Many people work their whole lives for the home they want. They work up the property ladder from flats to small terraces to a family-size home in the suburbs. But what happens when the kids are all grown up and your rattling around in a big house where half the rooms go unused?
When people hear the word downsizing they tend to have a very negative view on the subject. I want to dispel this myth and tell you that downsizing can be a great way to free up both time and money to enjoy in later life. Downsizing can also improve the area you live in. For the price of a family home in a reasonable area you can get a two bed town house in an amazing one and enjoy the culture and lifestyle that brings with it!
Downsizing can be a great way to have some money to enjoy in later life. The words equity release have a very negative feeling these days due to all the dodgy schemes that have been in the media but when downsizing you are not releasing equity in the house that you, are in you are simply releasing it by moving to a smaller property this means that you have no risk to losing your home in the same way as a conventional equity release scheme.
If you're planning on downsizing one of the hardest things to do is figure out how you're going to fit all that stuff you had into your new smaller home so here are some great decluttering tips to help you trim the fat and only take what you really need:
1: apply the six month rule. If you have something that has no emotional connection to you and you haven't used it in 6 months then you don't need it
2: decluttering is not a race it's a marathon. Take your time, pick 10 things and ask yourself do I really need this or do I really love this if the answer to those is no then bin it or give two charity
3: how much of the clutter in your house is actually yours? if you are storing stuff for others such as kids bikes or their old toys give them the option of taking them or again donate to charity
Even once you have decluttered you are still going to want some good storage solutions when you get there. I’m a keen archer and my equipment can easily take over a room if I don't store it appropriately. So, when the time comes to move consider the following ways to maximise your new home’s potential spacel.
Garages make for great storage areas if you don't need to fit a car in there. With some shelving units and ceiling hooks you would be amazed how much you can fit in. Clean, plasterboard and a lick of paint and it makes a great hobby space and storage area that won't be so dusty and full of cobwebs.
If your new house has an attic and it has not been boarded out then make this a priority. Having a fully boarded attic gives an amazing amount of storage space for those things you don't need out all the time but still need access to, such as christmas trees, halloween and birthday decorations. Invest in a good attic hatch with attached ladder for safety and ease of access.
“I want to keep the house in the family for my kids to enjoy as much as we have.” This is a common perspective especially in those with an older, characterful property, but consider this; if you want to keep your home for your children to inherit then why not consider selling to them? If you wait until the time when they would inherit the home then there are many obstacles to them actually getting the house. Your assets can easily get eaten away by nursing bills, inheritance tax and other claimants during probate. By signing the property over to them early or selling it to them outright you can avoid many of these charges. If they can't afford to buy your property consider whether your children can purchase your downsize instead!
Finally, here is an explanation of downsizing's place in the property market. In a healthy property market downsizing is crucial. In order for people to move up the property ladder those in large houses, who are reaching the point where they no longer need all that space, need to downsize in order to free up the properties for new families. In the uk one of the main causes of stagnation in the higher end of the property market is people's reluctance to downsize. Builders and developers can only build so many homes and most build smaller properties to maximise their returns and reduce risks.
If you would like any more information on this or any other subject relating to the property industry then check out our website where we have a range of articles for you. Also just give us a call! Our team are able to give you up-to-date advice on all aspects of the industry and if we can't answer then you can bet we know who to ask.