Anyone approaching (or already at) retirement age, and who owns a home that’s becoming increasingly challenging to maintain, is likely to have given some thought to downsizing.

It’s something we talk over a lot with people who are considering buying a home at our Santhem Residences retirement village in Essex, and so we thought it might be helpful to look at some of the things to consider when deciding whether downsizing would be right for you.

Why people downsize in retirement

There are a number of factors that can make downsizing an attractive idea.

  • Your house no longer matches your lifestyle needs

A large house might once have provided an ideal backdrop for the comings and goings of a growing family. Once the children have flown the nest however, it may quickly seem mismatched to your actual needs.

Perhaps all of those empty rooms are just gathering dust. Are you spending more time eating meals in the kitchen, where you once ate meals with friends and family in the dining room? It would be a good idea to take an objective look at how well suited it is to your life going forward.

  • The hassle of maintaining a house and garden are becoming too much

Even modest sized houses require continual maintenance. Roofs, boilers, window frames, driveways, paintwork and a host of other features need maintaining and possibly even renewing regularly. If you’ve lived in your house for several decades, this is ever more likely to be the case as items reach the end of their functional lives.

If you have a garden, this also needs care which gets less appealing as you get older. Simply keeping a lawn tidy can soon become an ordeal, and if you’ve been a keen gardener you will be reluctant to see the plot you’ve tended carefully deteriorate over time.

  • The costs of running your house are excessive

Running a house and a garden are both costly. All of that ongoing maintenance has to be paid for and can throw up costly bills. On top of this, you may start paying for services like cleaning and garden care, when you may have happily done these things yourself in the past.

Energy costs on large houses also need to be considered. Even if you don’t heat unused rooms, a larger property will run up larger bills than a smaller, more modern home. If you don’t need to look after or heat a big house and garden, does it really make sense to spend money every week that you could be using to instead to enjoy life to the full?

  • By downsizing, you can free up capital

The other common motivation for people to downsize is to unlock capital. If you have owned a home for decades (even if it’s not the one you’re in currently), it’s likely that you’ve benefitted from the boom years of value escalation. Although there are financial approaches that make it feasible to stay in your home while unlocking some of the money tied up in it, downsizing to something more manageable could release a large sum of equity for you to enjoy in retirement.

Retirement villages can be the perfect way to downsize.

The thought of having to go through the whole process of clearing out, selling and buying property again, and setting up a new home is one of the main things that puts people off downsizing.

Good, thoughtfully managed retirement villages will provide help with all of this. Our village at Santhem offers not only fabulous facilities and beautifully equipped and finished apartments, but also professional assistance teams to help with every aspect of the move.

This includes decluttering your current home, helping coordinate estate agents, solicitors and removal companies, and holding your hand both practically and emotionally so you get off to a great start in a new home that’s better suited to your needs, and where you are freer than ever to enjoy retirement.