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The Great Downsizing Dilemma


grandparentsIt has become something of a 21st Century phenomenon – massive increases in house values over previous decades, combined with the ever-changing pressures of personal and family circumstances, mean that many homeowners in the 50+ age bracket are selling substantial properties which would once have been ‘forever’ homes, and moving to smaller, more manageable alternatives.

Some use the proceeds to fund an active retirement, some to assist younger family members to set up their own homes – and in many cases downsizing is simply the ‘sensible’ thing to do, often combined with a relocation to be nearer loved ones or in a more attractive area with more accessible amenities.

Faced with various options, and often feeling some emotional conflict, how do you decide whether or not the time has come to put your house on the market – and how do you ensure that if you do so, you don’t sacrifice your own needs or quality of life in the process?

Financial considerations are key, and it’s essential to do your homework; seek advice from experts and do your sums. In working out what you can expect to gain from selling/buying property, take into account Stamp Duty and other tax implications, fees, and the sometimes significant ‘incidental’ costs of moving home including any improvements, furnishing and redecoration, and the actual removal process.

If one of your objectives is to help other family members to get a start on the housing ladder or improve their own situation in some other way, check that whatever you do is both tax efficient (for both parties) and safe in terms of any future liability you may be taking on.

More importantly, think about the implications for family dynamics and good relationships. If you help one child or grandchild, will you be able to help the others to the same extent? If other family members have an emotional attachment to the house you are selling, have you discussed your plans and allowed them to express their views?

Above all, however willing you may be to sacrifice your own preferences for the sake of loved ones, do think seriously about your own needs and interests. Use the flowchart below to clarify your situation, and talk to friends and family members who will be understanding and supportive. Look to your own future, and weigh up the pros and cons of the various options open to you. Don’t make hasty decisions which you may come to regret – but equally, don’t be afraid to embrace the potential for a new and better life ahead.

Downsizing graphicIf you decide that downsizing is the way forward for you, come and talk to us about how we can help with an honest valuation of your property and free advice on how best to market it. We understand what a big step you’re taking, and we want to ensure the best possible outcome with the minimum of disruption and stress. We’re here to help!