Why Downsizing in Retirement Might Be A Terrible Idea

Downsizing is increasingly popular, with individuals and couples of all ages making the choice to move to a smaller or more affordable home. While there may be benefits, there are also potential disadvantages to consider before making a move. We take a look at the pros and cons of downsizing and what to take into account when making the decision, and why downsizing might be a terrible idea, sometimes. 

At Lockings Solicitors, we represent clients in house sales and purchases across East Yorkshire as well as further afield. We have many years of experience in helping with downsizing and other property transactions and all of our conveyancing lawyers have a high level of expertise. 

We are known for the excellent service we provide and our clients often recommend us to friends and family. We know that moving can seem daunting and we always go the extra mile to make sure the process is as easy and stress-free as possible. We will make sure you know what will happen next and keep in touch so that you can ask us questions as they arise and discuss any concerns you may have. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

We are on the panels of approved solicitors of all major mortgage lenders and hold the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation in recognition of our high levels of legal competence, risk management and client service. 

Are there disadvantages to downsizing in retirement? 

There are often many advantages to downsizing, but you need to consider what is right for your situation. Some aspects of moving to a smaller or more economical home might be a benefit to one person but not to another. 

A smaller space 

While less space might be an advantage when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, it could mean that you are unable to have as many guests to stay as you would like or that you don’t have room for all of your hobbies.  

It is also the case that children are living at home for longer or may need to return home at some point. If you have a smaller property, they might not be able to do this.  

If you still intend to do some work, less space may mean that you do not have the option of doing this from home. 

Reducing your possessions 

People generally need to reduce the amount of furniture when downsizing as well as decluttering. If this feels like it would be very difficult for you, for example, if you have valuable or heirloom furniture that you do not want to part with, moving to a smaller home might not be the right option. 

A smaller garden 

A more modest home might come with a smaller garden. If you intend to enjoy spending time outside gardening or you would like a larger space, for example, for grandchildren, this is something to consider in deciding whether to move. 

Leaving your neighbourhood 

If you are very attached to your neighbourhood or your neighbours, you might want to stay put. Being rooted in a community can be particularly important in retirement and living near friends can add to your enjoyment of later life. 

Less benefit from house price rises 

If house prices were to rise, you would not benefit as much if you had moved to a less expensive home. However, the reverse is also true, in that if house prices fall and you have downsized, you would be in a more advantageous position having sold a bigger home while the market was higher. 

Moving costs 

Moving can be expensive, particularly if you need to pay Stamp Duty. There are several other costs to take into account, including estate agent’s fees, survey fees, legal costs, search fees, removals and work that you might need to be done to your new home. If you would like to know how much the legal costs would be, please feel free to ring us and we will be happy to give you a quote. 

Benefits of downsizing in retirement 

Weighed against the disadvantages, there are often a number of benefits to be considered, including: 

A home that is easier to manage 

Downsizing usually means less property maintenance, less time spent cleaning and generally an easier time in keeping your home tidy and in good condition. If you are retired, this will free you to spend more time on the things you enjoy, such as travelling, spending time with family and friends or hobbies. 

Lower outgoings 

One of the main advantages to downsizing is a reduction in outgoings. If you still have a mortgage, you may be able to pay this off or at least reduce the payments, meaning a decrease in the interest you need to pay to your lender. 

You will also usually have lower utility bills, lower insurance premiums and lower maintenance costs.  

Improved quality of life 

Having a property that is easier to manage, increased time and a move to a favoured location might mean that you have an improved quality of life. Downsizing could give you the opportunity to relocate to somewhere you have always wanted to live, such as in the country or by the sea. You could also choose a place with better amenities, such as cafés, shops and leisure activities. 

If you are planning ahead, you may also want somewhere with good bus links, good healthcare options and the chance to walk to local facilities. 

Release equity 

Downsizing is often an opportunity to release equity from property. You could use this to fund a change in lifestyle, for example, more travelling or leisure activities. Alternatively, you might want to use the money to help your children buy their own home.  

How to decide whether to downsize in retirement 

There are many points to consider in deciding whether to downsize in retirement and, if so, when to make the move, including the following: 

  • Why do you want to downsize? Will it be possible to achieve the lifestyle you want by moving? 
  • Do you feel generally happy and optimistic about the idea? If not, try to identify why not and establish whether this is something you will overcome or whether you would prefer to stay put 
  • Are there suitable properties available in your preferred location or would you have to compromise? If so, would this be acceptable to you? 
  • How will your finances work? Will you be able to pay off your mortgage or release equity in the way that you want? 
  • Do you think that you will be able to reduce your possessions sufficiently to downsize? 
  • Would you be able to do everything you want to do if you had a smaller home? For example, have friends and family to stay 

If you are having doubts, take some time to explore your options. Look around potential new areas to live and get a feel for both the properties available and the local amenities.  

Downsizing can be a big life change, and while it is usually a very positive move for most, it is important to make sure it is the right choice for you before going ahead. 

Contact our East Yorkshire and York area conveyancing solicitors 

If you are thinking about downsizing, we would be delighted to represent you in your sale and purchase. We provide a high level of service and always work to complete transactions promptly and without delays. 

We offer a FREE initial chat so that you can ask us any questions you may have at this stage. Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at welcome@lockings.co.uk or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the East Yorkshire and York area.

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