Where the heart is: The Emotional Side of Downsizing
Every house move is part head and part heart, and the decision to downsize is no different. We all have an emotional connection to the place we live; Christmas dinners, birthdays, parties, children, grandchildren and all the other events and memories that make a house a home. Yet, as we get older, moving somewhere more manageable and affordable – and releasing equity in the process – can be overwhelmingly practical. But the importance of loving your new property isn’t diminished by practicalities.
On average, homeowners choosing to downsize release £60,000 in equity, but the benefits aren’t just financial. For some, it means staying closer to friends and family. Thirty two per cent of retirees said they would prefer to downsize less than ten miles from their current property and almost 40 per cent said they needed to be close to a family member or friend’s house. The sense of togetherness offered by tight-knit communities can add significant value. “We all get on so well with one another in our new property,” Brenda says. “I would say we have a greater communication with people than we would have done in our own homes before.”
And it’s not just a love of the new home itself that’s important. Being within walking distance of shops, GPs and parks rank very highly in downsizers’ priorities, while only 13 per cent valued being close to a major city. As everyone knows, the three most important things are location, location and location.
Although a fifth of homeowners say they fell in love with their current property at first sight, more than half said they fell in love before they moved in. Even those who didn't fall in love before they moved in don't take long - such as Daphne Adams from Braintree: “Twenty-four hours after I moved in, I knew I’d made the right choice,” she says.
Downsizing may suggest compromise, but in reality it doesn’t mean having to sacrifice any of the things you love doing in your home. Brenda and David decided to downsize to a more manageable property after David had a stroke. “We realised it was time to move somewhere which was smaller and we’d be able to cope a lot more,” Brenda says, “I’d never been used to anything other than a house with a garden. When we looked at the property and saw how it was going to be laid out, we knew it was going to be the right place for us.”
Watch a video explaining just how easy and practical downsizing can be.
Methodology: Total sample size was 2,036 adults, of which 1,272 were homeowners. YouGov survey was undertaken between 29 to 30 March 2016 and representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).