Should Older Homeowners be Encouraged to Downsize?
The chronic housing shortage in the UK has caused significant issues for many UK residents, something that the Government vowed to tackle when they announced plans in 2015 to build one million homes by 2020.
With that pledge meaning a target of building 200,000 new homes each year, the Government in fact hit their target last year – building 217,350 homes in the 2016/2017 financial year. However, with the demand still sky-high, what other measures could we take to help banish the housing crisis?
Downsizing your home for retirement: Should I have to sell up?
There has been some pressure for retirees to sell up and move to a smaller home to help free up the larger properties, but is this something that they should be pressured into?
Many older people often live in larger, family homes. This is usually because they bought their home when they started a family and one by one, their children have left – leaving them living in a home which is often bigger than their needs.
Some choose to downsize due to health or lifestyle needs, whereas many choose to stay in their home, where they spent many happy years raising their children and grandchildren.
No older homeowner should feel forced to sell up. Downsizing your home for retirement is a personal choice that should be dependent on personal circumstances.
What are some of the reasons for older people selling up for retirement?
There are many reasons why retirees choose to move, these could include:
- Lifestyle/health changes – One of the most common reasons that retirees downsize is due to health and lifestyles changes. Many can often find that they struggle to keep on top of a larger house, or they no longer feel comfortable accessing stairs.
- Free up equity – Downsizing has been known to help release around £80,000 in equity, giving older people the option of paying off debts or topping up their pension. Read more about the pros and cons of equity release.
- Decrease living costs – Living in a larger home can result in higher costs of running your home, such as electricity bills and council tax.
- Company – Downsizing and moving to retirement villages is great way for retirees to make new friends and broaden their social life.
What options do I have if I’m looking to downsize my home when retiring?
If you are considering downsizing and selling your home, there are a variety of ways to sell. The two most common methods are selling via a traditional estate agent, or through an online property buying company such as Good Move.
Both of these methods have their pros and cons, and it is important to do some research of your own to ensure you choose the right option for you – but we’ve included some key points below to get you started.
Traditional estate agents
Traditional estate agents have the advantage over online property buyers, as they often have local knowledge of the area and understand the local property market to ensure you get the best possible price for your home.
However, using an estate agent to sell your home can be costly, as most high street estate agents can charge between 1% and 3%, plus VAT, on your sale price. You will also have to pay for your solicitor fees, which can be anything between £500 and £1,500 – depending on the nature of the sale.
Online property buying companies
Online property buying companies, meanwhile, are ideal for those who want to sell their house fast, as a sale can be made within three to four weeks, whereas your home could be on the market for months, if not years with an estate agent.
As we mentioned, there are often high fees associated with selling through a high-street estate agent. However, selling through an online property buyer often comes with zero fees. Good Move do not charge any fees for selling your home, and seller costs such as solicitor fees are paid by Good Move – not you.
The next step
Are you considering downsizing your home for retirement? If so, please contact one of our experienced surveying team who will happily answer any questions you may have.