Moving house: Can you downsize without compromise?


1st Jan 2015 Property

Moving house: Can you downsize without compromise?
From cutting your costs to location, location, location. Here are the essential questions to ask yourself before downsizing your home. 
After spending years in the home where you may have raised children, where you have enjoyed Christmases, birthdays and other happy memories, selling your house for a smaller property might seem daunting.
Once you've overcome your anxieties, downsizing can be a seriously liberating decision. Not only are smaller homes easier to manage but they’re usually more cost effective, leaving you with extra money to spend on the things (or people) you love. 
Understandably, your financial sense and your emotional attachment to your home may not always see eye to eye. The decision to downsize is certainly not an easy one.

Here are some key questions to ask yourself if you’re considering scaling down:

Will downsizing change my perspective on life?

For some people, their home is their castle. Over the years they invest not only considerable money in their property, but also an emotional attachment that transcends four walls to make their house a ‘home’.
If you're this sort of person it might matter to you that you live in a sprawling house. Even if the extra space becomes of little practical use once children have flown the nest, you may not feel comfortable without it.
Consider how much owning a larger property matters in terms of your personal happiness. After all we’re often brought up to believe that bigger is better, so be sure that your sense of status and self-confidence won’t be affected by moving to a smaller home.

Can I live comfortably in a smaller property?

House with bike
If children have moved out leaving you with spare bedrooms, you may decide that maintaining a large home is simply too much hard work.
It’s likely you won’t miss the domestic chores, and this is time you can reinvest in new hobbies or expanding your social life.
On the other hand, you need to be certain that you won’t be living on top of yourself if you downsize. If you've discovered the joy of antique collecting in your retirement, for example, or enjoy regularly hosting guests, you may benefit from the extra space.
Alternatively you may simply wish to find a new use for your space. A spare room could become a private haven in which to relax; away from the computer, television, or maybe even the spouse…

Will selling my existing home for a profit be worth it?

As a general rule, smaller properties are cheaper. If you’re staying in your local area, then you can expect to make a tidy profit by downsizing. However, it is worth calculating the financial benefits before committing to a move.
This is especially true if you’re planning to relocate to a more expensive part of the country, as property prices vary enormously between regions.

Wherever you plan to live after downsizing, it’s important you take these factors into account:

Considering the full costs involved, as well as obtaining a professional valuation of your current home, should give you a clear idea of your potential profit. The next choice will be how to spend or reinvest it.
Before reaching a verdict, it is important to give careful thought to the issues associated with selling your existing home. Above all, ensure that the decision is one that feels right for you and your lifestyle.