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A Guide to Downsizing

Many people envisage growing old in the home they have enjoyed for years, but for those less attached and looking to make the most out of their finances in retirement, downsizing to a more affordable property could free up some cash to enjoy otherwise. Here are a few things to consider before making the move to a smaller property.

Do you need and use the space you have now?

Perhaps you have a large family who come to stay a lot or have hobbies or interests that require lots of space and storage. Losing space, particularly bedrooms, may be a big change, so it depends how flexible your situation is weighed up with how much you are looking to gain if you do downsize. Other aspects to consider are whether the layout of your home, particularly if you have a lot of stairs and outdoor steps, will become more of a challenge in the future. Your future self might thank you for moving to a more manageable bungalow or ground floor property now.

 Can you still afford a bigger home?

For most, your monthly income will drop in retirement, so it makes sense to do some calculations now to see whether you can still afford your current home. You may have more flexibility, peace of mind and be able to enjoy your retirement more if you move to a smaller and more affordable property. This goes for those still working whose financial situation has changed somewhat – overstretching each month is stressful and though you may love your current home, you could find somewhere within your budget where you could be just as happy and better off financially.

Would a change in area be good?

Ask yourself whether the area you are in is still appropriate for your life now and forecast this question into the future too. If you are quite remote, you may feel as time goes on that you’d like to be nearer neighbours, family or amenities. Travelling and driving long distances could perhaps become more of an effort in the future, for example. Having a community on your doorstep can provide social opportunities as well as the convenience factor.

 Are you keeping on top of your bigger home?

A practical point, but if you find yourself going into rooms solely to clean them, chances are you have more rooms than you now need. However, if you love pottering around your home doing DIY jobs and have pride in a garden you have been cultivating for years, perhaps you’ll be happiest staying put. For those who would like something that’s easier to look after, a bungalow, new build or retirement property could be a good move.

 Is now the best time to move?

Preparing your home to move, sorting out the logistics and finding a new home that’s right for you all takes effort, so ask yourself whether you will have the energy in the future or if now might be the right time so you can relax and fully enjoy your retirement, without having a potential home move in the back of your mind.

How else could you spend the money?

Still need motivation? Once you have worked out your financial situation, it could be good to imagine how else you might be able to spend any freed up finances – more travel, the chance to try new activities and hobbies, treating family? If you have more expendable cash in retirement, this might just give you the peace of mind to truly relax and enjoy, letting you spend more on the people and things you care about throughout your golden years.

Clyde Property is a leading independent, multiple award winning estate and letting agent with 30 years’ experience in selling and letting property in Scotland. Just contact your local branch today, for friendly, impartial advice on buying or selling a home.

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