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The pros and cons of downsizing

3 months ago
The pros and cons of downsizing

Bedrooms that never get used? Too much time spent cleaning and fixing? Yearning to be mortgage free? It may be time to weigh up the pros and cons of downsizing to a smaller property.  

As well as the obvious, such as having less room for furniture and possessions, there are other considerations. Here are five aspects you may not have thought about.   

1. Reducing the number of bedrooms

Pros: if your children have grown up and left home, empty bedrooms can be a waste of space as well as a reminder that your offspring have moved on with their own lives. In the UK, house prices tend to move up and down according to the number of bedrooms, so moving to a property with even one less bedroom can result in a substantial saving on the purchase cost.  

Cons: giving up a spare room can be an issue if you plan to look after grandchildren overnight or like you to host family. Younger downsizers may also need to bear in mind the ‘boomerang child’ phenomenon – an adult son or daughter who may want to move back home after time spent away.  

2. Moving to an apartment

Pros: an apartment is a good option for those who like the idea of single-floor living but don’t have the budget for a bungalow. If the apartment is in a block, it’s usually the property manager’s responsibility to organise repairs to communal areas and major structures, such as the roof.  

Cons: moving to an apartment will likely mean the buyer becomes a leaseholder. As such, they will need to pay ground rent and a service charge. The buyer should also be aware of the consequences of letting a lease run down and the costs involved of extending the lease (or buying a share of the freehold). Additionally, many apartment block freeholders also prohibit the keeping of domestic animals, so cat and dog owners will need to seriously consider where they buy.  

3. Buying a brand new home

Pros: newly built homes are a popular choice among downsizers as they are well insulated for cheaper fuel bills, are fitted with new appliances for better efficiency and reliability, are under structural warranty and require very little maintenance.   

Cons: it’s quite usual for a new home to be sold at a premium when compared to a resale property as you’re paying for the convenience of everything being immaculate and up-to-date. New homes on estates may also come with an annual management fee, which covers the upkeep of the roads, grounds and facilities.  

4. Losing a dining room

Pros: when evaluating what rooms get used most, a dining room is often the space that is frequently left to gather dust. Buying a smaller home without a separate dining room will be cheaper and may help achieve the goal of being mortgage free.  

Cons: if a smaller property doesn’t have a separate dining room, it may be a case of TV dinners on trays, unless there’s enough room in the kitchen for a dining table. People who like to throw dinner parties should seriously consider how they might entertain in the future – and what they might do with any table and chairs they own.  

5. Swapping a garden for a balcony

Pros: if you’re not green fingered, saying goodbye to a garden might not be a bad thing. No more worrying about flowers dying in droughts or watering your plants when you’re on holiday. Hours spent weeding and pruning can be spent visiting family and friends, and the chore of mowing the lawn or jet washing the patio will become a thing of the past.  

Cons: as well as losing a direct connection with nature and a place to dry laundry outside, moving to a property without a garden usually means no space for a shed or other outbuilding. Consideration should be given to where the contents – such as tools and paint – might be stored in an apartment. The purchase of a tumble dryer may also be on the ‘to do’ list.  

If you’re considering a move to a smaller property, contact us for practical advice and to book a free valuation.

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