Downsizing – Is it for you?
2nd March 2018
We recently visited a gentleman who had lived in his four-bedroom detached family home for over 35 years. He had brought up his family in the house, but they had now grown up and flown the nest.
Sadly, his wife had passed away two years previously leaving him and his elderly cat alone in the family home.
It had taken this gentleman over two years to start thinking about whether a move would be right for him, and finally, to make the decision to call someone to come and talk to him about it.
Some friends who lived locally had recently downsized and encouraged him to call us for a chat.
The gentleman was still undecided about moving and leaving his memories behind. He wanted to discuss his concerns and anxieties with us in order to try and gain some clarity.
We discussed the basic practicalities of downsizing: emptying the garage, the shed, and the loft and what to do with all the bits and bobs he had accumulated over the years, some of which had sentimental attachment. There were 35 years’ worth of ‘things’ needing sorting, which was a task in itself. We talked about sorting into three areas: charity shop, the tip and items for family and friends – a gorgeous sheep had already been allocated to a neighbour who had admired the woolly structure for many years!
Next, the task of moving the items to the various locations one car load at a time was going to be a slow process. This gentleman wanted to make a start on these practical necessities before he could even consider an agent to market his home. He needed to feel that he could move on mentally and within his own time frame.
Location, location, location…
We then chatted about his next dream home – location, size, style and things that were on his wish list.
Location is probably key for most people, the local area is very hilly! We have moved many people from areas which are not particularly accessible to locations closer to the local shops, pubs and public transport in case a time comes when driving is not an option.
Considerations also include proximity to family, friends, and whether you are looking for a change of scenery. This particular gentleman had a number of deliberations. On the one hand there was the pull of the local area for friends and familiarity. On the other hand, there was also a neighbouring town where he had a social circle due to hobbies. He also fancied a change of scene.
Room for leeway?
We discussed the type of property he was thinking about: flat, bungalow, or a smaller house. Did he envisage a time when stairs would be a problem? In such a case, if he were to reside in a flat, would he need a lift? These are all questions which many of us face when considering a downsize and there are no easy answers.
Also up for discussion were the number of bedrooms. Did he want space for visiting grandchildren or friends? Downsizing from a three or four-bedroom house to only one or two can be a daunting prospect – especially when you are used to an office and two spare rooms!
Do you still want a garden to enjoy but without the headache of maintenance? How about a garage and off road parking? This particular gentleman had a large collection of tools with which he was not ready to part, so a garage was paramount. Yet his chosen type of property, a flat, was going to limit his options. We chatted through his needs and I made some suggestions for him to consider.
Thought was also given to other lifestyle changes, maybe having neighbours for the first time in many years…not having a detached home anymore comes with positives and negatives!
We also discussed whether he would prefer a renovation project or simply somewhere that he could move straight in to. After deliberation, I think we came to the conclusion that somewhere in between was ideal for him. He still felt able to decorate and change some basics but didn’t feel the compulsion to be knocking down walls or building an extension!
We understand that there are many considerations when thinking about moving home, but when you are downsizing there are even more factors to consider. We are experienced in helping and re-assuring our clients in this area and would be delighted to come and talk through any anxieties you may have and help you make the right decision for you.
Please give us a call if you would like a chat 0161 871 7071.