Has anyone ever downsized?

(41 Posts)
Yfronts Fri 11-Jan-13 16:21:34

... and if so how much did your life change and how did your new cheaper house compare to the old more expensive one? Was it worth the change/effort?

Yfronts Fri 11-Jan-13 16:24:45

We are looking to reduce our mortgage by 100k

Onlyaphase Fri 11-Jan-13 16:33:35

We downsized 5 years ago, from a big old house to a cottage. For me, I'm not sure it was worth it as I spent a fair amount of money tarting up the cottage in order to make it feel bigger and better.

A few years in, and I've had enough of pretending I like living in a small house where entertaining is difficult and cramped, and we don't have a spare room for guests. I've realised that entertaining, having guests, get togethers and parties is actually a big part of my life and how I like to live.

The cottage has gone on the market and we are moving somewhere 100% bigger. I've discovered that for me, this is the way forward, and I'm prepared to make sacrifices to do this, financial and otherwise. Clearly this won't be the case for everyone, but it is for me.

Interested to hear from others too, if it has worked for them.

WowOoo Fri 11-Jan-13 16:48:36

We did and I regret it. We lived in such a lovely home, but the mortgage was just too much after I lost my job.
But dh would say that I am forgetting that we were able to enjoy life a little bit more, relax about money, take a holiday, buy whatever we liked etc.
We've now moved, but still not to our dream home.
It wasn't the house so much as the huge garden, not being overlooked at all, woods behind the property and the character of the house.
I kick myself when I think we've lost it forever.

AngryFeet Fri 11-Jan-13 16:50:42

I am about to kind of. But not financially just in terms of space. Been living (renting) in my parents lovely huge 5 bed house with great views. Buying our own which is 3 bed and a lot smaller. We probably could just have afforded this place but would have stretched ourselves to breaking point. We decided to get a place where we would pay no more than 1/3rd of our joint salaries on the monthly mortgage payment and we found somewhere in the location we wanted that fit the bill so have gone for it.

Would I prefer more space? Yes. But would I prefer not to struggle and to afford holidays and nice things? More than I want a few more square meters in my kitchen, definitely.

Yfronts Fri 11-Jan-13 16:56:45

This is all very interesting as I had never considered that I might regret a move. I'm really sorry to hear that you really miss your old house/space.

We have a good sized old mid terrace house but are thinking of getting a smaller 3 bed semi 1960's house. We wouldn't be mortgage free but would be able to pay it off over about 7 years. But we do love our present home, it's just that our mortgage is 25 years and has been for many moons due to finances.

Yfronts Fri 11-Jan-13 16:59:34

Thanks Angry.

At the moment everything is on a shoes string - holidays/cars/clothes/weekend activities. We have always been very inventive as a result!

Goodwordguide Fri 11-Jan-13 17:01:19

Very interesting as you often read on MN that big houses are over-rated - we're about to upsize and I'm concerned that the house we're buying is too big and we won't need that much space, we're being greedy etc when we'd be better off financially in a smaller place.

But we are bursting at the seams in the current house - and not being able to have people over either to eat or stay is a major gripe of mine (my family live far away and can't visit at the moment). Interesting to hear both sides.

overthemill Fri 11-Jan-13 17:03:01

we moved to smaller house and regret it a lot. as kids have got bigger we've felt cramped. we have 2 receps in old house, bigger kitchen/diner and bigger bedrooms (tho still 4). Garden is bigger tho but we dont have time to deal with it so it is a mess. i wish we had stayed where we were but we were forced by circs to move and this house was the only one we could find quickly. it is also in a village with no services though very pretty and with wonderful walks, stately home etc.

Toomuchtea Fri 11-Jan-13 17:05:29

We are, I hope, about to downsize, though the new house is if anything slightly bigger than the one we're in. What we're losing is outside space and outbuildings. I know I will really, really miss my garden, and the space, but I won't miss the sheer, grinding effort of keeping it all going. I hope it will all be worth it.

Bumblequeen Fri 11-Jan-13 17:07:20

Interesting post.

Never downsized but we moved to Kent for a 2.5 bedroom house when we could have stretched to a 2.5/3 bedroom flat in least desirable areas in London. Growing up we lived in flats and I yearned for my own front door, front garden and back garden.

Although we like it here for a number of reasons - ( green, clean streets, low crime, quiet) the commuting is tiring. Cannot move as very little equity in house and no savings sad

Yfronts Fri 11-Jan-13 17:08:35

Will pop on later and catch up. Thanks for all your posts though. Great food for thought.

startlife Fri 11-Jan-13 18:56:25

We upsized our mortgage when we moved to a (better) area but the house doesn't work as well for us. We're short on bedroom space and I regret that enormously. Having friends/family to stay just isn't possible and I appreciate how important that is to me.

We also have a bigger mortgage so it feels like a lose/lose.

I would happily move to a house in a less desirable area which could mean a bigger house with less mortgage.

I think reducing the mortgage is very sensible if you are not managing to pay down the capital .Work out what's important to you. I thought I would be happy in a lovely area with a big garden but really I don't use the garden as much.

noddyholder Fri 11-Jan-13 20:18:32

We are doing it now! We are buying a much cheaper house than we can actually afford but it suits all our needs and it means we are financially set up for the future. We have bought a flat which is bigger than the house we had and in a better road but no garden just a roof terrace(but sea view). I love the idea of not thinking about money

TulipsfromAmsterdam Fri 11-Jan-13 22:21:30

We moved from a large, end terraced 4 bed house to a smaller, modern 4 bed detached on a quiet estate. The mortgage was higher but we thought what we would save on utilities would cover the extra and it probably did.
However the rooms were much smaller and felt very confined. After 2 years we ended up selling and moving back to a very similar property and in the same area as the first.
This has cost us a lot of money but we are much happier now. My biggest regret was moving in the first place and I often think how much simpler it would have been to stay put.

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 08:46:18

Is downsizing always a bad move?

Lalou Sat 12-Jan-13 09:14:14

I'm sure it's not always a bad thing, it must depend a lot on individual circumstances - e.g. how big is your family/how much space do you and will you need, how urgently do you need to reduce outgoings, is there any chance of earning more in the future and making life easier that way?

Goodwordguide Sat 12-Jan-13 10:50:32

Completely lalou - we have young DCs, family far away, I will earn more in the future etc, possibly from home, so we need a place with room to work etc. I feel like we have been 'downsizing' for the last 6 years - kids sharing a room, guests sleeping on the floor, me working on my bed etc.
It's time for a bit of space but when the DCs leave home I imagine we would get a smaller place a gain - or before then if the cost of running the larger home is too much <fingers crossed>.

wendybird77 Sat 12-Jan-13 10:51:04

We downsized to a 2 bed rental from 3 bed / 2 reception when we moved areas. I was really into it and seriously decluttered - probably brought about 1/3 of our stuff from the old house. It was really freeing and I loved having less space to clean. However, DS2 came along, we had no place for guests to stay (family live abroad) and as the kids grew we were tripping over their stuff despite serious decluttering efforts. We didn't have space to store bikes / scooters etc and it was time to move. Now we've moved to a larger house and I can't believe how much stress has gone (despite renovations!). I think we will downsize again when the kids grow up. I think you have to be very realistic about it though and plan where everything is going to go, what it is like to not be able to keep things that are not in current use, and what you may be giving up in terms of maintaining relationships (do you have guests, entertain a lot, etc). Financially we're about the same as we've moved from our rental in an expensive area to a village outside. I am loving the space and seclusion, but it isn't for everyone. In hindsight, the small house we could have lived with if we'd had a garage for storage. Also, I am a bit of a homebody and I like to be at home. If you are the sort of family who are out and about all the time and can't stand being in the house then it may be the best move you've ever made!

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 10:56:40

Wendy we have been decluttering too and it make me feel amazing!

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 11:06:07

The semi we have our eye on has enough bedrooms but the actual living areas are reduced - smaller and no play room. Could convert the garage for extra space but it isn't actually attached to the house.

I think we would have to keep our belongings to the minimal if we did move.

Kiriwawa Sat 12-Jan-13 11:06:30

We moved from a flat in London to a house in Kent so we have more space but a much smaller mortgage. Financially it's a massive relief and it's lovely having the additional space and now I can't figure out how we managed to fit everything into our flat!

Thankfully only commute a couple of days a week a week though - as Bumblequeen says, a long daily commute is exhausting.

Bumblequeen Sat 12-Jan-13 11:56:50

Kiriwawa- I have been commuting for four years now. It feels worse in the winter months.

noddyholder Sat 12-Jan-13 11:57:06

If you bought years ago and have a small mortgage and big equity and were planning on using that then now is the time really as prices will probably fall and stagnate and inflation will catch up and your plans may not be realised. This is what I have done as I wanted a smaller cheaper to run home and savings with no mortgage. In a case like ours it is good but if you still have young children and need space etc you would need to be very disciplined to pull it off

We have a big, detached Victorian house, and always thought we'd downsize when the DC went to uni. However, we've decided not to, because, like someone else said, entertaining and having guests to stay is what we enjoy doing. We could be mortgage free if we downsized, but, to us, it's more beneficial to have a big house and garden.

noddyholder Sat 12-Jan-13 12:04:03

Yes it is difficult if you like entertaining. Has taken me 15 months to find somewhere as we have a lot of guests and ds mates always here. But it is do able if you compromise in other ways. We were happy to have a flat as long as we are freeholders and that way we have retained the big rooms and location

Sushiqueen Sat 12-Jan-13 15:00:09

We moved last year from a 5 bed double garage detached house to a 2/3 bed house with a single garage. Also moved areas completely.

We now have a far bigger garden though than we had previously which is a bonus.

We definitely made the right choice for us. We still have a spare room for visitors (which we seem to get a lot more of now we have moved). Thus house feels more like a home than a brand new property did. The smaller mortgage is just an added bonus.

fussychica Sat 12-Jan-13 15:20:43

We recently did a downsize - moving from a 5 bed 4 bath farmhouse with pool(in Spain) to a large 2 bed detached in UK. My dad lived with us & when he passed away and DS went off to Uni we decided to sell up & come back to the UK. We've only just managed to sell our house in Spain which is a huge relief but meant we either had to keep renting or buy somewhere we knew we could afford if the house in Spain didn't sell. We are fortunate enough not to have a mortgage.

The 2 bed is fine as it has large rooms & a big conservatory which we use as a dining room/2nd sitting room. However, definitely miss my en-suite and big kitchen (our only small room here).

It is a compromise but one which we were prepared to make to come back to the UK.

higgle Sat 12-Jan-13 15:50:51

We have a very ordinary 16 year old 4 bed detached, lots of living space with a large garden room and 2 receptions + study, also 2 en suites as well as family bathroom. We will become empty nesters in October and I would like to move to a 3 bed cottge/barn conversion/ apartment with a large living area, large master suite and 2 smaller bedrooms. We could either free up a bit of capital or move to a really nice area. I do love the house we are in but there are no character features and it is a family home really, not set up for a couple and the odd visitor or two. We are in a villlage that is great for commuting at the moment but I'd rather be in the proper countryside or somewhere urban than this half and half sort of place.

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 19:53:18

Enjoying reading all your posts. Our kids are aged 2 - 11. So will be at home for a number of years still.

LegodOut Sun 13-Jan-13 07:24:18

we're about to move from a 2400 sq ft house to a 1600 sq ft house. Mortgage is actually a tiny bit more, as we have relocated from Yorkshire to Kent, but in terms of size-downsizing, we're about to do it! But there are only 3 of us, so the house is still plenty big enough. We've always liked small cozy rooms and have never been hoarders.

LadyLetch Sun 13-Jan-13 10:31:40

Yes, we did. We moved from a large 3 bed detached with double bedrooms, downstairs playroom etc to a much smaller 3 bed end terraced. However, the new house was more expensive, so we also had to increase our mortgage.

We moved for the area (large town suburb to large village), better schools and a better commute for dh. Been here almost 3 years now and I don't regret it at all. I think it is because it is a better area, nicer place to live that I feel that I have gained. Also I'm not very materialistic so the size of the house doesn't really bother me. I prefer the new layout, and whilst the bedrooms are a lot smaller, we've used mid sleepers to store toys etc underneath so the rooms don't feel too small and the DDs have space to play in their rooms. Our garage is also attached, so I know I can 'grow' my house if I need to.

Adversecamber Sun 13-Jan-13 11:48:16

We have not downsized as such but have not up sized though we could. It is great never having to worry about bills. I suppose I don't really like having guests stay over night that much either so the push from DH just stresses me as it would then be easier for people to stay. <unsociable git emoticon>

A close friend of mine had to downsize when her DH was made redundant back in the 1990's, she still pines for her detached four bed with huge garden. She is in three bed semi with a teeny tiny courtyard garden.

littlecrystal Mon 21-Jan-13 22:53:09

So glad I found this thread. I am looking to move into a better area, and was seriously thinking of downsizing from a large 2 bed house to a small 2 bed house. Mortgage would be the same. Another option would be to add 20-30k to the mortgage and buy 3 bed which is about the size of ourrent house. I wasn't really looking to increase my mortgage, but with 2 growing boys I need to rethink my strategy...

GemDoll Tue 22-Jan-13 11:10:25

We're just about to downsize from a three bed home which is approx 1000sq ft into a two bed/two reception period property which is approx 500 sq ft. We have two children. We have decluttered a lot grin
Our mortgage repayment is less then what we currently are paying and our monthly bills will be lower also. To ease the financial pressure is worth it to us so we can pay for more 'experiences' (family holidays etc)

GemDoll Tue 22-Jan-13 18:10:01


littlecrystal Wed 23-Jan-13 09:58:36

GemDoll interesting. 500 sq ft is not much.. is it purely due to finances?

My option is 650 sq.ft 2 bed house which is the same value as my current house, so I am remaining with the same mortgage and no overstrech.
The area is so much better, but I keep thinking whether my children will be happy to share the bedroom until they grow up, or where do I make that precious study/computer/guest room for ocassional relative visits.

It is very hard to say bye to my current space but it needs to be done.

GemDoll Wed 23-Jan-13 12:03:10

LittleCrystal yes, mostly down to finances. In the area we live we are currently renting a large three bed house in a good area but when it came to buying a property we could not afford the equivalent in terms of house buying if that makes sense. We would have had to move to not a great area of where we live if we bought a cheap three bed which I did not want to do.

We are downsizing into a desirable area (there are £500,000 pound houses a few doors down for example) and into a period property which is what I really wanted. My children (girls) will be sharing long term which I know a lot of mumsnetters don't usually agree with (privacy etc in teen years) but we know this choice is right for our family. I think a small home makes for a close family grin I think it certainly helps that we are quite minimalist!

littlecrystal Wed 23-Jan-13 14:20:56

GemDoll I like your positivity. And owned is always better than rented. I am a bit scared of downsizing myself, but found lots of encouraging information on internet (google “tiny living”, “downsizing with children” etc) and also lots of small space ideas in houzz website.

GemDoll Thu 24-Jan-13 13:13:49

Thank you littlecrystal
Tiny house living inspiration: http://contests.apartmenttherapy.com/2010/small-cool/main/category/tiny

Tiny house living blog:

GemDoll Thu 24-Jan-13 13:14:31

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