you may even find this is a great option for clearing your house without having to do any heavy lifting, as you can specify your things are for collection only. If you don’t want the hassle of selling your things, or you don’t need the extra cash, you could donate them instead. There are countless charities out there that will gladly accept all kinds of donations, whether it’s furniture, clothes, bedding or kitchen items. Again, you may find a charity that’s able to come and pick things up from your house, saving you what could be a big job depending on how much stuff you have.
You may need to go through an adjustment period in your new, smaller home. It could take a while to get used to the change, but you may also find you enjoy the benefits right from the off. It might be the case that you take too much stuff and feel overly cluttered in your new surroundings, so you may need to wield the axe once again. Alternatively, you may feel you have more space than you realised, which could make it a good job you kept those special family heirlooms in storage after all.
After some house selling advice?
If you’re after some more information on the selling process to help with your downsizing, take a look at our useful house selling guide. And when it’s time to start checking out new properties, use a handy viewing checklist to make sure you’re asking all the right questions.
Disclaimer: The article above is only a rough guide on tips to help down size your home.