Handy hints to help downsizers get their house - and finances - in order

Reducing bills, freeing up equity or saving for retirement. Whatever the reason, it seems more and more of us are looking to downsize.

A recent study suggests nearly half (46 per cent) of people thinking about moving house within the next three years plan to opt for somewhere smaller.

The average age for a downsizer, according to the report* is 53 – with reasons for scaling down including reducing bills and/or releasing equity (39 per cent) or to provide extra cash for retirement (31 per cent).

And for sellers planning to move to a smaller, more manageable property we have some handy hints to help rather than hinder the process.
Su Snaith, head of estate agency, said: “We know that people tend to accumulate everything from pieces of furniture, kitchen items, gardening equipment and so much more over the years.

“However, when it comes to downsizing, a move to somewhere smaller ultimately means less space and storage opportunities. Sorting out belongings before the move will ensure you only take what you need or have room for.”

Here are some handy tips…

- Plan well in advance as packing up a large home can be daunting. Think about where you will be unpacking items and which room your belongings will be placed in – using colour codes or labels to help with getting organised at your new home.

- Don't take what you don't need. Downsizing is your chance to have a thorough Spring clean and focus on exactly what you want in your new home, and what you don't. You may have furniture which is unsuitable or that won’t fit so think ahead and make sure you have taken proper measurements of your new property so you don't struggle on moving day with items that you probably shouldn't have brought with you.

- Set up your utilities as soon as possible – checking with your estate agent and obtain details of the previous utility providers so you can call them to set up new accounts. Also, make sure that your phone and broadband services are ordered prior to moving in as these often take a number of weeks to become active.

- Maximise space - your new home might have less room so think carefully about the layout, and look at ways you can get the most out of the space available. You will be able to tailor the rooms to suit your needs.

And, as well as the practical side, we also offer advice and support on the financial aspects and implications of downsizing.

This can include helping with a mortgage and discussing options for planning for retirement and making the most of your savings - some of the reasons cited by downsizers moving to somewhere smaller.

Su added: “Moving house involves much more than bricks, mortar and possessions. There may often be new surroundings and a complete change of circumstances which require financial planning and re-evaluating savings or investments plans. This is where seeking professional advice is paramount.”

* report: Lloyds Bank March 2016

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