A dozen tips on downsizing

23 June 2017

Moving to a smaller property is certainly an option as you head towards retirement, making daily life easier and freeing up some cash.

If you’re an empty nester thinking of downsizing, then the thought of leaving the home you have lived in for many years can be daunting. Here, Moneywise has listed top tips from two property experts.

Property choice

Terry Holmes (TH), director at Beresfords estate agency, advises:

  • If you’re a retiree, consider buying a new-build property, which means your home will be virtually maintenance free.
  • Sometimes families also decide to downsize, perhaps due to a redundancy or divorce. Try to remain positive and don’t look at it as a step back, but think of it as an opportunity to start a different path.
  • A good idea is to look at property with space to extend at the back or side, which will help you get back that lost space in the future. James Greenwood (JG), managing director of property finders Stacks
  • House prices up by £3,500 month-on-month

Property Search, adds:

  • Don’t just consider your needs as they are now, but make sure it will suit you, or can be adapted, when you become less active and possibly less mobile. Psychologically, think of this as a new step forward, not the last property step – a feeling that can often deter downsizers.
  • Don’t overlook practicalities that might become necessary later in life such as security, a porter, offstreet parking and minimal steps.
  • Try not to re-create exactly what you had on a smaller scale. Think of it as a new start and an opportunity to live in a different way.
  • Don’t rule out the possibility of moving on site with family. Some of the most successful arrangements are where grandparents have an annex or separate accommodation. The best arrangements are where each family unit has its own access, is self-contained in terms of kitchen and bathrooms, and where living together etiquette is established early on.
  • Regulator to investigate interest-only mortgage market


For many, downsizing will be their last property purchase, so do your homework and make sure you’re buying the right house in the right area. (TH)

  • Consider the area you want to move to. A development with a community feel will give you the chance to meet a wide range of people and make new friends. (TH)
  • Before you start planning the ‘what’, establish the ‘where’. This is by far the most important aspect of your move. Moving near family is frequently a sensible move, but don’t discount the fact that moving away from an established social life will be a wrench. Consider the demographic of the new area. (JG)
  • Remote tends to be a bad idea in later life. More and more retirees are choosing to live in towns and busy villages. A central location, within walking distance of everything you need day to day, can be a great choice. (JG)
  • Remortgage to cut your monthly payments

Fitting into your new property

  • Consider what items you want to take with you and what you can sell, auction or give to charity. The ‘clearing’ process after many years in one house can be very hard, but it’s essential to make a good move into a smaller property. (TH)
  • When you are house-hunting, check the floor plans to see if your current furniture will fi t or whether you’ll need to buy new. (TH)

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

It's a pity that the main banks don't help faciltate the downsizing process by offering bridging or longer term affordable finance.

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