10-step downsizing guide

Are you thinking about downsizing? It can be a daunting process, especially if you’ve been in the same house for many years and accumulated getting on for a lifetime’s worth of stuff. But there’s emotional baggage as well; homes are special places where we make some of our most treasured memories, so it’s natural that leaving them is challenging.

To help you navigate the transition, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to downsizing to help you get an idea of the process from start to finish.

1. Work out what’s motivating you to move
Why are you considering a move to a smaller property? Are you looking for a more manageable space with less housework and maintenance? Are you downsizing for financial reasons? Or hoping to simplify your lifestyle? Understanding the reasons will help guide your decision-making process at every stage in the journey to come.

2. Create a budget
Review your finances and establish a budget for your new property. Consider factors such as mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, and maintenance costs. This will help determine your affordability and narrow down your options. Most people downsize to generate a “nest egg”, so think about how much equity you want to put to one side, and factor this into your calculations.

3. Declutter
Moving to a smaller property means you’ll need to streamline your belongings. Sort through each room and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or discard. Think carefully about each item’s value and its significance in your new home. Decluttering will help you optimise space and make your move easier. For more tips, check out our decluttering blog.

4. Think about what space you’ll need
How many bedrooms, bathrooms, and reception rooms would you like in your new property? Do you need extra space for a home office, hobbies, or specialist storage? Would you like a spare room for grandkids staying the night? Focus on the essentials and consider multifunctional furniture or storage to make the most of available space.

5. Research property options
Begin your search for a smaller property based on your needs and budget. Explore property websites, consult with estate agents, and consider exploring the different locations you have in mind. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about property features, location, and any community amenities. Agents in your target areas should be able to provide lots of information.

6. Check out potential locations
When considering downsizing to a smaller property, location is important. If you’re downsizing to be nearer family, then obviously that’s an important factor to consider in location. But despite that, there are certain amenities you might want to be near to. Research potential areas and evaluate their proximity to amenities, such as schools, healthcare facilities, shops, parks, and transport options. Consider the community’s safety, noise levels, and overall feel. Don’t be afraid to knock on some doors and ask residents what they think of the local area.

7. Visit and visualise
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, schedule visits to potential properties. Walk through each space and visualise how your belongings will fit. Pay attention to storage options, layout, natural light, and any renovations or modifications you’ll need to make.

8. Consider resale value
While moving to a smaller property, it’s essential to think about its resale value in the future. Assess the potential for property appreciation and research the local property market trends. This is where a reliable estate agent can be worth their weight in gold (perhaps not literally, but they can still add significant value). This knowledge will help you make a sound investment decision and secure your finances.

9. Prepare for the move
Once you’ve found your new, smaller property, it’s time to prepare for the move. Create a checklist and timeline for packing, hiring movers, notifying utility providers, and informing various providers or companies about your change of address. Simplify the process by labelling boxes and keeping essentials easily accessible.

Don’t forget to prepare yourself emotionally, too. The reality of leaving your property on moving day can be hard to deal with. 

10. Settle in and enjoy
Finally, after all the hard work, it’s time to settle into your new smaller property. Embrace the opportunities it brings, such as lower maintenance, reduced expenses, and a simplified Enjoy the process and the benefits that come with Take some time to arrange your belongings thoughtfully and make the space your own.

Moving to a smaller property can be a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start and a more streamlined lifestyle, not to mention financially advantageous.

If downsizing is something you’re considering, get in touch with us. We’ve helped hundreds of clients through the process and seen them happily settled in their new homes. Not quite at that stage? You might be interested in this video from Managing Director Matt Nicol talking about 5 mistakes to avoid when downsizing.