Downsizing: Things to Consider Before Making the Big Move
Downsizing can be an exciting and positive time in your life. After many years, you’re considering moving on from the family home and into a home that you can easily lock up and walk away from, giving you more time and opportunity for adventure. Not to mention the bonus of not having “spare rooms” to clean or a large garden to maintain.
However, making the call to downsize, looking into downsizing options and putting your home on the market can be stressful, full of curveballs and a plethora of decisions. For many, it’s downright daunting.
Are you ready to move on from the family home?
Being ready to move on is vital when you’re considering your downsizing move. For many, this is the sticking point when it comes to the downsizing decision. Many considerations feed into this decision.
• Personal wealth - Is much of your personal wealth tied up in your family home? Could freeing up that capital enhance your lifestyle and opportunity for travel and adventure?
• Who’s living at home - Do you have family members living with you? Are you happy to move them on or help set them up in their own home?
• Unused space - Do you need all the space you have in your current home? Do you have unused rooms in your house?
• Storage - Do you have storage spaces (maybe the garage or attic) filled with items belonging to family members who moved out years ago?
• Other needs - Do you require storage for a hobby or business? Can you find an alternative, cost-effective option if you sell your home?
• Home maintenance - Do you spend so much time maintaining your home that you don’t have the time to do the things you love to do?
• You’re too young - Do you have the mindset that you’re not old enough to downsize? (More on this one later!)
Consider lifestyle options
Downsizing offers an amazing opportunity to start over, move to an area you’ve always dreamed of or declutter and, quite literally, downsize your life. Here are some things to consider:
• Seachange or treechange - Have you always dreamed of living near the ocean, but your family home is 30 minutes drive to the beach? Do you dream of taking daily walks along winding country roads with mountains as your backdrop. Downsizing is the perfect opportunity for you to make that “seachange” or “treechange” – giving you the lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.
• Community & lifestyle - Do you love the idea of living in a real community surrounded by people who have similar ideas and priorities to you? Retirement living communities are becoming increasingly popular for over-55s or “empty nesters”. These communities offer fantastic networks, events and activities, meaning you have the option to participate in as many (or as few) organised activities as you wish – and you have social connectivity no matter what life throws at you. Alternatively, maybe the busyness of life is getting you down and you dream of moving to a rural retreat where the closest neighbour is 10 minutes away.
• A unit or townhouse – having lived in a spacious family home for much of your adult life, it can be difficult to comprehend the idea of moving into a unit or townhouse. However, often downsizing into a unit or townhouse can provide a community you didn’t realise you were looking for – and the benefits of being closer to shops, transport and other amenities than a house allows.
• What will I do with my things – Australians are increasingly moving away from the importance of possessions. You may have grown up with the idea that “things” have financial or emotional value. But, thanks to the Baby Boomer generation, we’re moving on from the value of things – placing lifestyle, people and experience above ornaments, family heirlooms and antique furniture. Crackers’ Clearout specialises in helping you move on those items that have special meaning to you. We know it’s not easy – particularly if these items belonged to a loved one who has passed away. Crackers’ Clearout offers advice on how to start decluttering and moving things on. Our home clearance, rubbish and junk removal service focuses on reusing, repurposing, recycling and donating as much of your unneeded items as possible before sending anything to landfill.
• I’m not ready to downsize – some still consider downsizing to be something “old people do” – you know, those in their twilight years who need aged care and a garden to sit in to see out their days. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! With the evolution of retirement community living and the huge financial value of property in Australia, downsizing has become the domain of smart and active empty-nesters and retirees. There’s a shift away from maintaining large, empty family homes – with retirees and empty-nesters moving into low maintenance, lifestyle-focused homes – enabling adventure, travel and social connectivity.
What sort of space do you need?
Downsizing is an exciting time, but the options and opportunities can be overwhelming. Before you start looking, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what you need and want in your new home – so write a list. Considerations may include:
• How many bedrooms do you need (including room to have visitors stay and study, office, hobby spaces)?
• Do you need more than one living space?
• Do you need an outdoor entertaining/ living area?
• Do you want to live in a unit, townhouse or a freestanding house? (there are merits for each!)
• If you choose a unit, do you prefer walk up or must there be an elevator?
• Single storey, two-storey or high rise?
• Do you want to be able to lock up and take off for a couple of months without having to worry about maintenance, or would you prefer a home with lavish gardens and a pool because your passion is tending the garden and outdoor entertainment?
• Do you have a business, hobby or personal items that require room for storage?
• Do you need a lockup garage or will a carport suffice?
• Do you need to be close to shops, schools, transport, hospitals or family members – or can you move further afield and explore a new area?
There are many considerations – so try to be as thorough as you can when you write your list.
Prepare for the future
Right now, you may be fit, healthy and excited about the adventures ahead, but it’s important to keep in mind that selling and buying property has significant financial costs attached. Is this the move you want to make to set yourself up for the future, or are you happy to purchase a new home now, and potentially have to sell and buy again in 10, 15 or 20 years to ensure appropriate care as you age?
Retirement living communities are becoming increasingly popular with over-55s, as many now have aged care options available if you need them over time. Whilst there are costs attached to any move, finding a community associated with aged care can remove stress for you and your family down the track.
For information, advice or a quote on how Crackers’ Clearout can help you with your downsizing needs, call 1300 257 688.