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Wannabe downsizers struggle to sell their homes

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01/08/2018
Retired homeowners looking to downsize to a smaller home find it harder to sell than they imagined
Wannabe downsizers struggle to sell their homes

One in three would-be downsizers have given up selling in the past two years, because they aren’t getting the offers at the price they want.

According to Key, while estate agents are seeing a surge in enquiries about downsizing from retired homeowners, their houses are harder to sell because they need a lot of work.

The equity release adviser found that two in five (44%) estate agents have seen a rise in enquiries from over-65s looking to downsize in the past year, with the need to save money (80%) the biggest reason for selling followed by the desire for a more manageable home (78%).

Releasing equity

Those downsizers who do manage to sell their properties release on average £46,000, say estate agents, plus they reduce their household bills.

But many wannabe retired sellers have given up, because their home just isn’t shifting. Estate agents point to major barriers to selling which include dated décor and a poor state of repair.

Would-be downsizers often have unrealistic expectations of how much they will make from the sale – 63% of estate agents say sellers expect higher prices for their home than they are likely to receive.

Nowhere to go

Downsizers also face problems finding suitable homes to move to. Over three-quarters of estate agents believe there is a shortage of homes for retired people to move to while 80% say there is a lack of homes suitable for those who are less mobile.

Dean Mirfin, chief product officer at Key said: “There are substantial financial gains to be made from downsizing but estate agents suggest that it is unfortunately not the quick and straightforward process that many think.

“Sales can take longer than expected because pensioners’ homes are not to the taste of some buyers or need major repairs. It may make financial sense for sellers hoping to make money to invest in home improvements before putting their houses on the market but with some looking to make money by downsizing, they may not have access to the cash.

“Arguably, the bigger issue is that there is a shortage of suitable homes for sale for retired people. In turn that has a knock-on effect as retired homeowners don’t sell which reduces options for younger buyers.”

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