Happily Ever After
Moving house is always daunting – and even more so if you’re planning to downsize from a family home or relocating for retirement, so let us take the strain with our top tips, plus local property news and expert views.
The decision to downsize or relocate for retirement can be an emotional rollercoaster, exceedingly exciting and a massive financial event, especially for those of us who might not have quite enough saved for our golden years.
The family might have flown the nest and you really don’t need all that space and upkeep, but start by establishing your goals for downsizing.
Your financial goal
How much money do you want/need to release from equity or save every month on mortgage payments?
Your lifestyle goal
What’s important to you about this move/what do you want to gain from it? Friends, family, weather, activities and amenities, healthcare and senior services, etc…
• Keep these goals in mind at every stage of your relocation…and stick to them.
Estate agents Savills reckons that around 55,000 households downsize each year, freeing up approximately £7 billion of equity, of which around half is used to help offspring buy their first home.
Pick your time
You also need to plan when is the best time for you to downsize. Timing is everything and you need to factor in: property prices, the market, interest rates and, of course, your lifestyle goals. You also have so many different options for the kind of home you will live in – from a smaller house, apartment or bungalow by the beach, to a senior living community, house boat or assisted living.
You’ll also not want to move to a smaller property only to find that everything else costs a lot more – this could be largely due to location, so compare your current town, city or village to where you want to move to see how your spending would change for: transportation, groceries/shopping, utilities, council tax, insurance and maintenance.
In retirement, one or all of these three criteria are usually important to happiness:
3. Leisure activities
When downsizing, you really want to make sure that you think through how the move will impact these ‘Big 3’.
Will downsizing enable you to tick those travels off your bucket list? If travel plays a big part in your plans, is your new home convenient for airports/stations/ferry terminals? Have you considered renting out your home
to help fund the cost of trips? What is the rental market like where you
are moving to?
So many people opt to stay in the family’s long-term home because they want their grandchildren to experience what their own children experienced – but children don’t always see it that way. With Skype, Facetime and social media it is so easy to keep in touch anywhere in the world at any time – but have you factored in how much you will miss having the grandchildren around? Will you have room at your new home for everyone to stay when they visit? And what about helping out with looking after the grandchildren while your own children go to work?
Think about what you like to do – and make sure wherever you like affords you those opportunities.
Downsizing & decluttering
For better or worse, many of us get attached to things – and one of the most difficult aspects of moving, especially downsizing, is sorting through possessions and paring down what you own. Downsizing is arguably worse, however, as you will be moving to a smaller property, with less room for your belongings. This means you will need to be organised – and ruthless!