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Conveyancing for People Downsizing

Whilst your house has never been tidier, and you’ve rediscovered an old friend known as freedom, you may also be feeling that your home is a little too big now your children have left home. If this is you, you are what is known as an empty nester. Alternatively, you may be a child-free family of one, either way if you would like to downsize Attwells can help.


We can guide you through the process, discussing with you the options regarding tax and trust planning too. If you have lived in your current home for a long time it could well be that the equity (the money remaining after deducting your outstanding mortgage balance) is enough to purchase a smaller property outright, making you a cash buyer



Our Downsizing service has been designed to help you understand your options and make informed choices about your future. We will explain the conveyancing process offering you practical and legal advice. Attwells Solicitors are property law experts rated 4.5/5 by Feefo. We are here to help you with every aspect of downsizing, our conveyancers are supported by property and personal law solicitors. 

To begin the process, we recommend you arrange your conveyancing now. Even if you are just browsing it is still a good idea to arrange your conveyancing, so we can offer you expert property advice. Our advice is cover by the SRA and is not determined by commission or sales targets. We are here to help you as legal professionals.

To arrange your conveyancing now simply click the link below. We will ask you to complete a brief form and pay a small deposit. This will be deducted from your final conveyancing bill.



If you would prefer to call, please call our head office on 01473 229200. Your conveyancer will be happy to correspond with you via the telephone and post if preferred, as we know not everyone is www dot fans or have an email address. 

Once you have arranged your conveyancer you may be keen to know about the following:

Equity Release

An Equity release is when you choose to access a percentage of your property’s value as a lump sum or a regular income without selling your home. The money is not repaid until you die or sell the property. This option is favoured by those wanting to stay in the same home whilst benefiting from the equity. It is sometimes considered as a reverse mortgage.

There are 6 different types of equity release mortgages: 

Home reversion: This is when you sell all or share of your home to a third party in exchange for a lump sum payment or a regular income. This can be to an individual but is more likely to be a reversion company. You can still continue to live in your home.

Home income plan: This is one of the most popular equity release products on the market. It’s a lifetime mortgage where the equity released by a lender or insurance company. This is payable upon death.

Interest only: This is a type of mortgage, upon which you only pay the interest. Interest payments are paid every month for as long as you remain in the property. 

Lifetime mortgage: This is a loan that is secured against your home. Interest is added to your loan throughout its term which is repaid when the property is sold. It is also payable if you move into a care home or sadly die.

Retirement Interest Only Mortgage (RIO's): This is a new product for the over 55’s. The amount you can borrow is based on your income and affordability. As with the Interest Only option above you pay monthly payments to cover the interest. Equally the same loan terms and repayment conditions apply.

UK Equity Release Schemes: This product is designed for the over 55’s with sufficient equity in their property. This product is designed to release some of the equity within the property, this is arranged by a specialised lender. 

Whichever product you choose you must be mindful that high interest rates and fees normally apply. Therefore, we would always recommend you speak to a solicitor prior to signing or agreeing to an equity release. Our Private Client Partner Laura Harrington-Rutterford will be able to undertake the legal work required and offer you jargon-free advice.



Gifting Money

Upon downsizing you may have a substantial amount of money left over. Many will use this as a pension pot whilst others may choose to invest it or help a family member. 

If you wish to help a family member maybe a grandchild to get onto the property ladder or someone with a debt or desire, it’s important you have this arrangement memorialised. We realise this may seem unnecessarily or heavy handed however you need to consider all the what ifs. 

For example, if you gift money to your granddaughter for a house she is buying with her partner. This money will not be payable if they separate and sell their home any time in the future, unless there is an agreement.

Many legal options are available when gifting money depending on the circumstance. We would recommend you discuss your future plan with your conveyancer as they will be able to advise you.




If you wish to invest a percentage of your sale proceeds, we would recommend you seek independent legal advice after speaking with a financial investment expert. 

As I’m sure you are aware investments can go up or down. You can invest your money using various methods and at various levels of risk. Your best course of action would be to speak with an independent expert or your bank manager. 



Downsizing Due to Divorce

The average age when becoming divorced is increasing with many people waiting until their children have grown before separating. 

If you find yourself selling due to a divorce you may have to think about obtaining a mortgage if the equity in your shared home does not allow for both of you to purchase a smaller home each. 

Obtaining a mortgage is more challenging after you turn 40 years old as the typical mortgage lending period is 25 years. Therefore, you will need a shorter-term mortgage. This will increase your monthly repayment and will limit the amount you can borrow.   

As with any other form of borrowing your employment status and credit history will be important factors. Every lender will have their own lending criteria so if you are unsuccessful with one lender don’t give up. 



Downsizing due to care being required

Moving into a care home or retirement home is a big decision to make, one we would recommend you discuss with family and friends. There are many reasons people choose this option and it’s not always due to ill health. Some people may move due to loneliness or to be closer to family and friends. 

Whatever your reason you will need to be aware of the legal implications surrounding care home fees and inheritance tax. The implications are very much based on your circumstances.  Therefore we would recommend you call Laura Harrington-Rutterford on 01473 229855 to discuss your options. Laura is happy to have a free initial chat; however, if you would prefer a more substantial discussion you can book an hour of Laura’s time.



Finding a suitable property

Due to the nature of your move you may which to consider accessible and maintenance when selecting your new home. For example, would a large garden be manageable or would steps or stairs be an issue. Also think about your ideal property, would it be by the sea or maybe in the countryside and what features should it have. 

Many of the online property platforms such as Rightmove offer filters that will help you to narrow down your search. However, if you don’t have access to the internet simply discuss your preferences with your estate agent.

But remember to never feel pressured into moving or buying a home. We are happy to discuss these matters with you. By arranging your conveyancing now, you are not only speed up the process you also gain access to a property expert. 



Moving Costs

  • Estate Agents Fees – Estate agent normally charge sellers between 1-1.5% of the sale price.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) fees can be between £35 to £120. Some properties are exempt for EPC and others will already have an existing certificate. This the responsible of the seller only. 
  • Our Legal Fees – Your legal fees are based on the property value. As you are buying your first home these are likely to be lower. You can calculate your legal fee by clicking here.
  • Land Registry Fees – Again this depends on the value of your property and if you are purchasing as a freeholder or as leaseholder. From £0 to £80,000 the fees are £20-£40. From £80,0001 to £100,000 they are £40-£80. £100,0001 to £200,000 you’ll pay between £95-£190. The next bracket, £200,001 to £500,000 you’ll pay £135-£270. For a property between £500,001 to £1,000,000 the fees are £270-£540 and finally for properties over £1,000,000 its between £455-£910.
  • Removal Costs – This very much depends on your needs. If you are moving out of a bedroom or house share you mind find hiring a van is much cost effective. In Ipswich Gallagher Car and Van Rentals offer van rental form £48.60 per day. In Colchester we would recommend Thrifty Car and Van Rental, their prices start from £73.98 per day. These companies by also supply van hire across the East Anglia.   
  • Home repairs – If you have purchased a house that requires additional work as outlined below you will need to factor in the cost of repair. If it’s limited to décor you may consider this less important as it wouldn’t prevent you from moving in.



All our conveyancers are fully trained and supported by property solicitors. Our focus is on client care and jargon-free law. This is measured by our Feefo reviews. We use tags to allow us to review the performance of individual conveyancers, ensuring you receive the best possible service.

Who will do my work?

Your matter will be undertaken by those listed in our staff slider. This is located left or at the bottom of the page.

The Overall Conveyancing Process

When buying or selling a house it's natural to feel unsure and concerned about the process, however Attwells are here to help. Below we have outlined the conveyancing process, all the stages required to buy your second home.

Firstly, you need to arrange your conveyancer as soon as possible.  If you have done this the following stages can be completed prior to you making an offer on a property.

  • Accepting the quote: Simply click the accept button within your email or agree the fee over the phone.
  • Paying money onto your account: This effectively allows us to create a matter for you.
  • Welcome pack: We will ask you to complete a few forms which will help us progress your conveyancing. This can be done digitally – so please ask for a paper-free version. 
  • Instruct your mortgage valuation: This will also include a survey of the property.
  • Searches: We will undertake searches for you of the local utilities and authorities.

  • Draft Contracts: We will receive your draft contract and ownership information. 
  • Review contracts: Review and approves the contract. Plus, the ownership information and raise enquiries with the seller.
  • Searches are back: We will have received the results of all searches of the statutory authorities.
  • Send reports: We will send reports on the property, contract and mortgage and obtain confirmation of how you will own the property.
  • Send you documents to sign: We will also require your 10% deposit.
  • The moving date is agreed: All documents and the deposit are received from you. The contract is now exchanged, and purchase is now binding.
  • Statement: You will receive a statement as to money required to complete. Your mortgage funds will be requested from your mortgage provider. 
  • Completed: Move in and receive the keys. 

Timescale for Selling:

Week 1: Instruct Attwells, pay money on account and complete the property information forms.

Week 2: Attwells issues the contract and ownership information to the buyer’s solicitors.

Week 3 to 4: Attwells agrees the contract and will help you satisfy all enquiries from the buyer’s solicitors.

Week 5: Moving date agreed and contracts exchanged - This makes the sale binding.

Week 5 to 6: You now have a guaranteed moving date. You can make arrangements and start packing. You will need to sign completion documents with Attwells. You will receive a statement showing the amount you will receive on completion.

Week 7: Complete. Move out and handover keys, any mortgage is redeemed and you should renew or make a will.

Timescale for Buying:

Week 1: Instruct Attwells, pay money on account and provide evidence of your cash funds. You should instruct your mortgage valuation and survey.

Week 2: Attwells will undertake searches of the local utilities and authorities. Attwells will receive a draft contract and ownership information from the buyer’s solicitors.

Week 3 to 4: Attwells reviews and approves the contract. We will also review the ownership information and raise enquiries with the seller and receive satisfactory replies. Attwells receives results of all searches of the statutory authorities.

Week 5: Attwells send reports on the property, contract and mortgage and obtain confirmation of how you will own the property. Attwells will send you documents to sign and require a 10% deposit to be paid.

Week 6: The moving date is agreed. All documents and the deposit are received from you. The contract is now exchanged – the purchase is now binding.

Week 7: You now have a guaranteed moving date. You can make arrangements and start packing. You will need to sign completion documents. You will receive from Attwells a statement as to money required to complete. This must be transferred in good time for completion.

Week 8 plus: Completed. Move in and receive the keys. Congratulations on your new home. Don’t forget to renew or make a will as you have an asset to protect.

Please note: Attwells Solicitors have produced this timescale as a guide only. Your transaction may take longer depending on your circumstances. For more information, please contact your conveyancer.