5 questions to ask before downsizing

Jan 17, 2020
Downsizing requires lots of careful consideration and is not something you should jump right into. Source: Getty

Have you been toying with the idea of selling your family home and moving into something smaller and more manageable? Maybe you’re an empty nester or you’ve got the urge to spend more time travelling, rather than maintaining a big house. Downsizing is a natural step that most over-60s consider at some point in time, and one that experts predict will be a fruitful opportunity this year. But it’s a move that requires lots of careful consideration and not something you should jump right into. Before you make the leap, ask yourself these questions.

Do you have too much space?

If your kids have moved out and you find yourself having to maintain empty rooms, downsizing to a smaller property could be the obvious solution. As anyone who has had to vacuum a near-empty four-bedroom home for years on end will attest, wasted space can be physically taxing. Even if your mortgage has been taken care of, things like rates, utilities and upkeep can all take a big chunk out of your budget, that could be reallocated towards your super or retirement fund. Selling your home and purchasing something smaller could free up a sizeable nest egg to put towards other expenses.

Do you want to reduce expenses?

Aside from the initial cash injection into your savings that downsizing to a smaller home will likely provide, there are numerous ways that the process can help boost your finances. Without a large home and yard to maintain, you’ll naturally use less electricity and water keeping on top of things. Smaller bills will be a welcome change.

What kind of lifestyle do you want?

Whether you’re fully retired or are making plans towards it, now is the time when you can really choose to live life on your terms, without the restraints of employment. Maybe you want to live closer to family, or maybe you envision going for morning walks along the beach. Do you want to live in a lifestyle community, such as a retirement village, or would you be more at home in a small home or apartment? These are all things that you should consider when downsizing. If you’re planning to do some travel – be that internationally or locally – the lock-up-and-leave lifestyle that living in a smaller home is pretty appealing.

Do you want more free time?

Going back to the first question  — moving into a smaller home could free up plenty of extra time for you to spend doing things you enjoy, like visiting the grandkids, meeting friends for lunch or volunteering. Without a large garden and yard to tend to — not to mention less time spent doing regular household chores — you’ll have so much more time for yourself.

Will you need room for guests?

When it comes time to buy a new property, make sure you consider . If your children live far away or you enjoy having your grandchildren or friends come to stay, having enough spare bedrooms to host them should be a priority. If you don’t want to have too many bedrooms, perhaps a living room or study could be turned into a makeshift bedroom with the inclusion of a sofa bed or futon.

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