The downsizing generation: what are the benefits?

The downsizing generation: what are the benefits?

It’s something that is becoming increasingly common, especially among 'empty-nesters' and retirees, but what are the pros and cons of downsizing?

Downsizing pretty much speaks for itself. It’s when homeowners move from a bigger property to a smaller one, often for financial reasons or because they now need less space and/or bedrooms.

For example, it could be downsizing from a semi-detached house to a bungalow or a townhouse to a flat. Here at Sarah Beeny's Tepilo, we've taken a look at some of the potential pros and cons...

What are the advantages of downsizing?

More than anything, a smaller house means lower mortgage repayments, lower bills and lower maintenance costs. This will leave you more financially secure and with more disposable income to spend on holidays, hobbies, family and your new home itself.

What’s more, downsizing will inevitably mean less time spent on housework, less upkeep of large gardens and cheaper electricity, heating and water costs.

Moving to a smaller property may also encourage you to declutter. In fact, it’s the perfect excuse. If you know you will have less space in your new home, you are more likely to get rid of those unwanted items that have been clogging up the loft or the spare bedroom for the last few years.

It can be a relaxing exercise and is a great way of separating the items that you need and value from the ones that you are just keeping for the sake of it.

What are the potential pitfalls of downsizing?

While a smaller living space can be seen as an advantage, it can also be looked upon as somewhat of a negative. You will, for example, have to get used to a more cramped living environment. There will be less room for all your belongings and less space for socialising or accommodating house guests/returning children.

For people of retirement age, who may have grandchildren staying over at certain times or old friends paying them a visit, a smaller living space and a smaller number of bedrooms may be an issue.

Then there is the cost. Moving house is never cheap, with conveyancing costs, estate agent fees and stamp duty all needing to be factored in. Sellers could therefore see the amount of money they make from a transaction reduced and not as attractive as they'd initially hoped.

Finally, there is the emotional connection many people have with their homes. Sellers may have lived in their homes for many years and may be reluctant to up sticks.

On many levels, downsizing makes perfect sense, especially for older people whose children have flown the nest and who want to free up more money for their retirement. But there are certain considerations to bear in mind before making such a decision.

Like with anything else, there are upsides and downsides to downsizing and weighing these up for your specific personal situation is the best way to come to a decision, as well as seeking advice from professionals and experts.