Why you might want to move
You might be thinking about moving because your circumstances have changed. Knowing when to make a move can be difficult, but some good reasons include:
- it's hard to get in and out of your home – for example, if you live upstairs but there isn't a lift
- you find it difficult to move around safely in your home
- you can’t manage the garden
- there are rooms you no longer use
- you want to be nearer family or friends
- you’ve been bereaved
- you no longer drive and you’re too far from the shops
- your street is becoming noisy
- you don’t feel safe
- local transport links have been reduced, making it harder to get out and about
- downsizing will give you more money to live on
- you’re finding it difficult to pay the bills
- your home is expensive to maintain and repair.
If you are thinking about moving, there are many options for you to consider. These include:
- downsizing to a smaller property
- moving in with family
- sheltered housing
- extra care housing
- care homes.
Think carefully – not just about what you need now but also what you might need in the future. These are some important things to consider.
- Can you afford to move? Don’t forget to factor in removal costs and agent’s fees.
- Is the area you have chosen safe? Will it be as nice in winter as it is in summer?
- What are the local amenities? Is it close to a cash machine, GP surgery, dentist and shops, and can you access them easily?
- Will you still be able to do all the things you like to do?
- Will your family and friends be able to visit you?
- Is the new home easy to run and maintain?
It’s a good idea to get advice, but the final decision should be yours.
If you can, try to see a property in person to get a feel of the home and the area before you decide to live there. If you're applying for a council or housing association property and need help viewing homes to check whether they're accessible to you, ask your council, local disability charity or occupational therapist for help.
Options for council or housing association tenants
If you want to move from a council or housing association property, ask your housing provider about the options available to you.
Tenant cash incentive scheme
Under this scheme, you may be offered a cash payment to help you buy a property if you agree to give up your council or housing association home. You will usually be downsizing, as the aim of the scheme is to free up housing for larger households on the council waiting list. Contact your local council for details of schemes operating in your area.
Also known as 'mutual exchanges,' these can help social housing tenants to exchange homes. This can mean moving to another area or a different type of home. You register to advertise your home and look at other properties.
To exchange homes, you must:
- be free of rent arrears
- get your landlord’s written permission.
- contact other tenants until you find someone to exchange with.
Depending on the nature of your tenancy, there may be other requirements.
You can also register your details on exchange websites, such as Home Swapper. Shelter has details of other tenancy exchange websites (in Scotland, visit Shelter Scotland). Some websites might charge a fee.
If you want to move into sheltered housing, ask your landlord for more information about local schemes and if they can make a referral or nominate you.
Moving abroad in later life can seem tempting but you need to consider every aspect before you do, such as:
- how you will cope with the language
- whether you will need a visa to move to an EU country after Brexit
- pension arrangements and any effect on your income
- income tax rates of the country you're moving to
- healthcare and social care provision
- being apart from friends and family.
It might be difficult to return if you need or want to later, particularly if you need help finding accommodation and care, or to access benefits. See Gov.uk for more information.
Help with the move
Moving home is a big upheaval and might seem daunting – but you can get help.
If you are going to use a removal company, you should get two or three quotes before making a decision. Check that they offer insurance if your home insurance doesn’t cover you during a move and make sure the company belongs to a professional body like the National Guild of Removers and Storers – their members belong to the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme.
As well as helping you move, removal companies may offer other services, such as: packing, storing unused furniture, disposing of unwanted goods, and cleaning your home. Our moving home checklist has more information.
If you need to get rid of some things, remember:
- some charities will collect unwanted goods
- your council will collect large items but may charge
- auction companies may be interested in your antiques
- house clearance or rubbish removal companies can take away anything you can’t find a home for.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may need to arrange for both the property you’re moving out of and the property you’re moving into to be cleaned. If you’re using removal services, make sure everyone is following social distancing guidelines. Visit Gov.uk for more information.
Help with the costs of moving
If you are on a low income and receive Pension Credit, you may be able to get a loan to help with removal costs from your local council. If you receive Housing Benefit, you could apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help with moving costs. You don't have to pay back a DHP.
You can find contact details for your local council at Gov.uk