Downsize in retirement and release valuable equity - By Beth Lane

Tuesday, 21 June 2016
Downsizing is a growing trend in the UK and now a new YouGov survey has revealed that 48 per cent of people aged 55-plus are interested in downsizing to a ‘more suitable’ property.

Downsizing appeals to homeowners for a wide range of reasons. With 29 per cent of survey respondents expecting to release more than £100,000 of equity by downsizing, financial freedom and a cash influx are undoubtedly a key motive. For most people, a property is the largest financial investment they’ll ever make, and downsizing allows them to access the money that they’ve input over the years. According to the study, 35 per cent of those questioned wanted to use the equity released to bolster savings, 30 per cent wanted to use the cash to enhance their day-to-day life and 19 per cent wanted to help family members financially. Additionally, 34 per cent of those aged 55 to 59 specifically wanted to add the released cash to their pension pot.

Aside from the substantial cash influx, there were several other aspects of downsizing that appealed to those questioned. 56 per cent of respondents said they wanted to downsize in order to spend less money on ongoing property maintenance, 43 per cent said they were looking to achieve lower bills and 43 per cent said they wanted to move as their children had left home and the house was now bigger than they needed.

Danny Luke, managing director of Quick Move Now – the UK’s largest independent professional homebuying company, commented: “Downsizing is a trend we’re seeing more and more, especially with older homeowners who are either looking to release the equity tied up in their property, or who are looking to reduce the amount of time and energy they spend on property maintenance now that their children have grown up or their personal circumstances have changed and they no longer need the large family-sized property.

“Many have the desire to downsize, but the idea of moving house can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve lived in the same property for a substantial amount of time.  Research by Key Retirement Solutions found that of those wishing to downsize, 60 per cent of respondents’ biggest worry was the hassle of moving, and 34 per cent said their biggest worry was the delays involved when selling a property on the open market.  We understand that downsizing can be a very emotive process; many homeowners will feel a mixture of excitement about what lies ahead alongside sadness and nostalgia about leaving a home filled with many memories, but it’s important to think about the right decision for your current life stage.  Selling to a professional homebuyer can be a great option if you’re concerned about the hassle and uncertainty of selling on the open market.  Do your research and make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company, but selling to a professional homebuying company will offer you the peace of mind of a guaranteed cash sale on a date to suit you, providing speed, certainty and security.”

If you’re considering using a professional homebuying company to downsize your property, follow these top tips:

Make sure the company you’re speaking to is a genuine professional homebuyer 

A real professional homebuyer will be able to prove that they have the money available to buy your property and many others.  For a genuine, professional company you should expect an annual company turnover in excess of £4 million and an available balance of at least £1 million.  Companies House and Duedil are two websites that will allow you to see a company’s financial profile before you commit to a sale with any company.

Never pay any fees

A professional homebuying company should not charge you a fee at any stage of the buying process.  A genuine company will buy your property at a discounted rate, in return for a quick, guaranteed and hassle-free property sale.  They should also pay any legal costs associated with the sale, including the property survey, an energy performance certificate and the solicitor’s fees.

Do not sign an option agreement 

An option agreement is a contract that some less-reputable companies use to tie you in and stop you from selling your property with anyone else.  These contracts are usually a stalling tactic used by brokers while they try to find a buyer.  A genuine professional homebuyer will have the cash immediately available and will not tie you in to anything.

Look at what their customers say about them

If the company you’re considering using is providing a good service it should have happy customer testimonials readily available.  

Beth has been writing about property for more than ten years, having previously worked with residential and commercial property consultants, retirement property developers, new build developers and more recently a team of investors at the UK’s largest independent professional home buying company – Quick Move Now. 

 Established in 1998, Quick Move Now has purchased more than 5,000 properties and has an annual turnover of more than £40 million. The company buys property directly with its own cash funds, offering its clients a quick, simple, guaranteed and fuss-free house sale.