Downsizing: How to make it possible

Downsizing: How to make it possible

Published: November 06th, 2018

I met with Annie the other day, she’s 74, active, retired and volunteers for the National Trust. She lives on her own, as her husband sadly passed away a number of years ago, and all her daughters had grown up and started their own families close by.

Annie had been toying with the idea of downsizing.

She was living in the family home of 42 years, and with 4 spare bedrooms, there was a lot of extra cleaning and maintenance, not forgetting large monthly bills to pay, to keep this house going.

Annie had the yearn to travel- Italy being her favourite place to visit but could only do this by selling up and going somewhere smaller.

She had been looking for a new home, but nothing worked, where would all her furniture go for example? Where will there be enough room to get the family round for Sunday Roast.... How could she make somewhere smaller work for her?

Downsizing is one of the most difficult moves, especially when the owner has been there for decades, watching children grow up and grandchildren have started to appear.

So many happy memories.

Talking things through with Annie, took time. I’m not just talking an hour or two, but many hours over many days, over many months.

When considering downsizing, it must be looked at from a very different angle. It’s not just moving home, it’s letting go of the past and starting a new chapter. An exciting one, where someone gets the chance to start over.... almost reliving their youth but with more life experience.

They still have independence, but less overheads, less cleaning, more money to spend on the nice things in life, such as lunch with friends, travelling, trips to the theatre and whatever else may tickle your fancy or you are yet to tick off that never ending bucket list.

Annie then came to see me, she had found the holiday she wanted to go on.... a multicentre trip around the Tuscan countryside. She had it all planned, but there was one problem, she had to sell to fund this trip. But this was her goal. 

Having a goal helps us all achieve what we need to do to get what we most desire.

Like many who are retired, Annie was asset rich but cash poor. Having spent time with her talking through her options and what exactly she needed, what she wanted, and what was on the dream list, I set about arranging some viewings.

Tuscan-HIllside.jpg#asset:1619751

Now that Annie was looking at these potential new homes with a different light, suddenly, she had 6 property possibilities subject to selling.

We provided the necessary advice and support and with her daughters (who had been trying to get their mum to move since she retired at the age of 68) help, we got Annie’s home looking beautiful and on the market within a couple of weeks. With the help of her eldest daughter, Annie had begun to sort through her things, and had a 3-box system.

1- Going with her to the new home

2- Going to the charity shop

3- Going to the tip

Sorting through one room at a time was manageable and would help Annie when she had sold, making moving simpler.

Within 2 weeks, 14 viewings, and 3 offers later, a sale had been agreed just a little over the guide price. Annie (and her daughters) was thrilled.

Annie second viewed 4 out of the 6 properties she had previously visited (2 had gone by this point). After a day or so, she had had an offer accepted, and just over 6 weeks later we exchanged contracts with completion 4 weeks later.

Having already sorted through each room, packing was much easier, and given that there was time between exchange and completion, this gave Annie the time to order the new 3-piece suite for the sitting room, which really had needed upgrading some time before and was the right size for her new home and a sumptuous new bed she’d been looking at.

Now don’t get me wrong, everything we did made the physical move easier, but a few tears were still shed on the day of the move....it was very emotional. Thankfully Annie, had 4 wonderful daughters who supported her and whilst two of them did the physical move, the other two took her to the travel agents to book a mother and daughter trip to Tuscany.

As I said at the beginning, I saw Annie the other day…… in her new home, a 2-bedroom bungalow, with a lovely garden, and sneaky glimpses of the sea on a clear day. It’s almost a third of the size of her previous home, but she loves it. She had found her fondness for baking again- oh she’s good- her Black Forest gateaux was delicious!

As the move had been emotional, but by now the dust had settled, her new routine was established, and the Tuscan trip planned right down to the best cafe in each town they were visiting.... she wanted to thank me personally for understanding what it was she was going to go through. No pressure, just a friendly chat here and there....and the help and support given through the selling process as it changed so much since she last bought. Being there to ‘hold her hand’ and talk her through her options at each stage enabled Annie to make informed decisions. We worked closely with her daughters to ensure Annie was comfortable and the family agreed with her choices.

You see, to us, selling your home is only a part of the moving process. There will always be highs and lows, and it’s how this is dealt with that sets us apart from others.

Annie had been put off downsizing before as her friends had had some terrible experience, but she now recommends us to everyone. She’s a little bit camera shy, otherwise we’d be doing a video of this.

If you are looking to downsize, or know someone that’s looking to do so, call Victoria to book in for a chat. 01395 275556. She’s just a phone call away.