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The benefits of downsizing.

21 Aug 2019 | 2 min

For many of us, a major life goal is to pay off our mortgage before we retire, and use the equity in our home to fund a comfortable lifestyle in our golden years. But according to research by insurance firm Sunlife, more than two-thirds of over-55s never plan to downsize their home , despite the financial and lifestyle benefits this can bring.

There can be some real benefits to downsizing at different points in your life, not just when you’re getting ready to retire. Our guide could help you work out whether it’s right for you.

You can access the equity in your home

According to Sunlife, the average over-55 has around £135,000 equity in their home, which could help you with living costs or help you make the move to be nearer grown up children and grandchildren.

You could save money on bills and upkeep

The bigger the house, the more you’re likely to be paying on general upkeep, repairs and monthly bills. Expenses like council tax and utilities are likely to be lower for a smaller property, so you could find that downsizing saves you money month-by-month, as well as freeing up a chunk of cash from equity.

You can find a space that works better for you now

We need different things from our homes at different stages in our life and it’s important to keep reassessing what you need, now and in the future.

  • Would it be easier if all your living space was on one level rather than two?
  • Do you need fewer bedrooms but more entertaining space now the kids have flown the nest?
  • Do you want a smaller, more manageable garden or more room for your hobbies?

While it can be hard to let go of the memories a house contains if you’ve been there for a long time, thinking practically about space could really help you focus on what’s right for you and your life, right now.

You can clear the clutter

The popularity of ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix proves that lots of us are looking at ways to streamline the amount of ‘stuff’ that clutters up our homes to lead a calmer, happier life. And nothing focuses your mind on stripping back to the essentials than moving in to a smaller space.

Having less space to store clutter means you’ll have to be ruthless, keeping only – as Marie says – things that ‘spark joy’. Though the thought of tackling the contents of the garage or loft that have been gathering dust for years might be enough to make you stay put…

You can spend less time cleaning

Keeping on top of the housework can be a challenge at any point in your life, so why do more of it than you have to? A smaller home means less surfaces to dust and less floors to vacuum, leaving you more time to enjoy this new phase in your life.

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