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Top tips for buyers looking to downsize

For years we work hard to secure the perfect family home, with the large garden, great location and space for the expanding brood. But what happens when the nest finally empties and retirement beckons

Some ‘empty-nesters’ decide to stay in the family home, providing a focal point for all the family to get together on special occasions, with plenty of space for the grandchildren to roam. Others; however, may feel that the older they get the harder it is to manage the costs and work involved in living in and maintaining a large property.

We all know that moving out of the cherished family home can be difficult and if you haven’t bought a home for a while and are out of practice, it can be even more daunting.

Whether you are considering selling your family home to move closer to the grandchildren or just to free up money to help you enjoy retirement, we outline below some key points to consider to help you get the most out of downsizing.

1. The financial benefits

The first and most obvious advantage of downsizing your property in retirement is releasing equity. If your existing home is worth a substantial sum, the sale could give your retirement income a considerable boost. Not only that, many mature buyers decide to downsize because the older they get, the harder it is to manage the costs and work involved with a larger property. Smaller homes tend to be easier to clean and more cost-effective to heat, which may become important once you are not working and spending more time in your property than you currently do.

2. Think about what you might need, not just what you want

You may picture yourself settling in the country, enjoying beautiful views alongside rural life and there is no reason why this can’t be the case. However, as we get older, the more we rely on the local community. Therefore, it is important to consider access to public transport, surgeries, local shops and importantly other people, when you consider downsizing. Quite often, the real challenge when downsizing your home is finding a property that is smaller than your current home, but still provides you with space for all your cherished possessions and room for guests to stay. However, when you reduce the number of rooms in your home, it is very common for the room scale to be much more modest. Before downsizing, make sure you think about the practicalities of the property first.

3. The types of properties available

After working hard and giving up your family property, you deserve a place you can really call home. At Winkworth, we understand that each buyer has a unique set of requirements when downsizing to a new home. Some may be looking for an easy access, low maintenance bungalow, whilst others might be searching for a townhouse, located in the heart of the city. At our Winkworth Winchester branch, we have experienced a number of people downsizing to properties located within walking distance of the city centre, with many opting for the cathedral streets, St Cross and the modern apartments situated on Chilbolton Avenue. If you are looking for a property which offers more support and care, then downsizing to an assisted living apartment or community could provide you with the support you need.

4. Looking for easy living or want to tackle a project

After years of converting the family home to accommodate a growing family, many of us are looking forward to moving into a home in our retirement that involves relatively little work. However, Homebuilding and Renovating magazine have seen a rise in active property owners in their late fifties to early sixties. Children have left the family home and couples are keen to begin a new challenge. If you are looking to tackle a bigger project in your retirement, you will need to consider all of the points above, including unexpected life events, location and finance. Depending on how ambitious your proposals are, you will need to factor in the length of time it will take from the design and planning permission stage, to the end result.

5. Speak to the experts

And finally, it is crucial that you speak to both a property expert and a financial advisor to help you make the right final property choice when you downsize in your retirement. If you are looking for a property which offers more support and care, then downsizing to an assisted living apartment or community could provide you with the support you need.


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