Whether the last of your children are finally moving out or you’re just sick and tired of trying to maintain a large home, downsizing your property is all part and parcel of growing older. Ridding yourself of the excess baggage of a large property can be freeing, especially if you also gain apartment amenities such as a pool or gym in the process, but it isn’t as cut and dry as selling your old home and buying a smaller one. Where do you begin?
Have your home valued
Whether you’re still paying off your mortgage, or are sitting pretty on a piece of property that is 100% absolutely yours, you’ll want to get your land and home valued by an industry expert. This will give you an idea of what you might achieve should you choose to sell, which you can then compare to any remaining mortgage and discuss with a loan officer to help you work out what kind of property you might be able to afford.
Explore the market
Many cities in Australia have become astronomically expensive to buy property in and in some cases, apartments are as expensive as a house. You’ll want to take all the usual suspects into account: your price range, your preferred location, your job and public transport, to name a few, while also comparing small houses against apartments and making sure strata costs are within your budget.
Make a pros & cons list
Why are you looking to downsize? Make a list of everything you thing is positive about downsizing and everything that could be negative. If you’re looking at a sea change or escaping to the countryside, you’ll need to take that into account too. Pros include lower utility costs, less cleaning and more time for things you love. Cons include less privacy, the actual move itself and less room for guests.
Ask for advice
By the time your last child moves out of home, you’re sure to know other people who have opted to downsize, so ask them why they did it and how they’re finding it. Don’t let them gloss over the top: you want the horror stories as well as the happy ones. Check out blogs and memoirs by people who have chosen to downsize or make a sea change, as they’ll often be more honest about the things that went wrong.
Evaluate your belongings
Wish you had a minimalist lifestyle with no baggage and definitely no clutter? If your belongings are taking over the space you have, downsizing might not be the solution you’re after. In fact, if you’re not emotionally up to the task of sorting, storing and giving away things that won’t fit in your smaller apartment; you’re going to hit a wall quickly. Unfortunately, we have a habit of growing into our spaces, rather than the other way around, so if you’re bursting at the edges with excess belongings this is something you’ll need to take care of before you start thinking properly about downsizing.