Downsizing can seem stressful and overwhelming. It’s definitely a transitional phase in your life, and you’ll probably feel sad about leaving your family home. But it’s also a new beginning, and a chance for you to secure your future and live somewhere that fits in better with your current lifestyle. Here are some key things you need to know before you downsize your property.
Why are you downsizing?
Clarify what your main aims are behind downsizing. Are you wanting to make as much money as possible from the move, or are circumstances leaving you no choice? What’s prompted the decision to downsize – why now?
- Write down the motivators behind your move and what you are aiming for, so that you can plan and budget accordingly.
- Address any worries you have about the project by discussing things through in detail with your financial advisor, estate agents, and family.
- If it’s a joint decision, make sure that both of you are in general agreement on the reasons behind the move.
- Think carefully about how many rooms you will really need.
- Whether you are staying in the same location, or relocating, deciding on location must be a priority.
Moving always takes longer than you think
Moving is a long process… As soon as you start opening up cupboards or climbing the dreaded attic stairs, mountains of organising will suddenly materialise. It’s astonishing how much stuff we manage to cling to over the years, and you probably won’t be ready to get rid of your precious possessions.
- Don’t think you’ll be packed up and out the door in a few weeks; it simply won’t happen.
- Always leave plenty of time for your move and plan for the worst-case scenario in terms of your packing timeline.
- Get professional help in if you’re struggling with organising, or ask family members to come in and help you sort through your things.
- Make lists. Embrace lists. They help!
Have a removal strategy
Getting rid of some household items is a lot trickier than you might think. Many councils won’t allow vans at local tips, and you might need to pre-book a slot in advance. Some items like fridges and gas canisters also aren’t generally accepted by removal services.
- Sell, recycle, or bin? Decide on what you are doing with individual items in good time. Have plenty of room cleared to help you organise. Here are some tips from downsizers themselves.
- Auction houses are great places for selling antiques and heirlooms you don’t want to hold on to.
Address what you are going to miss the most
Is it the big garden and the old apple trees that you are going to miss the most? What about the kitchen where so many family meals took place? To help you manage any feelings of grief, it’s good to acknowledge what you are going to miss about your current home before you move.
- Discuss any fears and concerns you have with your loved ones well in advance of moving day.
- Spend time saying goodbye to your house. Moving day will be rushed and hectic, and you won’t be able to have a quiet few minutes to take it all in.
Moving near family? Set boundaries
If you are moving to be closer to other members of your family, make sure that everyone is on the same page (or thereabouts) about social visits. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden, or being burdened yourself!
- Meet up before the move to start discussions.
- Settle yourselves in slowly after the move.
Is moving abroad really the answer?
A lot of people retire in sunny Spain, but living abroad in later life isn’t for everyone. There is a huge amount of stress and adjustment that goes into living abroad, so make sure it’s something that you really want.
- Speak to people already out there to get a better picture of what it’s really like.
- Research online expat communities to see what other people struggled with.
Do you need assisted care?
Getting help around the home might seem odd at first, but it’s often the best and safest option if you or your partner are struggling with health issues. There are many different care and living options – you’re bound to find something and somewhere that suits you.
- Take your time researching places so you’ve got a good idea of what you’re going in to.
You may need to invest in your current home
You might need to invest some money into tidying up the garden or repainting the hall to ensure that your house fetches a good sales price.
- Even small cosmetic tweaks may impact the value of your home.
- Have a professional opinion (or two) on what needs doing before you dive in!
Moving costs may surprise you
Don’t forget that it costs to move. You will need to factor in estate agency fees, solicitor fees, surveyor fees and stamp duty.
- Speak to your financial advisor to figure out what you can afford.
Use an estate agency you can trust
Use an estate agency who speak your language and understand what you’re going through. It’s not fun going through the process with an agency that won’t listen to you, or take your feelings into account.
- Explain that this is a big thing for you and stress the importance of good communication.
Downsizing or supporting someone in your family who is going through this right now? For some more information on downsizing, check out this handy downsizing guide.
Author Bio: I’m Joseph O’Brien, and I am a curious freelance writer who has a strong interest in business, arts and culture. I’d like to thank Clifton Estate Agents Bradley & Sadler for their handy downsizing guide I used to research this post. Find out more about me and my writing on my blog.