Downsizing Property – Multiple Occupancy Properties

Once we retire, we are sometimes faced with a bit of a dilemma relating to property.

Intellectually, we may recognise that our existing property constitutes something of an “empty nest” challenge.  The kids may be off our hands and the space that was once essential for the family to spread out and enjoy itself, is suddenly becoming a liability in terms of maintenance.

As a result, it’s not unusual for people around their mid to late 60s to start thinking about downsizing their property.

That can lead to emotional challenges though because we may have friends and established relationships in the area where we have lived for many years.  Typically, most properties in our existing location might be broadly similar in terms of their size, so how do we continue to live in the same area but in a more manageably sized property?

In fact, there is no single answer to this question.  One possibility that has attracted many though, is the idea of moving into what’s called a “multiple occupancy property”.

These come in all different shapes and sizes but they are essentially a normally sized property that has been professionally sub-divided to provide two completely separate and private living spaces.  In some cases those two properties might be side-by-side in the format of terraced housing or in other situations, perhaps they may be “front-and-back”, with one of them being located at the front of the property and the other at the rear with its own access and garden area.

That is all very well but the problem is, how do you find such property if it doesn’t exist in your area?

One potential answer might be to simply build your own.

You could sell 50% of the land your property stands on and the future 50% dwelling space to another party looking for similar accommodation.  You could then use those funds to convert your property into two separate dwelling places.  Once completed, the other party moves in and becomes a 50% owner of the land and property that was once 100% yours.

You would have to do the mathematics very carefully to make sure that the solution was at least equitable (or preferably financially advantageous) to you and take considerable legal advice in advance.  It may though offer you a viable route forward in terms of staying where you are whilst downsizing at the same time.