Downsizing is too Expensive for Older Homeowners
When we reach our golden years, many of us decide to “downsize” – after all, if you have no children or they are all grown up and moved out, a large house is unnecessary and difficult and expensive to maintain. It makes sense to many older people to move out during retirement – or it would, if downsizing actually provided any value.
The UK has five million homeowners over 65 – and last year just 1% of them moved house. Britain is in a housing crisis, with many experts blaming high house prices and lenders for the younger generation not being able to get on the housing ladder. However, recently attention has turned to the older generation, or ‘home blockers’ as they are sometimes referred to.
Nonetheless, many pensioners aren’t sitting tight in their large homes willingly. They agree that downsizing is the right thing to do so a family can move in – but they can’t find an affordable property. Apartments in retirement villages are selling for incredible prices, from £260,000 to £735,000. Many of these retirement villages also have a service charge of around £5,000 per year.
This is all without worrying about fees for moving home, such as stamp duty and legal fees which is another deterrent for people to move. Location is also an issue, as the older generation usually don’t want to move somewhere new at that stage of their life, even if it is cheaper to do so.
Downsizing comes at a huge cost, and it’s a cost which many pensioners can’t afford. Their homes may now be worth a lot less than modern apartments and retirement villages, so they don’t even have an option. To boost the value of a home in order to sell it for more and afford to downsize, why not consider the following:
- Add a bathroom. Buyers demand more than one bathroom yet older properties often don’t have an en-suite. If there isn’t room to install one, how about converting the cupboard under the stairs into a downstairs cloakroom toilet?
- Transform the loft space. People desperately want more space and more space transpires into more value. If you can’t afford a full loft conversion, make sure you get some quotes anyway and let the estate agent know that it has the potential for a loft extension.
- Modernise the décor. Sometimes buyers can fail to look past the personal interior design and see how they would decorate the space. Pensioners tend to have a traditional style of décor which simply doesn’t appeal to modern buyers. It’s best to have a blank canvas for people to see.
- Driveway and gardens. The exterior of a house can be very important, and a brand new driveway will look very appealing to buyers.