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Save money on downsizing

Holly Thomas / 09 October 2017

Thinking of moving somewhere smaller? You could save thousands of pounds with these handy tips – read on to find out how...

Room with packing boxes stacked in one corner.
When it comes to packing, a helping hand or two can save you money.

Downsizing is popular among the over 50s who have decided to live in a smaller, cheaper and more manageable property. As we revealed in a recent article the cost of moving could reach almost £30,000, which covers a long list of expenses including stamp duty, estate agency fees, surveys, legal costs, removal fees and refurbishment costs.

10 things to do when you move house. 

This sum will substantially eat into the equity released – the main reason why many downsize. A £30,000 deduction to that equity means that for many it won’t be worth their while to move once these expenses are factored in. For others, it will impact on their lifestyle during retirement.

Where to retire on a budget.

Here’s our guide to cutting the cost of downsizing so that more of the money from your home goes into your pocket. These tips could save you almost £16,500.

Cut estate agent fees

Estate agency fees for selling a property can vary, but according to Which? the average estate agency fees for selling is 1.8%. On a typical four bedroom home worth £490,284, that would cost £10,590.

Equity release vs downsizing

To make the biggest saving, you could market your property yourself online. There are lots of companies that offer to list your home for a flat fee. 99Home is the latest online estate agency to launch. A fee of £99 gets your home listed on Zoopla, PrimeLocation and Rightmove, where 95% of buyers first look for a home. Rivals such as HouseSimple, eMoov and Sarah Beeny's Tepilo charge anything up to £1,000. Even at that rate, you’re still saving over £9,000.

The benefits of selling your house online. 

If you really want to instruct the help of an estate agent, get that fee as low as possible. Don’t accept the first quote you are offered, and don’t be afraid to haggle – many agents will be prepared to cut their fees rather than lose your business.

Potential saving: £10,491

Save on removal costs

Packing and moving the contents of a four bedroom house is likely to cost £1,000. By using local removal services that will compete on price for your business, you could cut that bill in half. Post your move on website and local drivers will bid for the work. You need to be specific about what items are being moved but there’s a handy room-by-room checklist that takes only a few minutes to complete.

Downsize for an easier life. 

Hang onto any old newspapers to wrap valuables, and pick up free boxes at the supermarket. Get family to help you pack. Many hands make light work!

Potential saving: £500

Generate cash from unwanted belongings

You might be parting with some of your furniture and belongings that won’t be needed in your new home. It might be something you’ve been meaning to get rid of for ages, or simply that it won’t fit in your new home. You can sell anything on website or auction site eBay. You just need to photograph the items and add a brief description and price. Make sure you detail any defects.

21 steps to declutter your house.

Potential saving: £500 

Redecorate on a budget

On average new homeowners spend around £10,000 doing up their property in the first year, according to research by Aviva. You can save on renovations, repairs and redecoration with a little DIY if you are able – or enlisting the help of family members.

10 ways to revamp your bathroom. 

Don’t forget that over 60s get 10% off at B&Q each Wednesday by joining the Diamond Club. To join, take ID into a store to prove your age and sign up.

For any new furniture, make clever use of sales. Big ticket items tend to be heavily discounted in the sales so it’s worth waiting for prices to drop.

Potential saving: £5,000

Is Equity Release right for you? Find out more here

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.