Mon 20 Feb 2023
Of all the reasons for moving home, downsizing can be the most overwhelming. It doesn’t matter if your home has become unmanageable or even if you know that moving to a smaller space will improve your life: just thinking about it can be incredibly daunting.
A lot comes down to the fear of leaving memories behind and giving away treasured possessions that have been part of your life for a long time. If you’ve lived somewhere for decades, raised a family there or have wonderful neighbours, saying goodbye might feel like a wrench.
At the same time, downsizing can open up new friendships and interests, produce substantial savings in running costs, and help you feel freer, more alive and less stuck. But how do you go from putting off the decision to getting things going without an anxiety attack? Well, you need a vision, and a plan.
So whether you’re retiring, relocating or having a reboot, our blog this week takes you through the steps to stress-free downsizing and finding the perfect new home.
PICTURE YOUR NEW LIFE AFTER DOWNSIZING
A fantastic way to start clearing the fog around downsizing is to form a clear image in your mind of the life you could live if you downsize. By focusing on the positive future that awaits, you’ll make the transition to a smaller home more enjoyable and less stressful.
- First, picture your new home. Do you see a cosy cottage, a pretty bungalow, or a modern apartment with a porter? Is it time to swap a period home for a new one with guarantees? Do you still want a good size garden, or do you dream of a maintenance-free balcony with a view?
- Next, picture your new neighbourhood. Think about discovering new parks, walks, shops, cafes and whatever else makes you feel like you belong.
- Lastly, picture your new lifestyle. Are there any hobbies you want to continue, or some new activities you’d like to explore? What gives you a sense of excitement and anticipation for the future?
The first hurdle for many people is seeing beyond where they are now, but having an inspiring vision of your ideal life could provide all the motivation you need to start making your future a reality.
ADD UP THE FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF DOWNSIZING
Are you holding off downsizing because you’re unhappy about paying Stamp Duty again? You’re definitely not alone, but when you’re doing the maths for moving, don’t forget the financial benefits of a smaller home, because it doesn’t take long for the ongoing savings to eclipse the initial costs.
Make sure you include the following in your sums:
- Council tax
In most areas, moving from a Band G home to Band C would slash your annual bill by almost 50%, freeing up funds that you can redirect towards other expenses or to your savings.
- Utility bills
According to Usave, the average gas & electricity bill for a five-bedroom house in 2022 was £3,483, which drops to £2,252 for a two-bedroom home. With April's upcoming price hike, this annual saving of £1,231 is set to rise to £1,477.
- Maintenance and repairs
Smaller homes are simpler to care for, cheaper to insure, easier to decorate and much quicker to clean - not a bad combination!
Finally, and possibly even more attractive than the cost savings and conveniences, downsizing can open up funds to start transferring some of your children’s inheritance to them early. As well as lowering their eventual tax bill, you can give them a more financially secure future, and extra opportunities today.
TAKE YOUR MEMORIES WITH YOU
Saying goodbye to the years of happy memories and beautiful things you’ve accumulated can feel impossibly overwhelming, but there are some strategies to relieve the pressure and help you identify the things that matter most to you.
- Begin by clearing the rooms you’re no longer using, as you’re likely to find things you’ve either forgotten about or don’t want to keep. Start now, and with easy one-hour sessions.
- For children’s toys and keepsakes, think about whether they’re destined to be on display, or for life in a dusty suitcase. If they’re moving from loft to loft, maybe it’s time to let them go.
- You won’t be able to take all your furniture with you, so take a realistic view. If there’s anything you haven’t sat on, slept in or used for a year, you’ve already been living without it.
- Take photos of your current home and any items you might miss, then create a physical or digital album to revisit moments and memories whenever you want.
- For any belongings you can’t decide whether to keep or let go, rent a small storage unit near your new home for one or two months to see how long you keep thinking about them.
Although it can be tricky to start, it gets easier as you realise how many things you never use or see. Most people experience a tipping point where a future that’s free of forgotten or unused belongings begins to outshine the fear of letting them go.
MAKE YOUR DOWNSIZING ALL ABOUT YOU
If you’re making your last move, you’ll never have to worry again about the possible tastes of future buyers. As soon as you pick up the keys, the only person you’ll need to please is yourself.
- If you love being surrounded by your favourite things and photos, you can fill your shelves and window ledges with whatever you’ve collected over the years. You don’t need to become a hardcore minimalist; downsizing is about keeping your most cherished things around you.
- There’s no need to follow and adopt any of the latest interior design trends - you can decorate exactly as you want, to your taste. Whatever makes you feel at home.
- Use every room precisely as you wish, without needing to fit the template of home staging for viewing and photographs. That dedicated room for painting, pottery, snooker, or even a vast collection of succulents, can be yours.
You probably already know this, but it’s worth a reminder that downsizing isn’t about compromise; it’s about making life better, more manageable and tailored to exactly what you need from your home.
DOWNSIZE TO YOUR PERFECT LOCATION
As well as an opportunity to declutter and simplify your life, downsizing is also the chance to live in your dream location. Maybe that’s moving closer to family and friends, or perhaps there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to have a home.
Depending on how you’d like your new life to look, think about the following:
- To feel part of a community, look for areas with social and interest groups to join. As an example, the University of the Third Age has classes and activities for older adults all over the UK.
- If you want to stay active and explore your new surroundings, choose a location with interesting walks, a bustling centre or a thriving cultural scene.
- Do you love to travel? Pick somewhere with easy access to an airport or major train station for discovering new destinations.
Whether it’s living by the sea, in the middle of the countryside, or in the centre of a city, a great way to discover whether somewhere new could be right for you is to spend a few days there to soak up the atmosphere and see if it’s a place you’d like to call home.
What’s your next step?
Whether you’re thinking of downsizing in Whittington and Lichfield or further afield, we’d love to help you make the process easier and more enjoyable.
Call us on 01543 432099 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a friendly chat with one of our team.