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Six Steps to Downsizing Success

Every year, thousands of people downsize their home. Smaller spaces are particularly appealing for empty-nesters and retirees because they help to save money on bills, taxes and maintenance costs – after all, there are fewer bedrooms to heat!

Moving to a new house always requires a fair amount of work but there is arguably even more do to when it comes to downsizing because you have a lifetime’s worth of “stuff” to squeeze into a smaller home.

Nonetheless, downsizing gives you more opportunity to do the things that you want to do as it often means moving somewhere that is new and exciting. In recent years, there has been a growing trend in lock up and leave homes, particularly with the over 50’s. Moving to a smaller and more energy-efficient home can be a great way to free up more money to spend in your retirement.

If you are looking to downsize, follow the steps below to have a stress-free and happy move.

#1 Think about where you want to live

Before you downsize, you need to think about where you want to live. Answering these questions will help you to narrow down your options. Is it important for you to live close to family (or as far away as possible)? Are you looking for adventure or are you looking for somewhere calm and quiet? Are you a city person or a country person? Do you want to live in a house or an apartment? How many bedrooms do you need? It is a good idea to view every potential location through the eyes of a permanent resident.

#2 Decide how much space you really need

Start by thinking about the space you are using in your current home. Are you rattling about in a big empty house? Do you have a couple of big bedrooms which are no longer being used and are full of junk? Are you using your garage? This will help you to determine how much space you will need in a future home. If you plan to entertain friends and family in your new home, you may need something bigger than a one-bedroom apartment. Likewise, if you are planning on spending your retirement travelling, then you will not need a large three-bedroom home.

#3 Crunch some numbers

Before you begin looking at homes, you need to know how much you have to spend and where you want to spend it. Moving home can be an expensive process, particularly when you start adding legal fees, stamp duty, surveyor costs and estate agent fees. You will also need to take taxes, insurance and bills into account.

#4 Take a long, hard look at the floor plans

If you think you may have found your ideal downsize home, try to get a really good idea of the space that will be available to you. The best way to do this is by viewing the space multiple times but you can also study the floor plans and start mapping out what items need to go where (furnishings, electronics and décor). Deciding where you want to put your belongings before you move in will make the whole experience run more smoothly.

#5 Start sorting through your “stuff”

Now that you have decided what is going to go where you should get started on organising all of your belongings. To live comfortably in a smaller home, you will need to purge all unnecessary furniture and knick-knacks. This part of the journey can often be more difficult than people expect because many items have sentimental value but the less you move, the cheaper your removal quote will be.

Special tip: Buy a lever arch file to store all of your moving documents, from to-do lists and phone numbers to important bank information. Before you move, don’t forget to notify relevant utilities companies and switch your insurance to your new home.

#6 Find a reliable removals company

Finding a reputable moving company requires doing some research, but the payoff can save you a lot of hassle. Get at least 3 – 5 quotes and ask one person to stay behind until the movers have finished packing to make sure everything is accounted for. On the day you arrive in your new home, record all utility meter readings by taking a photo on your mobile phone.

#7 Lock up, leave and live


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