Considerations To Make When Downsizing To A Smaller Home


The choice to downsize isn’t an easy one to make. You may have found you’re left with a lot of unused space if your children have moved out, or you might be living in a house that is too expensive for you to live in. Realising that your home is too big for you can be tough, especially if you have been there a long time.

Many people think that only retired couples look to downsize, but this isn’t the case. Regardless of your reason for downsizing, there are some things that you should consider before you start your search.

Downsizing your belongings first

Before you move into a smaller home you need to purge some of your possessions. People have a habit of filling the space they have, no matter the size. When people move to a bigger property they inevitably end up filling it, so there is a good chance that all your current possessions won’t fit into a smaller home.

It’s best to start the de-cluttering process before you start looking for a smaller home as going through a whole house-worth of stuff can be daunting and time consuming. Add in the stress of moving and the process becomes all that more challenging.

You can tackle the de-cluttering process in two phases. The first phase will be to go through everything at a pace that suits you. Adopt the KonMarie method (and if you like reading, we suggest her book which fully explains her process), or you could try a new method called Swedish Death Cleaning.

No matter which method you prefer, clearing out some of your stuff before you start the moving process will make things much easier for you.

The second phase is done when you’re packing to move. At this point you’ll have an idea of the size of your new home and how much space you’ll have. When you’re packing you’ll be handling every single item you own, and now you can think about each one a bit more rationally. When packing, ask yourself if each item will actually fit in your new home. Where will it go? Will your super king bed fit in your new bedroom? Will you have enough kitchen space for your blender, food mixer, and juicer?

Also, the packing process will be much easier if you’ve already gone through your belongings and purged the unnecessary.

Does everyone agree?

In theory yourself and your partner probably already agree on the concept of downsizing, but do you agree on all the smaller details that come with this decision?

Once you’ve decided you’d like to downsize, you’ll need to have further conversations about what that downsize will look like for both of you. It’s during these conversations that you’ll discover any differing opinions, such as areas you’d like to move to, the kind of property you’d like, and just how much smaller you’d like to go.

It’s also best to find out what each of you finds most important when it comes to downsizing. It might be that you aren’t too concerned with having a garden, but your partner would be very unhappy without an outdoor space they could tend to.

Separately, each write a list of the things that you would and wouldn’t like from downsizing. When you put your lists together there may be aspects that you haven’t both considered that can open up larger conversations.

It’s best to have these talks before you start your property search.

Downsizing might not be cheaper

Most people think that moving to a smaller property will mean they have more money left over at the end of each month. However, this isn’t always the case.

In theory a smaller property should come with cheaper running costs, especially if you’re moving from a 4 bedroom detached house to a 2 bedroom apartment. But there are many factors that can affect your long term finances.

For example, the area you choose to move to can influence your house insurance premium, so if your new neighbourhood has a higher crime rate you can expect your payments to increase. Or you could be moving from a well insulated home to one that is less efficient, thus increasing your heating costs. And if you switch from a town centre to rural living you’ll need to account for longer travel times which could manifest in filling up your car more often or higher bus fares.

These financial changes may not influence your decision to downsize, especially if money isn’t the main motivation for the move. However, it’s still sensible to consider them when evaluating your downsize so you’re prepared for possible increased costs. It may be that you need to rethink your desired location if you don’t want to spend lots of time traveling, or look at buying off plan if owning an efficient property is important to you.

Is this move forever?

This consideration especially applies to homeowners who are approaching or have already retired and whose children have moved out. Many parents look to downsize once their children have moved out and settled into their own homes as they find themselves left with a home that is too big for just two people and is harder to maintain as they get older.

It may be sensible to consider whether this downsize may be the last time you move, and if that is the case, your new home will need to cater to you living there for the rest of your life.

Will your new home have good public transport links if you find yourself unable to drive? Are these transport links easy to access from your new home? Can you easily get to a local supermarket for your food shopping? How close are the nearest doctor and dentist practices?

As for the home itself, is it all on one level or does it have lots of steps? Is it on the top floor of an apartment block? Is it a manageable size?

Moving is a stressful and difficult process, so it would be sensible to consider whether you would be able to do it again in 10 or 20 years time.

Deciding to downsize

Making the decision to move - whether it be to downsize or not - requires a lot of considerations and discussions to make sure the move is right for you. It’s likely that you will need the help of an estate agent to sell your current home and help you find a suitable new one. Daniel Brewer are estate agents in Dunmow with a wide selection of houses to choose from in Great Dunmow and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today if you’re looking to buy or sell in rural Essex.

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