Tips for downsizing to a smaller country house

With the fourth booster well and truly underway, downsizers are starting to feel more confident about letting buyers into their homes. As they begin their house moving journeys once again following two years of covid-hibernation, this has meant we are receiving more enquiries from those searching for a smaller country house. There are many benefits for doing so…. for example less maintenance, releasing equity, improved accessibility, lower energy bills and in today’s market, you could make a nice profit on the selling price, to name a few. With that in mind, our Director, Jennie Hancock, shares some of her top tips…


Start your search early

When you decide to sell it’s a good idea to start your property search at the same time. This is simply because there are far more buyers than there are homes for sale, so whilst you may find your current house gets snapped up once on the market, it doesn’t mean you will find something else just as fast. The good country houses for sale are often sold off-market, so speak with local estate agents about what is coming up, or use a buying agent as they tend to have access to them before the general public does. Plus there’s far less buyer competition for you as well!


Downsize belongings

Downsizing will mean you will probably have to sell, donate or throw away quite a few things. When looking for your next home, have a good look at the floor plan. Will it fit your belongings without feeling too cluttered, or will you need to reduce them some more?


Consider long-term flexibility

Long-term flexibility is definitely something to explore. Although this may not be a requirement yet, there may come a time where it would be very convenient to have the master bedroom downstairs so that you’re close to the kitchen, living room and garden. An annexe outside is another option to consider. These can provide great accommodation for live-in carers in later years should one be required.


Find a manageable garden

A smaller garden will mean less upkeep. If you plan on hiring a gardener then size doesn’t really matter, but if you are going to be responsible for looking after outside space then you want something that is low-maintenance. I would usually recommend to my downsizer clients not to purchase something with more than half-to-one acre.


Local communities are key

One of the most common questions I’m asked by downsizers is ‘does this area have a good local community?’ These are the beating heart of many locations in West Sussex, and are great ways for getting to know the locals and becoming a core part of the community. Village halls often have regular backgammon nights, film evenings or yoga classes for example. Some of the villages even have croquet lawns or tennis clubs which are very popular with those enjoying their golden years. Close knit communities also come together and provide huge support.


Don’t be too remote

Although it can be a luxury not to have a neighbour directly next door, you don’t want them so far away that there isn’t anybody around to help you if you’re in a pickle. If you’re living on your own, knowing residents are around you will help you feel more secure too.

Mobility may also be an issue in the future so having easy access to public transport will be very useful. In towns and cities there’s usually quite a good set up, but if you’re seeking a village ask how far away the location is from shops, cafes and so on. Some even provide residents with a community bus which takes them to their local supermarket or town centre.

Just in case you need regular medical help or emergency care at some point, it’s also worth thinking about distance to hospitals.


Do you want a ‘lock up and leave’?

Many over 50’s want to travel more, so choose a home that allows you the freedom to do just that. Whether a weekend break or a global adventure, smaller houses mean you don’t need to worry about what might happen to the property or garden whilst you’re away. You want to literally be able to pack your luggage, close the front door and relax.


How many bedrooms do you need?

This really depends on your circumstances but if you have lots of grandchildren who like to stay with you, then you need to make sure you have enough bedrooms for them and their parents. The same applies if you like to entertain friends too. Generally, my downsizer clients are looking for three bedrooms and two bathrooms when looking for a smaller house.


For more information about the benefits of purchasing a smaller country house in West Sussex, contact Jennie Hancock on +44 (0)7776452128.