Downsizing tips - five things to think about first

07/04/14
 

1. Be clear why

There are lots of reasons why older people downsize their home – and lots of reasons why many others don’t. The important thing is to be clear why YOU want to downsize. You may want to release capital or save cash on running costs. You might find your current home too big and hard to maintain or you find the stairs difficult. Or you may want to move close to family, friends, facilities or a completely different part of the country or abroad. Perhaps you need somewhere that has care and support available as well as companionship. The key is thinking all these factors through before going ahead.

2. Know what you've got

A smaller home means less space for all those things we have accumulated throughout life. Do you know what you have got? An inventory of big and small items is useful in deciding what space you need and importantly what you will need to give away or dispose of. Decluttering can never start too early, even if you don’t move. But you have to be ruthless – otherwise you will end up doing it again after you have moved.

3. Specify your needs

If the time is right for you to downsize to a smaller home, think about the things that are most important to you before you decide where to move. Is it proximity to family and friends or warm weather that entices you? What kind of recreation and facilities do you want to have nearby? Do you see yourself living an active community life or relaxing in a quiet neighbourhood? How will you get out and about? Be clear about what you want from your new home.

4. Involve family and friends

When you consider how the moving process may impact on you now or later in life, also consider what kind of an impact it may have on your family and friends as well. If you wait to downsize or decide that you don’t want to downsize at all, you could unintentionally be putting a burden on your children, other family member or friends who may be helping with the process of selling your home or moving you at a later date. Though they may not be directly impacted by your downsizing decision now, they could be major players if you decide to put it off. Similarly think about maintaining links to family and friends when deciding where to move.

5.Sooner or later?

Most of us don’t plan ahead and many leave it too late to downsize. We all go through a lot of big life changes in our 50s, 60s and 70s, so it’s important to be prepared and to act sooner rather than later. Getting advice is the best place to start.

 

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