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A guide to downsizing your home

Downsizing can be for a few reasons. Maybe your children have all grown up and you and your partner don’t need those extra bedrooms, or perhaps you want to keep home small while you travel more and see the world. Whatever the reason, this guide will give you some practical advice about downsizing, from how to time it right to the pros and cons.

Ready to downsize? Find your local haart branch and call us to chat through your options.

Should I buy a smaller house?

If you no longer use bedrooms or extra space in your home, downsizing could be a great option. It will encourage you to make the most of the space you have and will probably take up less time in cleaning and maintenance. This can also be cost-effective, leaving you with extra money to spend or save. Many people think that downsizing has to mean a small house, but you can simply downsize to a home with a smaller garden, or none at all, or just one bedroom less and still save money.

How should I downsize?

Surprisingly, downsizing is similar to upsizing in that your primary aim is to maximise/make the most of the space you have. The best way to approach it is to look at how you use your current home, ruling out rooms that see little use, have become a dumping ground for ‘stuff’, or simply no longer add value to your home life. Once you know what you need, you can start looking at properties that match that description.

Things to consider:

  • What’s your budget? Try and make this realistically match up with your expectations in terms of area, number of bathrooms/bedrooms and layout.
  • You may be moving to an area where smaller properties are the same price or more than your current one: stamp duty, conveyancing, moving costs, and repairs must all be considered.
  • However, you’ll be saving on furniture and amenities with less space in the new property.
  • Figure out what features you want from the smaller property and research the local area so you can keep your search as focussed as possible. Use haart guides to help you, especially if you’re not sure whether to go rural or urban.

Downsizing & Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) is a tax that you pay if you buy a property over a certain price which varies for Scotland and Wales. In 2017 the rules for Stamp duty changed when purchasing a first home. You no longer have to pay it if the property cost under £500,000. Other exemptions and reliefs from Stamp Duty are available.

Downsizing will likely lower the amount of Stamp Duty you pay, but you will still need to factor this into your budget to make sure everything is affordable for you.

Time to downsize your home

Once you have made the decision to buy a smaller property you can start to line up viewings and prepare to sell your existing home.

If you need to sell your property, you will need to manage both the selling and buying process. At haart we’re on a mission to get you moved and can help you sell your property with ease. Read our guide here.

Think about what you might need to leave behind when you’re moving to a smaller home. You can sell, donate, or recycle unwanted furniture, plus this is a great chance to declutter.

Cash in where you can on your clutter using sites like eBay, Shpock, Gumtree or even Facebook. Ask any potential buyers to come and collect items to stop you from having to drop them off.

Consider the resale value in the future. If you plan to move again it pays to have a good property to sell on. As well as resale value, keep in mind any major changes you might want to make in the future, and budget for them accordingly if you can.

Is now the right time to downsize my home?

The housing market is always changing, so while there may not be an exactly perfect time to downsize, you can certainly help yourself out by being aware of what’s going on. As well as prices rising and falling, you should consider the timing of downsizing with any deadlines or important changes coming up in your personal life. This might include:

  • School changes for children
  • Having more children in the future
  • Elderly relatives needing you close by
  • A change in job role or company
  • Any major financial changes or events you know of (weddings, milestone birthdays included!)

Allow for time around these areas to help you keep downsizing as stress-free as possible.

Alternatives to downsizing

This only really applies if you want to keep the space you have but make better use of it:

Renovation

Changing the size or shape of a room in your home can open it up to new possibilities. You could create a home office or use a bedroom as a walk-in-wardrobe.

Renting out rooms

You could rent extra rooms to students or short-term tenants to get some extra cash. However, be aware that you must check your mortgage before doing this as it’s not always a possibility. See our expert guides for landlords here.

Cost of downsizing

Having a budget for downsizing is important, so ask yourself the following questions when you’re doing the sums:

  • Will your new mortgage be affordable?
  • How much will the household bills be?
  • Are there future plans to renovate or extend the property?
  • Does the property need work or changes made and how much is that likely to cost?
  • Will it have a good resale value?
  • Would it be a cheaper option to renovate your existing property or rent out rooms?

haart is on a mission to get you moved

haart has plenty of advice on our site, from a complete guide to the cost of buying to tips for buyers. If you want help downsizing, come to haart.

haart can market your current property using our unique blend of expert staff and technology, then help you find a new one with our expertise in local areas. Get in touch today and see how we can help you.