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At a certain point in your life, you’ll probably start thinking about downsizing. Perhaps you already have?
 
The decision to downsize is often driven by very practical reasons but the emotional upheaval that comes with it can make the choice much more confusing and harder to make.
 
At Chevrons, we’ve pulled together some key things to think about if you’re considering downsizing, with tips and advice to help you get the full picture before you make the change.
 
Why do I want to downsize?
Think about why you want to downsize. Is it for practical reasons like difficulty walking up and downstairs, being closer to family and friends, or are you finding the upkeep of your property too challenging or expensive?
 
Or is it emotional? Are you finding it hard to live in a space that you once shared with someone else? Are you lonely or you’re finding that the neighbourhood you live in has changed, and you don’t feel as connected to it as you once did?
 
Knowing what’s driving your decision to downsize is important. It will help you to understand what’s important to you moving forward and what you need to look for in your next home, so that you’re happy there.
 
What are the financial implications for me if I downsize?
Whether you’re renting or you own a property, there are financial elements to consider when you downsize.
 
Will you be saving money on bills, rent, ground rent or your mortgage if you still have one? If you own a property, looking at how the current housing market is performing is important. If you moved now, would you lose money? Or if you want to move quickly, how long will it realistically take in the current market? If time is of the essence, then consider that you might have to sell for a lower price to appeal to buyers.
 
If you’re a home owner that’s considering downsizing, and you want to use some of the equity you have in your house to gift money to your children or grandchildren, then it’s worth keeping in mind the potential tax implications for you and for them. Consulting with a financial advisor is important so that you know your obligations and what it could mean for your family if you pass away.
 
They can also help you to plan, so that you can be confident you can afford where you are moving to.
 
Do I want to relocate?
If your decision to downsize also comes with the possibility of relocating, then it’s important to carefully consider where you want to live.
 
Moving closer to family and friends can be a real pull as you get older, but you need to know if the community you’ll be living in has everything you need to be happy. What are the amenities and local transport links like? This is particularly important if you don’t drive.
 
Can you live relatively close to all the important services and facilities, or would you have to live further out? This could be difficult if you want to be somewhere where everything is within a short distance.
 
What sort of local communities and clubs are there for you to be involved in? Staying active and social is important as you get older, so finding somewhere that actively encourages this is vital to your wellbeing.
 
If relocating isn’t right for you, but you want to have more help around the home then consider looking at assisted living or community living to give you more hands-on help.
 
Do I rent or buy somewhere else?
Home ownership comes with a lot of responsibility, even if you downsize, you’re still going to need to spend money and time with the upkeep so make sure it’s manageable for you now and in the future.
 
Renting can help you with a lot of these costs as the bigger up-keep is no longer your responsibility. You might need some help with the garden or cleaning every couple of weeks, but these are smaller, lower-cost jobs.
 
Alternatively, renting a room in a community living space could be a sensible choice if you want to remove any hassle with day-to-day living. Shared community spaces, bills and outside spaces are likely to be covered by your rent. You may even have access to free transport and groups and social events that all add up to large savings.
 
Weigh up your options of renting and owning. What was wrong for you in the past, might not necessarily be wrong for you now.
 
I haven’t sold a property for a while, what can I do to help it sell?
If you own your house, and you’ve lived there for a while, the upkeep may have got harder during the last few years. Your house might be looking a little dated or have some off-putting elements for potential buyers.
 
Spending a bit of money giving your house a fresh lick of paint, a new carpet, upgrading old appliances, painting kitchen cabinets or tidying up the garden can help give your house extra appeal to buyers. Not everyone wants a project, and moving house is already expensive. If you can show buyers that there’s very little to do, your house will stand out from others on the market.
 
Saga has a handy list of things that have the potential to put off buyers, so you can give your house the best chance it has of selling.
 
How do I deal with the emotions of downsizing?
Leaving a family home with memories of happy times can be emotional. Give yourself time. There’s no rush.
 
Taking to walk through all the steps and things to consider will help you to come to terms with the emotions and make them easier to move through.
 
If you know you’re going to have to de-clutter and leave items behind because they are too big or there are simply too many, then start the process as early as you can. Even before you’ve made the decision to move. This will help it to feel more manageable and give you time to consider what to do with sentimental items.
 
You don’t have to get rid of everything. Prioritise items that hold the most value to you and consider whether they could have a different use. You could turn old items of clothing into a patchwork quilt or blanket, gift items of furniture to children or grandchildren or give some to charity where you know they will be used and loved. And if you’re moving into a rental accommodation or community space, ask about what you can bring. You’ll want your room to feel like home and it’s those little touches that really count.
 
If you’re not sure how to start, sort your items into ‘Go’, ‘Keep’ and ‘Not Sure’ piles to help you make the decision whether to keep or not. For any items that you’re not sure of, renting a storage unit in the short term can help buy you more time so that you don’t have to rush any decisions.
 
Moving home at any stage in life is a huge upheaval, doing it when you’re older can be hugely challenging.
 
If you’re in the New Forest, or you’re considering moving here, and you want to come and explore Chevrons Independent Living, a brand new retirement community in Hampshire, then email info@chevronsliving.com or call us on 01425 200 428 to arrange a time to pop in.
 

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