Downsizing: Chicken or Egg first? What to do first...

When you think of downsizing, the biggest issue seems to be chicken or egg first. You definitely have decided you want a smaller or different type of property: Less stairs to hoover, less rooms to dust, less rooms to decorate, less garden to manage; easier access to shops, level walk to town, nearer to bus routes with the Free Bus Pass :). So many issues, so many decisions. What to do for the best and what to do first. It's a minefield, or so it seems.

Do you REALLY want to move? Does it depend on the price you get and/or does it depend on what you can find to replace your lovely home?

Discover if the type of property you would move to exists in the price range and area you want to move in.

Go on Rightmove, or other multi-property sites on the internet and see what's available to buy. Going into an estate agent's office will only tell you what they have, so it's best to go online first. You can search agents' sites such as too. If you are not very internet savvy, perhaps you can ask a friend or family to help you. It will save you masses of time and really help you see what's available. 

When you search online, don't be too prescriptive as the 'ideal home' probably doesn't exist unless you have bottomless pockets!

We recommend:

Price range; keep it quite broad as many properties have surprisingly high asking prices compared to what they finally sell for,

General location; keep it quite wide as it would be a pity to miss the perfect place because it is a couple of hundred metres beyond your supposed boundary,

Number of bedrooms; put a minimum number but not a maximum as some agents call dining rooms and studies 'bedrooms' to make properties sound bigger than they are. So, if you say 2 bedrooms maximum, you won't see the one which has a dining room entered by the agent as a bedroom.

So, after looking online, you see there are potential properties you could be interested in. You can now do 2 things.

  1. Contact the agent selling the property and ask to view it.
  2. Contact an estate agent to get your property on the market unless you can buy without selling. There’s the rub!!

With 1, the agent’s first question will be ‘Do you have a property to sell?’ If they are showing you around a property, they want to know that you are in a position to buy it. If you do not have the cash in the bank, you are not the number one priority you’d like to be. Their seller may have told them to only show people around the property who can buy it then and there.

They will probably try to convince you to go on the market with them with the bait that you will have more chance of buying that property if you are selling with them too. This is NOT true! They act for their client, the seller, not for you in regard to you buying so cannot promise you this.

With 2, you get your property on the market at a saleable price with an agent you trust. There’s a pretty good chance you will sell quickly enough to buy the property you like. BUT, will nilly, having your property ‘Sold subject to contract/Under Offer’ is a great position to be in; it means you will get priority from agents who are putting new property on the market.

When you have not moved for years, it is very daunting at first. That’s why you need an agent you trust to look after you all the way through from marketing your home to the day you move out. It’s not a 5 minute love affair; you will probably be talking with your agent 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes daily, for several months from the day they measure up to the day you hand the keys over for the new owner. You need to know you are not going to become yesterday’s papers after a couple of weeks; that they are always going to be considerate, constructive, creative, consistent, caring...all the ‘c’s!!

To summarise: See what’s coming onto the market; decide if there is a good likelihood of you finding the right place to buy then, get on the market and be confident you will sell well. We at Bonett’s are experts in looking after our clients and ensuring they make the best decisions for the future. So, if you would like us to give you our professional advice tailored to your needs, please call 01273 677365 or email


Paul Bonett  F.N.A.E.A.  M.A.R.L.A.