Be­fore you rush off to the es­tate agent, work out the fi­nan­cial pros and cons of a down­size, says GH con­sumer ed­i­tor Sara Ben­well

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - GH Report -

BAL­ANCE THE GAINS Your prop­erty is likely to be worth more now than when you bought it, but smaller prop­er­ties and cer­tain lo­ca­tions will be more ex­pen­sive, too. Get a val­u­a­tion on your prop­erty to find out how much it’s worth and check prop­erty prices in the area you want to move to.

UN­EX­PECTED SAV­INGS When downsizing from a four-bed to a two-bed, the UK av­er­age sav­ing on bills is £1,605 a year, ac­cord­ing to Homeshift. All homes for sale must have an en­ergy per­for­mance cer­tifi­cate – use this to work out what the bills will be. You could also save on coun­cil tax – com­pare costs at coun­cil-tax-bands.

STICK TO YOUR GUNS It’s es­ti­mated that 40% of peo­ple spend more than ex­pected on their new homes – so make sure you aren’t one of them. Set a strict bud­get and tell es­tate agents that you won’t view homes that are more ex­pen­sive than your limit.

PLAY THE LONG GAME While 46% of would-be down­siz­ers want to move into a bun­ga­low,

these made up just 2% of new prop­er­ties reg­is­tered in the UK in 2015, so pa­tience is re­quired if you’re af­ter sin­gle-storey liv­ing. Even when you’ve found the per­fect prop­erty, there can be de­lays. UK homes take 91 days on av­er­age to sell. In slower ar­eas, that could be far longer. And that’s just sell­ing – buy­ing can also take a lot of time and chains fall through.

CLEAR THE DECKS Stor­age isn’t cheap, so use the move as an op­por­tu­nity to de­clut­ter. Sell­ing your un­wanted stuff will pro­vide some ex­tra cash.

ON THE MOVE There are sig­nif­i­cant costs as­so­ci­ated with mov­ing, such as stamp duty; es­tate agent, val­u­a­tion and sur­vey­ors’ fees; and solic­i­tors’ fees. Mov­ing it­self can be ex­pen­sive, but new ser­vices like Zip­van al­low you to save money by rent­ing a van (and pos­si­bly mus­cle) by the hour.

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