Saturday, 25 September 2021

How could anyone give this up? Meet the downsizers...

PROPERTIES are more than just bricks and mortar — they are memories, stories, homes. So when

PROPERTIES are more than just bricks and mortar — they are memories, stories, homes. So when it comes to selling there are a lot of emotional ties involved.

Downsizing is a tricky decision for any family as it is letting go of a fundamental part of life, but it can have many benefits.

In the summer budget, the government announced that it would increase the threshold on inheritance tax to £1million for married couples by 2020-2021, crucially protecting it for those choosing to downsize.

One important benefit of moving to a smaller property is to release capital to use to either help the next generation move up the property ladder — or perhaps to enjoy retirement a little more with more capital to play with.

One couple looking to reap the benefits of downsizing are Louise and Chris Ward, owners of the stunning detached property Greenacres on Lambridge Wood Road in Henley.

After 15 happy years in the property and since the children have flown the nest, the Wards have decided it is time to move on and are leaving behind a beautifully extended and remodelled residence set in 1.85 acres of grounds, surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and yet less than a mile from the heart of Henley town centre.

Currently on the market with Savills at a guide price of £4,495,000, Greenacres offers the best of both worlds — from the period-style exterior to modern details within, including a saltwater swimming pool, a gymnasium, changing rooms and a curious secret entrance to the study hidden behind a moving bookcase.

Outside there are fruit and vegetable patches — allowing self-sufficiency in the five-a-day department, as well as a hard tennis court, a children’s play area and a dedicated area for yoga.

Louise Ward said: “This has been an amazing house and we have had so many happy years here but there are now only two of us and it is time for us to move on and for another family to move in and make their own memories.”

Nick Warner, a director at Savills in Henley, said: “There are many benefits to downsizing. Firstly, and rather obviously, a smaller — often newer — property will cost less to keep and take less work to maintain.

“The increased threshold on inheritance tax will help encourage owner-occupiers to release capital to younger generations, often giving them the much-needed equity to move up or get a foothold on the housing ladder.”

OVER in Maidensgrove, another property has come on to the market due to a decision to downsize.

A detached brick and flint cottage dating back 250 years with later additions, Fallow Woods is being marketed by Knight Frank at a guide price of £1,495,000.

Like Greenacres, Fallow Woods can be found in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and yet is only five miles from Henley town centre and so is convenient for road and rail networks.

The property retains a wealth of original features with exposed oak timber frames, beams and brickwork throughout.

The pretty kitchen/breakfast room overlooks the rear gardens and has an Aga, a good range of base and wall units, slate flooring, granite worktops and there is a separate electric cooker with hob.

The dual-aspect dining room has French doors leading out on to the terrace and leading on from here a cosy snug features an open log fireplace and access out on to the gardens.

The master bedroom is truly unique with its exposed timber frames and has an en suite.

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