Make do with less – a guide to downsizing

06 May 21

Whilst the general consensus is that ‘bigger is better’ there is a lot be said for ‘small but perfectly formed’.  We explore the pros and cons of downsizing to a smaller or different style home and some of the reasons that you may be considering this as an option.

What does downsizing mean?

Downsizing refers to moving from a larger property into something more manageable.  This can be for a variety of reasons such as being closer to family or requiring fewer bedrooms, less square footage or wanting a smaller plot to maintain.  Downsizing is usually sparked by lifestyle factors such as a change of job, children flying the nest, impending retirement, economic or health reasons, or perhaps just to free up some cash.  With house prices at a record high, it can mean purchasing something smaller and less expensive if you want to live in a specific town or geographic area.

Pros of downsizing

There are many benefits to downsizing although leaving a family home full of memories will never be easy.  However, often the practical reasons for moving outweigh the emotional reasons for staying, and whilst your property might have been ideal for a growing family, it may now have more space than is required for one or two adults in later life.

In most cases, smaller properties are cheaper to run with lower mortgage payments, utility bills and council tax.  Maintenance costs are also likely to be less, particularly if downsizing to a new-build property which should have a warranty and will be well insulated with an efficient boiler, central heating system and modern plumbing.

Bungalows are popular with all age groups due to their versatility but are ideal as you get older or become less mobile.  The majority sit in good sized plots and are generously proportioned, offering plenty of scope for extension and renovation.  Read our article about Meadow Gardens here, a collection of twenty 2 and 3 bedroom bungalows in Elmstead Market.

Pictured above is a property at Mill Gardens, a superb development of new-build bungalows in Buxhall, Stowmarket – find out more here.

Click here to view all bungalows on the market with Fenn Wright.

We have seen a rise in popularity of independent and young-at-heart retirees purchasing newly built apartments, as they do not require the facilities retirement homes or sheltered accommodation have to offer.  There are many perks of doing so, such as security, allocated parking, lifts and communal spaces, ideal for meeting like-minded neighbours.  Many apartments also benefit from being in or close to town centres, meaning you don’t feel like you are missing out on the action and can maintain essential social interactions.

Pictured is one of the apartments available for sale at Harbourside, Brightlingsea – find out more here.

Click here to view all apartments on the market with Fenn Wright 

Cons of downsizing

Whilst a great option for many people, it might not be right for you at the moment, so as with any big lifestyle change, it’s worth weighing up the positives and negatives.  If relocating, leaving cherished friends and neighbours behind can be daunting however, researching the local area and finding groups to join can help you to forge new bonds.

A smaller home does mean exactly that, less space, so if you have a multitude of hobbies and equipment or regularly accommodate friends and family, it may not be the best option right now.  Alternatively, you may wish to downsize certain elements of your home, for instance if your current property sits in a large acreage or grounds which you are no longer able to maintain.  There are plenty of good-sized properties which sit in smaller plots which may be suitable at this stage or there are always people looking for part-time gardening work who will be able to assist.

There is sometimes confusion regarding the term ‘releasing equity’.  This is used to describe the process of holding on to your current property and borrowing against it’s value rather than selling an existing home and purchasing a property at a lower rate.

In summary

If you are considering downsizing – or ‘right-sizing’ as we recently heard it referred to – there are plenty of options on offer.  Whether coping with bereavement or even the slightest change in health or mobility, a new home can feel like a fresh start, particularly if friends and family are nearby for support and there is the possibility of meeting and socialising with people of your own age.

If you would like to discuss your options, please feel free to get in touch with our experienced team who are on hand to help.

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