Things to consider before downsizing

More than a third of over 55-year olds plan to downsize and move to a smaller house, find out what to consider when downsizing

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More than a third of over 55-year olds plan to downsize and move to a smaller house, according to research, although seven in 10 said they’d stay in their current house if they could.

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Space was the main reason nearly half (49%) of respondents wanted to stay put, a poll by Nationwide Building Society found, with more than one in five (22%) saying they needed room so they could host family.

Over half of those who do plan to downsize (56%) said that that a smaller house would be easier for them to manage or get around in as they get older. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider if you’re planning to downsize.

Factor in moving costs

Although downsizing will hopefully free up extra capital, it’s vital to work out the costs involved in moving to a new property. These include removal costs, conveyancing fees and stamp duty, which will set you back £5,000 if you’re buying a £300,000 property, or £1,500 if you’re buying a home costing £200,000.

Research by equity release specialists Key found that around 15% of over-55 homeowners – the equivalent of 1.2 million people – say they would definitely consider moving if stamp duty was abolished for last-time buyers.

Will Hale, chief executive at Key, said: “Scrapping stamp duty for “last time buyers” would mean that those people who want to move would have one less barrier to overcome as due to the lack of suitable properties finding something in the right location can be costly.”

Think about how much space you’ll actually need

When looking at properties to move to, think about where your existing furniture will go and how much you’ll need to get rid of.

You’ll also need to consider whether you’ll need a spare room. Even if you might not have any use for one at the moment, you may want one in future if you need support from a live-in carer as you get older.

Decide when you want to move

If you are planning to downsize, think about when you want to move and remember that selling your home can take a while. It takes on average 114 days to sell a property in the UK according to the latest Post Office Money City Rate of Sale report, up from 102 days last year.

Oxford has the slowest selling time, with properties taking an average of 152 days to sell, whilst Edinburgh and Glasgow are the quickest places to sell a home, with properties spending an average of 45 and 47 days on the market respectively.

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Spring is often considered the best time to buy and sell property, as people are usually around and not away on holiday or busy with Christmas.