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It’s almost inevitable that as people reach a more mature stage in life their thoughts can turn to considering adapting their lifestyle to suit the change in circumstances. A key priority for many is to focus on moving home, often ‘downsizing’ from a larger property after the children have moved out and set up on their own and finding somewhere more suitable and more easily maintained and managed. A recent survey by a major insurance company indicated that a growing army of over-55s intend to follow this route - almost two in five, that’s close to 40 per cent. While allowing homeowners to find a smaller property ‘downsizing’ can have the added advantage of providing equity release once the larger house has been sold and a smaller less expensive property purchased.

Why do people consider downsizing?

There are many reasons - but mainly convenience dictates attitudes.

Sometimes a property and the gardens may be too large, especially for ‘empty nesters’ - those whose children have left the family home.

Others may find health problems with advancing years and no longer can cope with stairs.

The running costs associated with a large home may have become too burdensome - fuel bills may have become prohibitive or expensive major repairs require to be carried out to older properties.

Perhaps parents may wish to relocate to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Or some may even want to relocate overseas to a warmer climate.

What do I want?

You need to be crystal clear about why you are moving and the location of your new home.

Is it close to amenities, recreation activities, shops, family and friends?

Are there sufficient medical, dental and care resources and facilities close at hand?

Does it have a garden?

How many bedrooms do I need if relatives or guests come to stay?

It’s important to plan well ahead, think carefully and be prepared to act sooner rather than later. Getting advice is the best place to start.

What are the pros and cons?

You may have lived in the same family home for many years, crammed full of precious memories and possessions.

While the memories will not disappear when you leave, many find it a wrench to move to a house that is often smaller with less space.

You may miss a garden if you move to a flat or an apartment.

And a smaller property may mean you feel there is insufficient space for all your belongings.

However, it could be that considering a smaller home offers the perfect time to carry out a thorough assessment of your needs and declutter your house.

What if I want to use my current furniture in my new home?

Beware. Rooms may be much smaller in your chosen new house so think carefully before you buy.

For instance, check to make sure that sofas, beds and furniture you wish to take with you will fit.

Otherwise, you could be making an expensive mistake and have to spend a fortune on unbudgeted new furnishings.

I am pretty sure I can do this on my own - can’t I?

Regardless of how much you think you know, the property market can be a minefield even for the most knowledgeable.

That’s why it is always best to seek out qualified professional advisors.

They are aware of all the current legislation and requirements and often have indie knowledge which can save you a fortune.

So, before you take any hasty decisions it’s crucial that you seek proper professional advice to safeguard your legal and financial position.

Downsizing can be a highly efficient way to release equity in a property to provide for retirement.

Many people have invested in property over pensions in recent years so increasing numbers are keen to maximise their money once they’ve released it.

But you do not wish to take any decision without looking at all avenues as mistakes can be expensive and impossible to reverse.

People approaching retirement - in common with everyone else contemplating a house purchase - should seriously consider taking professional financial advice.

Do not hesitate to give us a call and we can help you take that first step by discussing your options or putting you in touch with one of our trusted partners who can offer support and financial advice with these big decisions: 0131 5249797