Where should you downsize to?
If you have made the decision to downsize your home, one of the first decisions you need to make is where you will downsize to? We would advise that although property may be more affordable in a different area, it is advisable to either move to an area to be closer to family and friends, or to stay in the area that you already live in, particularly if you have built up strong community connections there.
It can be enough of an upheaval to downsize in the first instance, so to move areas into the potential unknown could bring additional stress to the situation. By moving somewhere familiar and close to people you know, you will have the help you may need with the move and help for the future when health issues may become an issue and don’t forget that you could need companionship.
Ultimately, it may be more cost effective to move to a new area but the impact on your quality of life could be significant.
What type of home should you consider downsizing to?
Once you have decided on the area you are looking to downsize to, you need to think about the type of home that will suit your needs. A bungalow is a good choice as the lack of stairs can ensure that you are future proofing your home against another move later in life, if the use of stairs become an issue due to health reasons.
Bungalows are also a wise choice for future proofing your finances, as ‘true’ bungalows are and will continue to be some of the most sought-after properties. They are top sellers in most areas, due to a lack of availability as housebuilders tend to stay away from bungalows in favour of houses, as land, as we know, is at a premium. So, if you find the right bungalow in the right area, we would advise you to snap it up quickly!
It also may be tempting to look for a property with no spare rooms when you downsize. To look for somewhere much smaller and easier to maintain. However, you may want to provide somewhere for grandchildren and extended family to stay when they visit, so one spare room could be a benefit to your quality of life and family connections, and should not be discounted.
We would also recommend that you consider outside space. If the upkeep of a larger garden is becoming too much for you don’t discount outside space entirely when you decide to downsize. A smaller garden or patio area can be easy to upkeep, and for many, gardening and time spent enjoying the garden is a much-loved past time and one not to be sacrificed.
Finally, if you may have come from a property with large rooms filled with “chunky” furniture, that you would like to take with you. In this case, it may be better to look for a property with fewer rooms but of a good proportion, rather than a smaller version of your current property.
How do I start to declutter my home?
At Home Truths, we are often asked for advice on how to de-clutter homes, as many of our vendors are looking to downsize for retirement. The first thing we would say is to make an inventory. Make the decisions on what to keep for those items that you either use regularly or that you need. Make sure that you keep those items with sentimental value that would cause upset if you didn’t have them.
It may be a well-worn exercise, but ask yourself, if you had a fire would you stop to take these items with you? If it’s a resounding yes, then you know that these things need to go with you.
You could also use decluttering as an opportunity to raise money for your move by selling the items you have decided that you no longer need. There are plenty of good Car Boot sales in the area, with eBay and Facebook buy and sell groups as extra options.