Five questions to ask yourself before you downsize your home


So, if you are thinking of downsizing? This isn’t a decision that you’ll be taking easily. Moving house is one of life’s most stressful events in your life, and moving to a smaller property will inevitably mean that you’ll need to make some major changes to the way you live. Here are five questions you should ask yourself before committing to the move.

1. Why are you downsizing, what is the reason?

Perhaps you’re nearing retirement, or your kids have left home, and you want somewhere smaller and more manageable - or maybe you need to release some capital from your equity to supplement your income. You might also be downsizing following a breakup, or reducing your commuting time by moving closer to work.You have a lot of work ahead of you, and ultimately, you'll need to grow accustomed to living in a smaller house - don’t underestimate how difficult that might be. If you’ll be living with your husband/wife, you may have less personal space than you do at present: will that put a strain on your life?

2. Can you afford a smaller home?

This sounds like a stupid question, but think that if you’re buying a significantly smaller home you’ll be competing with first-time buyers, who won’t have a chain. More competition in a particular part of the housing marketplace will increase the price, so do your research to see how much of your equity you’ll be left with after paying perhaps more than you’re anticipating. Don’t underestimate the cost of selling your home, either. Factor in the estate agent’s fees, legal fees, removal costs and the cost of redecorating or renovating your new property.

3. Can you sell your house at the moment?

The housing market is notoriously fickle. House prices have increased a lot over the last decade, and that could mean that your large, family home might be too expensive for another family to buy. Listen carefully to the advice given to you by the estate agents who come to value your home - what do they suggest you do to increase the likelihood of finding a buyer? Do you need to redecorate to a more neutral pallet? Should you move some of your belongings into a self-storage unit to make it easier for a potential buyer to visualise their furniture and possessions in place of yours? These are relatively easy steps to take and could be all that’s needed to sell your house.

4. What are your requirements for your new home?

When choosing your new house, think about what areas of your home you use, and what you use that space for. Do you need a spare room for regular overnight guests? Do you need a separate room to house your hobby? What about your bathroom - do you need a separate bath and shower, and do you need a separate toilet?

5. What should you do with your excess belongings?

Once you’re certain that downsizing is financially worthwhile, and you’ve found a home that will be comfortable and livable, start thinking about what you’ll need to take with you. Think about each room in your new house. Use the floor plans that should be available through the estate agent to mark out the size of existing items of furniture such as your bed and settee. Decide what else will fit into each room without creating a cluttered environment.

Your options for what to do with those items are as follows:-

  • Sell them
  • Give them away
  • Store them
  • Recycle/bin them

Take your time in deciding what you should give away, sell or recycle. At least wait until you’re settled into your new home and have moved in your essentials before deciding what else you’d like to keep with you. You can store your extra, non-essential belongings in a self-storage unit until you’ve unpacked and worked out what else will fit, or what else you can’t possibly live comfortably without. You could keep your self-storage unit for a few days or weeks until you’re certain about what you’ll do with all your belongings.You might decide to keep your unit for the longer term if you have certain items of furniture earmarked for your children or grandchildren for when they upgrade or move into their own homes. Storing them in your self-storage unit will keep them safe, clean and dry until they’re needed at a later date.Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be ready physically and emotionally to move on to the next chapter in your life. Downsizing can be tough, but think of the extra money and time that you’ll save by doing so!

So, for all your self-storage requirements contact the team at Ask Active on 01270 215 200 or email