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Downsizing in Retirement: The Pros, Cons, and How You Should Do It


For many people, downsizing to a smaller or better-suited home is an essential part of retiring, with approximately a quarter of homeowners over the age of 55 considering this option. Burnham Waters is an Essex-based retirement community, for those aged 55+, that offers the perfect solution to downsizing. To support those contemplating this transition, Burnham Waters’ Project Director, Ian Holloway, has provided a guide to explain why so many people downsize, important things to consider, and the best way to approach this change.

Why downsize in the first place?

A leading reason for downsizing upon retirement is a reduction of mortgage payments, and to make the most of your long-awaited pension. Certain outgoings in larger houses will begin to feel unnecessary once the household starts to shrink, and through downsizing, Capital Gains Tax (CGT), as well as extensive insurance and utilities costs, may also be avoided.

Downsizing is also appealing upon retirement due to how much time and effort it can take to maintain a larger property; you don’t want to spend your time cleaning rooms that are rarely used. The same goes for large gardens. Burnham Waters, for example, offers suitably spacious yet comfortably contained bungalows – ranging from 947sq. ft – 1475sq ft – as well as a copious amount of beautifully maintained green space.

Downsizing can help you identify an indoor and outdoor space that’s suitable for your stage of life. It should be a positive step towards meeting your needs, helping you live your life to the fullest.

How can I downsize?

Now you know why seniors may choose to downsize, the next question is how?

Downsizing will typically result in moving somewhere smaller, so, naturally, you will need to streamline your possessions. Be sure to give yourself the time and space to do this calmly and carefully. Saying goodbye to your belongings can be a daunting prospect but this should ultimately be a positive experience.

Decluttering Tips:

● Try to be ruthless. There’s nothing wrong with a little sentimentality, but not everything is worthy of your nostalgia.

● Aim to start decluttering around three months before moving. Even if you go into it with ruthless confidence, it’s easy to underestimate the magnitude of this task.

● Work room by room.

● Make sure to label your boxes accurately. You’ll thank yourself later.

● The sooner you know the dimensions of your new home, the sooner you can start planning for the big unpack!

● Spaces like your garage or loft are often havens for items that aren’t part of your everyday life. It can be shocking just how much of it you’ll realise you don’t need.

● Decluttering will make your home look less crowded. Strive for this as potential buyers will want to envision themselves surrounded by their own belongings.

● Don’t forget the end goal: you are decluttering so you can downsize comfortably.

Is downsizing right for me?

Retirement doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution, so, in order to work out whether downsizing is right for you, your unique situation needs to be considered. This isn’t the easiest of tasks, however weighing up the pros and cons can help you reach a decision.


● Depending on where you move, your financial burdens may naturally reduce!

● Tax benefits – avoiding CGT, for example.

● Less housework and maintenance.

● A feeling of contentment in knowing there will be no need for you to move further down the line.

● A good reason to clear out clutter – cleansing for the mind and soul!

● A great opportunity to invest in some new furniture (should you wish to).

● Money saved = more money to spend on the joys in your life. Travel or family, for example.


● Moving can be a pricey process. Be sure to budget in advance for moving costs and compare them to how much you will make on your property.

● Even though maintaining a large garden can become increasingly difficult as the years go by, reducing your outdoor space may still be an understandable downside. Thankfully, many modern retirement communities prioritise the surrounding ecology, meaning you won’t need to sacrifice nature. You may even be able to expand it! At Burnham Waters this is certainly the case.

● Moving can be a stressful experience. When downsizing, be sure to enlist the help of your loved ones and investigate what the community you’re moving into can do to help ease the process.

When downsizing in retirement, your options are endless and countless people aged 55+ find that they thrive in the comfort of a retirement community. Done right, downsizing will unlock the next exciting chapter of your life.

For further information please visit https://www.burnhamwaters.co.uk/