Feature: The Do’s & Don’ts When Downsizing

Empty nesters may be considering downsizing their home this September as their children set off to university, whilst other downsizers are opting to save money, lower bills, reduce home maintenance, and increasingly seen post-pandemic, fulfil a desire for a simplified life or to have more time for the things they love. Whilst downsizing can bring a range of new opportunities and choices from relocating to somewhere special to giving you a very good reason to declutter and start fresh, it can also be emotionally draining and taxing. Andrea Fawell, Sales and Marketing Director at Kebbell suggests considering these 10 Do’s and Don’ts when downsizing.


1.      Do: Have an open mind before you start out.

Deep dive into all of your options from house size to location to type. Would you like a bungalow or is it a luxe apartment which requires minimal maintenance that you are looking for? Do you want your next home to be a new home that is ready to move into straight away with all the latest mod cons like power showers, underfloor heating, electric car charging points and smart thermostats, without the need for fresh painting, carpets etc.? Or do you have time for a doer-upper?


2.      Do: Opt for sustainability

Strive for a more sustainable future and consider each and every detail of how you can recycle old items that you no longer need, and when purchasing choose items that are eco-friendly and sustainable so that you can start as you mean to go on in your new home.


3.      Do: Choose an area that suits you

Carefully choose where you want to live whether that be closer to family and friends or in a completely new area by the sea or in a pretty rural village. Have you considered the local amenities, clubs, neighbours and transport?


4.      Do: Declutter, declutter, declutter.

Get market ready by organising and decluttering to help your house look cleaner and more appealing to potential buyers, as well as help with your downsize move which may have less space. Don’t have a ‘maybe’ pile, only a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ pile!


5.      Do: Consider all your needs. Prospective buyers at Osborne House in Sunningdale, Berkshire, reminded us recently that most downsizers won’t want to do it more than once in their lifetime so consider what your forever home needs to comprise; from your home office to storage requirements, parking spaces to personal space, bedrooms for future visitors or returning family, to perhaps security to keep them out! Also ask yourself if you should be considering lateral living or a home with life access.


6.      Don’t: Forget your financial goals.

If your goal is to boost your finances and release equity, careful budgeting is needed to ensure you can still fund your retirement in addition to any money you want to put towards travel or gifts to family members. Many downsizers are providing deposits for struggling children who simply don’t have the same opportunities that they had in their 20s and 30s.


7.      Don’t: Fail to take into consideration that timings are much longer at the moment.

Scarcity and increased costs of labour and materials are prevailing factors at the moment so chains and the whole process of buying are taking much longer at the moment. You may find buying a new home takes less time, if it is near to completion, than being involved in an extensive chain when buying a second-hand home. Developers may also offer various options to help you sell your current home so be sure to ask when you visit show homes.


8.      Don’t: Take on a bigger garden than you can manage.

Be realistic about the size of the garden you can manage because a garden should be a joy not a burden.


9.      Don’t: Start acquiring new possessions

Acquiring new items won’t help with clearing out your home ready to downsize! Don’t double up with things that you already have as tempting as it might be. 


10.   Don’t: Avoid talking to your family about downsizing

Given the cost of living we are now facing, many young people are moving back home once they graduate and even for a few years afterwards, which can sometimes mean there is pressure not to sell the family home. Downsizing can be an emotional and daunting prospect but it also offers a chance to bond, to do what’s best for you and look forwards to the new memories you will make in your next home.