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Is downsizing from a house to a bungalow a good option?
Many people are now downsizing from a house to a bungalow. It's a good option, especially in retirement, as a bungalow is a suitable home at any age meaning there's no need to move out as you get older/less mobile.
Often, when a homeowner is looking to downsize the instant thought is to reduce to a two-bed house. However, for older homeowners, the more popular choice is downsizing from a house to a bungalow, which is ideal for many reasons.
Bungalows are hugely popular and make up less than 7% of houses for sale in the UK. This means that the demand outweighs the supply, so it can make a bungalow harder to secure. They’re ideal for homeowners that are heading into retirement, but it is also worth keeping in mind that it can be significantly more difficult to secure a mortgage after retiring. This is why more and more homeowners are opting to downsize earlier, saving themselves the hassle during retirement.
Downsizing is often the answer to saving money, especially if you’re living in a large house and not utilising the space that you have. Choosing a bungalow specifically can be hugely beneficial as you’re likely to save money on your bills, especially heating; heating a bungalow compared to heating a half-empty 4-bed house over the winter is a staggering difference, and long-term really adds up.
Choosing a smaller property also tends to mean that you have proceeds left over after buying from the sale of your original property, which can be used for a variety of things. It’s often a popular idea for homeowners in debt looking to clear it before they retire so they don’t have the debt looming over them but also aids you in staying comfortable during retirement by giving you extra cash.
It also cuts the time and effort that you have to put into maintaining a larger property, whether that be in cleaning the house or keeping the garden under control, which can be a really big consideration for homeowners that are looking to retire and want an easier life in their home.
What are the negatives?
There are short term costs to consider when downsizing which can be a bit off-putting, but often these short term costs are balanced out by the long term savings that you can benefit from in the reduction of utility bills and council tax.
The short-term costs involved in downsizing are usually-
What else should I consider before downsizing to a bungalow?
If you’re looking to downsize before retirement, you may also want to factor in care costs that you or your partner may face later on down the line. If this is something that you may need, you should have enough equity in your smaller property that you can release if you need or want to. With bungalows being highly sought after, their values are high, so it could be worth considering a property like a flat or a one-bed house if you’re keen to downsize but can’t find a bungalow in your price range or preferred location.
Aside from finances, what else should I consider?
As you’ll already know, selling your house and moving is an incredibly stressful event and this can be increased for an older homeowner. You also want to think about the adjustment in your quality of life; if you live in the centre of the city and are moving out to the countryside, it will most likely take some time to get used to this change which can be very hard.
A new location can, however, make your life easier. If you’re moving closer to friends and family, it means your support system is getting stronger which is very desirable for anyone, but especially so for an older homeowner heading to retirement.
Are there other options apart from bungalows?
Whilst a bungalow is often favoured for those looking to downsize during retirement, it isn’t always the easiest option. There are fewer bungalows on the market now, and so it can be difficult to find one in your price range and in the area that you want to live. Thankfully, there are other options. Some homeowners choose to go into flats, where they can have a smaller space but a stronger social life than they may have had previously. There is also the option of park homes, which more homeowners are considering.
“Finding the right property for as a retiree or an older person and can be harder than you think. There are all sorts of things to consider, from the accessibility of the property to the maintenance that it needs. That's why a park home can be an ideal place to go, they'll make it easier to, not only travel to and look after but move around inside too. With the removal of stairs, there's nothing you need to climb, and you won't have to drag anything up there. Having everything on a single floor makes it so much easier.”
There are plenty of options if you’re looking to downsize, with options to suit every homeowner in taste and budget. Making sure that you do your research is one of the key factors that you should keep in mind, so you know that whatever decision you make in downsizing, it will be the right one for you to live your retirement to the fullest.