A big home is a life aim for many of us. Space for a growing family to enjoy together, space to entertain, to take pride in and to put our own stamp on.
But when the children eventually fly the nest, the big house can start to become a big burden. DIY maintenance does not seem as easy as it did when we were younger, the energy bills keep going up, and there could be better ways to use our time than in cleaning rooms that don’t get used.
You might be reluctant to consider downsizing, but as we demonstrate there are some important advantages.
Free up cash
There are estimated to be around three million homeowners aged over 55, between them holding £1 trillion of housing wealth. Downsizing could free up the wealth built up in your home.
Naturally, how much you can release will depend on your home. Over 65s in London have seen property prices soaring by almost £400,000 over the 27 years they have on average owned their homes. Those in the South East have typically owned their homes 21 years and witnessed price rises of more than £230,000.
Moving from a home that is too large could mean a major boost to your pension income, or let you help out the younger generation with their own housing needs. It could just as easily provide the cash for that cruise or trip of a lifetime you always promised yourself.
Cut your outgoings
Moving to a smaller property will mean a home that is easier to manage, and reduced day to day running costs.
Paying less for energy and council tax is an obvious benefit of a smaller home, and if you buy a new property there should be big savings in maintenance costs, as well from more energy efficient construction.
There are the costs of moving and perhaps redecorating to consider, but most downsizers find they are better off as a result.
Live where you want
The commuter town that was essential when you were working might not be as necessary if you are thinking about retirement. You will still want friends and family nearby, but it might be possible to relocate to the country or coast and still be in reach. Just ensure there are transport options if you were no longer able to drive.
Get ready for retirement
A large home (and large bills) will inevitably mean stress. Many downsizers report a sense of relief, and even wish they had made the move sooner.
If downsizing is part of your retirement plans, you may want to consider a retirement community. These provide an attractive lifestyle for older homeowners and with anything from a basic warden service to 24-hour care. Even if you are hale and hearty now, you might not always be able to enjoy good health and knowing that help would be at hand if you needed it might offer important peace of mind.
Interestingly, there are proven health benefits from age-appropriate housing. Including a 50% reduction in GP visits and 40% reduction in NHS spend. Having a home suited to your needs might let you enjoy an active healthy lifestyle for longer.
Before you start putting your surplus furniture on eBay and sending out relocation cards, you need to make sure you have the financial answers in place. Looking at the best way to use the extra cash you generate and ensure might need some professional advice.
At Continuum we would be pleased to provide it.
The value of your pensions and investments, and the income they produce, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
yourmoney.com – Three million potential downsizers hold £1trn of housing wealth – 30th April 2018