Downsizing Dilemmas

It’s easy to assume that the decision to downsize is straightforward; after all, you’ll presumably have cash to spare once you’ve sold ‘the big house’, but of course, the reality is far from simple. In our experience, it is rarely finances that are the obstacle to downsizing.

More significant are a fear of change, a reluctance to deal with the hassle, and indecisiveness as to what to replace the existing home with, resulting in a paralysing failure to grasp the nettle and get on with making the move.

It’s a familiar scenario – you spend much of your life trying to gain more space to house a growing family, then, twenty years later, when the last of your offspring have flown the nest, you realise that the house is much too big and that the equity would be better spent helping to house those very children who are struggling to house their own families.

So what to do? Stay in the house and rattle around, heating space that’s only occupied at Christmas and summer holidays? Try and find a property that’s in the same village or area that lives up to your family home? (always a difficult task). Move away from the area that you’re so familiar with in order to find a property that suits your needs? Try and use the extra space that has been vacated by your fledglings – perhaps b&b or lodgers?

The term ‘downsizing’ is in itself a misnomer, as often people do not want ‘less space’, just ‘different space’ or ‘the same space in a different location’!! For simplicity’s sake, we’ll continue to use the term ‘downsizing’, but you might actually mean ‘re-sizing’ or just ‘relocating’.

The assumption that one will ‘obviously’ want to move to a bungalow may not apply to you, but many of the people that do want to move to this cannot, as there is a shortage of such homes for older people to downsize into, a recent YouGov poll found. Due to the scarcity, bungalows command a 16% premium over houses of the same size with stairs.

Likewise, the UK’s current market for retirement homes is much smaller than that of other developed countries: only 1% of the people aged over 60 live in retirement communities, compared with 17% in the USA, and 13% in Australia and New Zealand.

For those who are influenced by finance, releasing capital by downsizing to something smaller and cheaper, is generally incentive enough.

There are of course numerous side-benefits, and we would encourage those empty-nesters who anticipate downsizing to start thinking about it early, not to put it off until the need has become urgent. There is a huge amount of planning and research to be done, and this can be achieved better where there are minimal time pressures. It’s also easier for the “younger old” to form new social networks.

Our advice would be to consult the family at an early stage – there may be issues that affect your decisions that you are unaware of, and, if all relevant parties are aware of your intentions, it prevents problems arising at a later date. But try to be resolute and put your own needs first. Advantages to downsizing are often only fully appreciated after the move has taken place. The improved lifestyle, proximity to family, amenities and transport, decreased maintenance issues, and improved or specialist ergonomics can be incredibly liberating.

In many cases, the children of downsizers will find themselves playing a major role in the house moves of the older generation. House selling and buying has changed dramatically over the course of the last decade, and homeowners who have been out of the cycle for many years may be unaware of some of the issues that apply today. They may not have access to computers, they may be unaware of recent taxes and expenses involved, and they can find themselves struggling to make the best decisions. Often downsizers are widows who may have never dealt with the sale or purchase of a property in their lives, increasing the anxiety all round.

So where to begin?

The most important consideration for downsizers is how they want to live – think lifestyle needs as opposed to the kind of property. Look at the issues surrounding the move – financial, geographical and practical, and make reference to the future. The best thing to do next is to get out and look at property, don’t restrict your search to the internet, as it is great for prevaricating, but not much else!

If the thought of downsizing seems overwhelming at present, why not have a free no-obligation chat with your local Stacks Regional Director who have helped many people facing the same challenges as you get re-settled happily?

More tips for downsizers can be found here.

You may also be interested in

view more

Tips for downsizers

It’s possible that you may not have sold and bought property for many years and things have changed dramatically over the decades. Taking advice will ensure that you are supported every step of the way. Here are our top 7 tips for downsizers : 1. Don’t just consider your needs as they are...

When is the right time to release equity?

The eternal property dilemma for home-owning over-55’s is not ‘whether’ to release equity tied up in the wrong house, but ‘when’ will the current house become the wrong house and a burden? Research by Age Partnership, a retirement income adviser, recently found that English people aged over 55 currently hold more housing...

Retiring to London

While London’s urban young are wondering when the right time is to cash up and move out to the country, a growing band of the rural old are considering a move in the opposite direction. Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search says, “An increasing number of retired homeowners are cashing in...

Start your property search today

Call us on +44 (0) 1594 842880 or complete the form below

Your Details



Your property requirements:

Status:
SoldThinking of movingOn the marketExchangingIn rented accommodationCash buyerIn need of helpOther


We will never share your details with a third party. For more information about how we handle your data, please see our Privacy Policy

How we can help you
View our services

When making probably the most important financial decision of your life, it pays to have the right advisors at your side.

"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
2018-11-21T13:20:39+00:00
"You we able to give us confidence that we were doing the right thing"
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
2018-11-21T12:59:15+00:00
"Through the whole process they went above and beyond, and it was worth every penny!"
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
2018-11-21T13:09:36+00:00
"We cannot imagine how long it would have taken us to find our perfect home without Stacks – and we suspect that we would have compromised a long time ago!"
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
2018-11-21T13:22:31+00:00
"Your advice on how to effectively instruct and motivate our professional team allowed us to complete in one month."
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
2018-11-21T12:45:49+00:00
"I would recommend using Stacks as they are well connected to the property market and provide a realistic assessment of activity and pricing."
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
2018-11-21T12:51:23+00:00
"Should I move again, I shall definitely use you again"
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
2018-11-21T12:13:26+00:00
"a calming, guiding presence where nothing was too much trouble"
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
2018-11-21T12:42:07+00:00
"How extraordinary to have found what we were looking for"
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
2018-11-21T12:41:04+00:00
"helped our parents downsize from the family home, in what was a traumatic move for them"
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
2018-11-21T12:43:03+00:00
"I completely underestimated how much of a difference you would make"
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
2018-11-21T13:19:40+00:00
"You saved me many miles of driving and were very professional"
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
2018-11-21T12:35:46+00:00
"found precisely what I was looking for, and even on my request made an offer before I had even seen the property!!"
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
2018-11-21T12:57:31+00:00
"They didn’t try to persuade us to buy anything unsuitable."
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
2018-11-21T13:08:49+00:00
"We are delighted with our choice and so are the children."
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
2018-11-21T13:14:45+00:00
"Well done in taking us to a house we didn’t know we wanted … and then fell in love with!"
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
2018-11-21T12:55:04+00:00
"Thank you very much for the professionalism, patience and understanding"
"...negotiate on anything"

Financial Times

2018-11-06T14:00:36+00:00

Financial Times

"...negotiate on anything"
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
2018-11-21T13:10:27+00:00
"We love the house and cannot wait to move in and get settled."
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
2018-11-21T13:12:00+00:00
"We were in a tricky housing situation, looking to buy a very specific type of house and needing to find it in a very specific time frame"
"The best decision we could have made!"
2018-11-21T12:55:52+00:00
"The best decision we could have made!"
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
2018-11-21T13:21:20+00:00
"You were able, by taking on much of the responsibility and the effort, to enable us to relax and enjoy the process"
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
2018-11-21T13:18:01+00:00
"You have exceeded our expectations for a buy-side property service and have made the process a smooth one for us."
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
2018-11-21T12:37:14+00:00
"found us a home in a sought-after area with a high demand for properties and very little on offer"
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
2018-11-21T12:22:38+00:00
"Being able to 'stand behind' Stacks, whilst they brought their negotiating skills to the fore, took us to another level"
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
2018-11-21T12:53:20+00:00
"Stacks has been an invaluable source of experience and wisdom on the successful landing of just the right house"
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
2018-11-21T12:58:19+00:00
"They've been a close and very helpful part of our discussions with everybody. When you’re new to a town and an area, that’s priceless."
"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"

Sunday Telegraph

2018-11-06T13:59:47+00:00

Sunday Telegraph

"...took just days to come up with the property that fitted all our criteria"
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
2018-11-21T13:16:29+00:00
"Would not hesitate to use you again."
"utterly tenacious..."
2018-11-21T13:06:52+00:00
"utterly tenacious..."
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
2018-11-21T12:39:48+00:00
"great value to us during a difficult, competitive purchase"
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
2018-11-21T12:38:34+00:00
"got our offer accepted even when it was not the highest"
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
2018-11-21T12:44:59+00:00
"I needed the continuous advice and support on the many issues that can and do arise, and, above all, someone acting in one’s own interest."
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
2018-11-21T12:17:11+00:00
"a fantastic job in impossible circumstances"
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
2018-11-21T12:46:40+00:00
"I’ve seldom had such consistent, wise support in a major life decision, and I can’t emphasize enough how helpful it is."
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
2018-11-21T12:43:48+00:00
"I gained a house, setting and location which are right for me"
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
2018-11-21T13:11:13+00:00
"We now own a most suitable house in the position of our dreams thanks to Stacks"
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
2018-11-21T13:15:37+00:00
"Without somebody on the ground asking the right questions on our behalf, finding a home would have been truly impossible."
"carried out with discretion"
2018-11-21T12:28:29+00:00
"carried out with discretion"
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
2018-11-21T13:18:39+00:00
"You have found us a superb home which we feel fortunate to call our own."
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
2018-11-21T12:49:38+00:00
"Practically, I needed someone to do the legwork and the eye-balling"
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
2018-11-21T12:32:12+00:00
"Despite other interested parties, Stacks were able to help us secure our preferred property."
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
2018-11-21T12:19:57+00:00
"always courteous and pleasant, and most importantly, in our opinion, trustworthy."
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
2018-11-21T12:54:09+00:00
"Stacks takes great pride in their service, is an expert in their field and above all, demonstrated integrity in all our interaction with them"
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
2018-11-05T22:55:02+00:00
“We want to thank you so much for the very professional and sensitive support you have given us in navigating through the various properties we have considered for investment of our small inheritance.”
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
2018-11-21T13:07:43+00:00
"was fantastic at explaining and helping us with everything that was happening"
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
2018-11-21T13:12:46+00:00
"We were moving country – had booked the packers – and had nowhere to move into!"
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
2018-11-21T13:17:15+00:00
"You have an empathetic approach which, added to your knowledge and wise guidance, has made the whole thing a lot less stressful"
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
2018-11-21T12:50:28+00:00
"Relentlessly provided us with the context and facts we needed to make an informed decision "
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
2018-11-21T12:56:37+00:00
"The house is ideal ... and it is nothing like our first (unsuitable) ideas!"
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
2018-11-21T12:33:22+00:00
"extremely helpful, knowledgeable and tireless in their efforts to assist us"
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
2018-11-21T12:48:37+00:00
"It made a potentially very stressful process very straightforward"
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
2018-11-21T13:13:46+00:00
"We would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of using such a service"
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
2018-11-21T12:21:23+00:00
"Because I had invested in the process of working with a Buying Agent, I had the confidence to go ahead"
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
2018-11-21T12:52:31+00:00
"Stacks had the critical combination of expertise and tenacity to broker a solution for us"
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
2018-11-21T12:47:38+00:00
"In essence, you are buying your best ally "
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"
2018-11-21T12:30:52+00:00
"delivered a great service at a reasonable cost"